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March  7, 2014

Dr. S. F. Monestime Black History Month Events a Success

As mentioned here recently Canada’s first black mayor was recognized last month on the 50th anniversary of his becoming  Canada’s first black mayor in Mattawa on January first 1964

Toronto City Hall Exhibition

A major exhibition on Dr. Monestime in the Rotunda at Toronto City Hall was held from February 17 to 23rd. It was organized by a black Caribbean group Festival Kompa Zouk (FKZO) which took it on as a Black History Month project. Vala Monestime Belter and I were contacted for support and since nothing else was planned here we gave our full support. 

Choir opens the photo exhibit event

Sari Jean Francois from FKZO arranged to acquire the CD of the many photos etc. in my book- Where Rivers Meet and reproduced, enlarged and mounted many of the graphics and added English and French captions. The photos were mounted on 15 large elevated  panels in the Rotunda at City Hall for all to see. We visited prior to the event and there was much interest in the display. 

On February 18th there was an Opening of the event from 7-9pm in front of the display. A large group of guests arrived for the event including many Haitians. 

The Opening 

The event started with a presentation by a large choir of young black teenagers with several remarkable soloists who got the audience’s full attention for 25 minutes. This was followed by a number of speakers including MPP Vic Fideli a friend of the Monestime family. Dr. Rosemary Sadlier, President of the Black History Society and Dr. Eric Pierre Honorary Consul for Haiti in Toronto spoke. Vala Monestime Belter and I spoke on Dr. Monestime’s life as Canada’s first black Mayor. 

Vala Monestime Belter speaking

The event was followed by refreshments and conversation. My son had a booth set up for our book on Dr. Monestime and many copies were sold. Global Television was on site and the Toronto Star made note of the events. 

Sascha Monestime with his three daughters talking to Dr E Pierre Honorary Consul for Haiti in Toronto in front of the photo exhibit.

Special Event at the Legislature 

Opening day of the Ontario Legislature coincided with the opening of the Toronto event and Vic Fideli asked the Monestime family, friends, including my son and I to attend in the afternoon. As we sat in the Members’ Gallery he drew the legislature’s attention to our presence and talked about Dr. Monestime and named his guests. A very touching and moving experience. 

Hansard transcript of Vic Fideli's address

CBC Points North Interview 

On February 25th CBC Sudbury’s Points North host Jason Turnbull called and asked me for an on-air interview on Dr. Monestime and the Toronto events. We had a pleasant 10 minute conversation on some of the highlights of the Monestime family contribution .This topped off a series of well deserved recognitions of the family’s contribution. 

See CBC page featuring interview

Direct link to interview

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