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September 5, 2017 – Councillor Karygiannis joins the Women of Saint Lucia to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their arrival to Canada

Toronto, ON – Councillor Jim Karygiannis, Ward 39 Scarborough – Agincourt, is joined by the Consul General for Saint Lucia in Toronto, Ms. Cheryl Francis, and the former Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, The Hon. Stephenson King, to honour and celebrate the fiftieth (50th) anniversary of the arrival of women from the island state Saint Lucia.

The Honourable Stephenson King former PM of St. Lucia and Jim Karygiannis peaking with one of the golden girls

The Golden Girls and Jim Karygiannis joined by the consulate general of St.Lucia and former PM Hon. Stephenson King

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Canadian Government allowed Caribbean women to immigrate to Canada as part of the West Indian Domestic Scheme. This was one of the few possibilities for Caribbean women to immigrate to Canada. Women had to promise to work as domestic servants for one year after their arrival. Many arrived without their husbands and children but saved money to sponsor them later.

“I am joined today by several ‘Women of Saint Lucia’, led by the inspirational Mrs. Catherine Samuels, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of their arrival in Canada. As the Newcomers Advocate on Toronto City Council, it is my honour to celebrate this group of women who arrived as newcomers many years ago and have added so much to the cultural and social fabric of Toronto,” said Councillor Karygiannis.

In the 1960s, thousands of skilled workers from the Caribbean arrived in Toronto and entered the growing job market in the service industry as well as the healthcare and education sectors. Churches and community organizations played large roles in keeping Caribbean immigrants connected and empowered in their new country.

“The story of these women from Saint Lucia is so similar to the stories of many other women who came to Canada as part of the Domestic Scheme. We came to Canada for opportunity. We have been fortunate to build lives for ourselves and for our families in Toronto. Today we celebrate our journey and our bonds together,” said Mrs. Catherine Samuels.

“The brotherhood and sisterhood of the communities who came to Canada from the Caribbean is strong. They maintained connections through the years, and have raised themselves up, with the help of their churches and cultural organizations. Today the Women of Saint Lucia celebrate a special anniversary and I am honoured to join with them,” concluded Councillor Karygiannis.

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