A Brief History
The Barbados (Ottawa) Association was formed on the night of November 30th, 1966, the same night that our nation Barbados attained its Independence from Britain. At a time when about 75 persons comprised Ottawa’s Barbadian community, the six Barbadians who started the group had a vision of hope and realized that they needed to mobilize to assist new Barbadians who were adapting to life in Canada and to share our Barbadian heritage with the wider community.
The first Executive Committee was elected as follows:
David Barrow- President, Neville St. Hill- Vice President, Ena Maharaj- Secretary, Committee Members: Eric Mason, Winston Pitt, Rudolph Brathwaite, Victor Clement.
Activities were initially social and recreational in nature. As the organization grew and evolved to meet the needs of its members, the focus became more educational and cultural with discussions and lectures on various topics. An annual Church Service, and the Independence Dinner and Dance became the highlights of the year. In recent years the organization has blended social and recreational activities along with educational and cultural interests.
As the years go by and immigration patterns and demographics change, the Association strives to continue to work closely with similar organizations in order to help its members take their place in an ever changing Canadian society: and at the same time maintain a meaningful relationship with their homeland, Barbados.
Over the years we have donated to charities both in Canada and in Barbados to such organizations as the Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Camp Sunflower, the Public Library, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the Ministry of Social Transformation, Mavericks Soccer Club, Sickle Cell Parents Support Group and other groups.
The following persons have served the Barbados (Ottawa) Association at various times over the past four decades in the capacity of President. Their leadership skills, dedication and commitment have contributed to the Association’s sustainability and longevity. Let us take a look back.