By Stephen Weir
Bob Marley Day was observed in Toronto on Tuesday but the City of Toronto held a special ceremony last Friday to honour the late Jamaican singer.
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 was first observed in Toronto in 1991 with a proclamation by former Mayor Art Eggleton. This year, Mayor Tory signed the Bob Marley proclamation and had Jamaica-born Councillor Michael Thompson read it out at the Friday noon hour award ceremony and mini reggae concert at City Hall.
“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 activist received Bob Marley Lifetime Achievement Awards. Winston LaRose was recognized for his decades of community work.
Fitzroy Gordon, the founder of radio station G 98.7 was also named to receive the Bob Marley Day 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award. However, Gordon was unable to attend the Friday event. Accepting the award on his behalf was station personality Delroy G, host of the weekend Delroy G Showcase Radio Show.
Also receiving Bob Marley Awards were: Charles DeBow, Vice President of 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, University of Toronto professor Dr. Joel Moody and Cheryl Lewis, Executive Director of African Canadian Christian Network.
Reggae recording artist and owner of Jamaica’s only surf club, Billy “Mystic”Wilmot, flew up from Kingston to take part in Toronto’s event. Wilmot, the Kingston-born vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter, 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
Master of ceremonies was Jambana organizer Denise Jones