During last Saturday’s Spice Island Culture Fair, local festivities did a lot to reflect the multi-cultural realities that define Montreal as one of the ‘cooler’ cities in all of North America. While visitors began to smell the combination of nutmeg and cinnamon that does so much to define the Caribbean’s Spice Island recipes, it didn’t take long before a short walk through Little Burgundy’s Vinet Park turned into a taste sensation. Aside from a massive selection of traditional dishes such as ‘jerk’ chicken and the ever-so- popular curry goat, the Spice Island festival turned into one big family party because of the children’s section that gave harried parents a chance to catch a break, meet a few friends and listen to a bit of music.
“Our island may be small, but our community here in Montreal is anything but small,” said well-known community activist Gemma Raeburn – Baynes who organized the day’s festivities and who founded and ran the week-long Taste of the Caribbean Festival for nearly two decades.
What could have been little more than just another one of Montreal’s community parties turned into a special day for many city residents when Grenada’s Prime Minister Keith Mitchell showed up to say hello to many of his compatriots who left Grenada for a new life here in Montreal. Mitchell, in his 19th year as Prime Minister through two administrations, is the longest serving democratically elected leader in the world.
“An event like this sends a message that the cultural connection between Montreal and Grenada is intact,” said Mitchell as he began to shake hands with friends, performers and local residents. Montreal is hometo some 3000 Grenadians. He also presented Raeburn-Baynes with an award for her years of service.