ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Nationals and friends of Antigua & Barbuda in Canada continued their celebration of the country’s 30th anniversary of Independence with a gala event held in Toronto on Saturday.
The Antigua & Barbuda Association of Toronto (ABAT) under the auspices of the Consulate General hosted the gala.
The highlight of the celebratory event was a special performance by Antigua & Barbuda’s queen of soca, Claudette “CP” Peters. CP, who flew into Toronto for the event, thrilled the audience with a dynamic performance, filled with energy and grace.
Within a minute of her entrance on stage, a crowd flocked to the front as the artiste performed a string of hits from her own repertoire as well as hits from several other Caribbean artistes.
The event brought together approximately 300 people, including people of Antiguan and Barbudan heritage resident in Canada and other Canadians who share a close connection with the islands.
A number of representatives from the Toronto Consular Corps were also in attendance as well as a representative from the Provincial Parliament of Ontario and from several Caribbean associations.
Consul General Janil Greenaway read a special message from Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer. Special congratulatory messages were also received from the Premier of Ontario and Toronto’s Chief of Police. Master of Ceremonies was the eclectic Toronto-based poet/performer Clifton Joseph.
The association used the occasion to award scholarships to two young students of Antiguan and Barbudan heritage currently enrolled in Canadian universities.
This year’s scholarship recipients were Stephanie Thomas, currently studying fashion management at George Brown College, and Kianna Cornwall, currently studying biology at the University of Toronto.
Special ABAT Awards were also given to individuals who have made significant contributions to the association and by extension to their communities at large.
Clifton Joseph received the “Joe Reid Award” for his outstanding spirit of giving; Waveney King was awarded the “Novelle H Richards Award” for her outstanding dedication to the association; and Aaliyah Abbott was awarded the “President’s Cup” for demonstrating leadership skills and making a positive impact on other youth across a number of sectors in her community.
President of the association Lois Lee extended hearty congratulations to all of the recipients.
The special gala event capped off a series of events held in the Greater Toronto Area in celebration of Antigua & Barbuda’s 30th year of independence.
In October, Minister of Education, Gender and Youth Affairs Dr Jacqui Quinn-Leandro, Speaker of The House D Gisele Isaac-Arrindell and author Joanne Hillhouse took part in a literary event and diaspora forum at the University of Toronto.
Events were also held in several other Canadian cities, including Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver and London. The final event on the programme for Canada will take place on Saturday, November 26, when the Antigua & Barbuda Association of Ottawa will host its special anniversary event.