Bob Marley Day Awards In Toronto

One Love. For One Day. In Toronto

By Stephen Weir
for the Caribbean Camera

For the 27th year in a row, the City has declared February 6th as Bob Marley Day in Toronto.  In a special ceremony a proclamation from Mayor John Tory was read out, Bob Marley Day Awards were presented to community leaders and a Jamaican surfing reggae star performed to a small group of Marley supporters.

Bob Marley Day began in 1991 with the first proclamation made by the former mayor of Toronto, Mayor Art Eggleton. This year, Mayor Tory signed the Bob Marley proclamation and had councillor Michael Thompson read it out at the Friday noon hour award ceremony and mini reggae concert.
Pictured left: Jamaica reggae star and owner of the island's surf club, Billy Mystic performed at the City Of Toronto's Bob Marley Day proclamation ceremony. On Friday at noon the city proclaimed February 6 as Bob Marley Day in the city.. Organizer Courtney Betty (l), Billy Mystic and councillor Michael Thompson.

“This day is not only a day to celebrate a great man but also a day to recognize our own modern day greats ... individuals in our city who embody the spirit of the man we celebrate, both personally and professionally in our communities and beyond,” said lawyer Courtney Betty, the man behind the Bob Marley Day Awards.

A radio station pioneer and a Jane Finch activist received Bob Marley Lifetime Achievement Awards. Winston LaRose was recognized for his decades of community work in the Jane Finch Corridor. 
Winston LaRose at the podium
Fitzroy Gordon, the founder of radio station G 98.7 was also named to receive the Bob Marley Day 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award. However, Mr. Gordon was unable to attend the Friday, Toronto City Hall Bob Marley Awards event and concert. Accepting the award on his behalf was station personality Delroy G the host of the weekend Delroy G Showcase Radio Show.

Also receiving Bob Marley Awards were: Charles DeBow VP Global Development & Programs at the Washington DC based National Black Chamber of Commerce, dancer/student Jia Betty, President of the Black Business and Professional Association Nadine Spencer, NFL’s Marques Colston, U of T professor Dr. Joel Moody and Cheryl Lewis, Executive Director at African Canadian Christian Network.
Delroy G (l) accepts for Fitzroy Gordon. Courtney Betty presents

Reggae recording artist and owner of Jamaica's only surf club, Billy Mystic, flew up from Kingston to take part in Toronto’s event.  Kingston-born vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter Billy "Mystic" Wilmot is the leader of the Mystic Revealers.  He is also founder of the Jamaican Surfing Association and established the Makka Pro tournament, Jamaica's first international surfing competition.

photos by Stephen Weir


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