February 22nd, 2022 will mark 23 years since the first ever Saint Lucian Flag Raising Ceremony, held in observance of St. Lucia’s Independence Anniversary, in the entire Diaspora. This event took place on February 22nd 1999 at the Toronto City Hall, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, making St. Lucia the fifth CARICOM country to hold such an event in Canada, after Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados and Guyana.
This Flag Raising Ceremony, which was initiated and organised by St. Lucia’s Consulate General in Toronto, became an annual event in Canada and was amongst a number of activities organised for the first time in the entire Diaspora by the Consulate General during February 22nd. 1999 and February 22nd. 2007 for the purpose of (a) bringing St. Lucian nationals in Canada together, (b) uplifting and projecting the image and profile of the St. Lucian community in Canada and (c) promoting Cultural Awareness and establishing St. Lucia’s identity amongst Canadians generally.
The other activities included: (1) the St. Lucia ANNUAL FAMILY DAY PICNIC attended by thousands of St. Lucians in Canada and the USA; this became an annual event which was attended (at various times) by Senior Government Officials from St. Lucia, including the then Prime Minister Hon. Kenny D. Anthony, Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Mario Michel and Ministers Hon. Petrus Compton and Hon. Damian Greaves. (2) an Exhibition of Saint Lucian artifacts especially for children born in Canada of Saint Lucian parents with a view to giving them an insight into life in St. Lucia (3) an Awards Ceremony for members of the Saint Lucian Community in Toronto who were involved in the promotion of groups and bodies, such as the Saint Lucia-Toronto Association,(4) the First Creole Mass in the Diaspora, officiated by Rev. Fr. Patrick Anthony as part of our Independence Anniversary Celebrations in Canada, (5) the first LA ROSE FESTIVAL in the Diaspora as part of our Independence Anniversary celebrations aimed at promoting our Cultural heritage (6) A GROUNDING with ST. LUCIAN SENIOR CITIZENS living in Canada attended by Governor General Dr.PearletteLouisy and Hon. George Odlum, Minister for External Affairs.(7) AN EVENING AT ROSEAU VALLEY, a literary activity specially organised for the St. Lucian community in Canada, which involved the reading of over 100 poems written by St. Lucian authors and writers. These poems were read by children and adults from the Saint Lucian community whose age ranged from 7 years to 90 years, (8) the selection of St. Lucia’s contestant and our involvement in the first ever MISS CANADA – CARIBBEAN BEAUTY PAGEANT which St. Lucia won defeating 17 contestants from the other Caribbean countries, thus bringing greater prominence and pride to the St. Lucian community in the Greater Toronto Area.
Significantly, none of these events were funded by the Saint Lucia Government.