On November 22, 2018, we celebrated CultureLink’s 30th Anniversary Gala at the Old Mill. With over 330 community members, volunteers, sponsors, settlement sector partners, board members and staff in attendance, the evening was a resounding success and a good time was had by all. Everyone went home with smiles on the their faces.
The evening began with an Indigenous land acknowledgement and songs from the much endeared CultureLink’s Nai Children’s Choir, and proceeded with speeches from our Executive Director Ibrahim Absiye and Board Chair Claudia Serraino. Andrew Vassos brought greetings from CIBC, our Presenting Partner, followed by representatives of sponsors Creccal Investments and Unifor.
Making a guest appearance by video was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who congratulated CultureLink on our 30th anniversary. Our keynote speech was delivered by the very spirited Daniele Zanotti, President and CEO of the United Way of Greater Toronto. Our provincial and federal representatives each spoke, which was particularly meaningful because their personal journeys mirror those of many CultureLink clients. Arif Virani, Member of Parliament for Parkdale-High Park, came to Canada as a refugee from Uganda. Bhutila Karpoche, Member of Provincial Parliament, spoke movingly of refugee experience; she is the first person of Tibetan descent elected to public office in North America.
Among the celebrants were 13 community partners who were honoured for their dedication to collaborating with CultureLink: CIBC Bank, Luminato, Toronto District School Board, Toronto Catholic District School Board, George Brown College, Toronto Public Library, City of Toronto, the Roma Community Centre, Cycle Toronto, the Toronto Cycling Think and Do Tank, York University Children, Childhood and Youth Program, Soulpepper Theatre and the Stop Community Food Centre.
Throughout the evening, MC’d by CultureLink Manager Lisa Randall, the Mexican Folk Ballet brought the house down with thunderous dances full of flourish.
Proceeds from the event will enrich the children, youth and seniors programs at CultureLink. We are deeply grateful to our generous sponsors, to those who participated in the auction (as donors or as bidders!), and to everyone in attendance for helping to make a memorable evening for everyone. Thank-you so very much!