Jamaican-Canadians gear up for 50th independence anniversary

Jamaican Canadians in Toronto get ready to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jamaica's independence from Britain and reminisce about past celebrations.
CBC's Jermaine Hylton talks with some Jamaican-Canadians who remember their home country before it gained its independence from Britain. 2:33

As Jamaica prepares to celebrate its 50th birthday, members of the diaspora in Toronto are looking forward to the celebrations while reflecting on the significance of the anniversary.

Jamaica won its independence from Great Britain August 6th, 1962. On that day, Toronto's Jamaican-Canadian community gathered at the King Edward Hotel to celebrate.

Roy Williams, who was at that celebration, recalls that around 200 people came together to have dinner, a dance and took part in a ceremony.

Williams says he's excited to see how his community embraces the special day this year.

"Fifty years later I am proud to be a Canadian-Jamaican because Canada has become a very good country. At the same time, Jamaica is one of the nicest countries to go to," he said.

There are events planned across the Greater Toronto Area next week, including outdoor festivals, concerts, flag ceremonies, and dinners.

One of the biggest is the Jamaican Canadian Association gala dinner at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Front Street West on Saturday, Aug. 11.

All statistics taken from 2006 census. (Dwight Friesen/CBC)

* Toronto CMA refers to the Census Metropolitan Area of Toronto, which includes the Greater Toronto Area and Bradford West Gwillimbury, Mono, New Tecumseth and Orangeville.