Vincy Unity Picnic supporters crowd Browns Bay Provincial Park – Ontario
July 22, 2011

Vincy Unity Picnic supporters crowd Browns Bay Provincial Park – Ontario

by Elma Gabriel Fri, Jul 22, 2011

On July 16, 2011, the Vincy Unity Picnic supporters once again crowded the Browns Bay Provincial Park in Thousand Islands, Ontario. The combined organizations: Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa SVG Associations again pulled off what is now established as the largest Caribbean Unity picnic in North America, quite possibly the largest in the world.{{more}}

It was surely a beautiful experience, and a real family day, of and for all ages, comprising three and four generations, of which a vast number are first generation Canadians. Immigration has clearly created a large number of offspring from Caribbean partnerships, whose patriotism was identified by the wearing of cross Caribbean Islands flags, exhibiting the pride of a unique oneness which is a fusion of Caribbean people.

But one thing that was obvious was the rising visibility of youth at the park, a clear message that it is time for the organizations to be more proactive by reflecting on the future of this event, which seems to have reached a stage where redirection towards rejuvenation is necessary. There is an urgent need to coopt young persons onto the organizing committee and also look into the possibility of having neighboring cities of New York, Boston and Philadelphia participating in the activity planning committees. This would be a very important approach in enhancing our community’s economic development.

The open and warm personality of our people has positively impacted the Unity picnic, where the volume of participants from across the border has increased from family vehicles to now over seven buses from New York and others from neighboring states. Also included in the annual pilgrimage are brothers and sisters from the many Caribbean countries such as Trinidad, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, to name a few.

Although the numbers this year appeared to have shown some drop in attendance, the visibility of policing increased. However, it did not hinder the social ambiance around the park. There were several corporate sponsors at the event, such as LIME which attracted the younger groups, while SVG Building and Loan drew the attention of the investors and those looking at the possibility of retiring in SVG. There were small vendors booths seen everywhere on the park amongst the picnickers, which although not a big distraction, some were of the opinion that they should have been restricted to a special section of the park designated as the market place.

This year, Parks Canada coordinated the games for the children. However, their program was more suited to children ten to fourteen years of age. Consequently, those who participated in kayaking appeared to have enjoyed themselves, while the younger ones just looked on. Parents commented that they expected that Parks Canada’s ‘Kids Zone’ curriculum would have had included clowns and face painting for the younger children, something the Unity picnic committee should revisit in their 2012 kids initiative.

Overall, the weather was great; very relaxing hanging out along the lake shore with old and new friends, getting away for the hassle and bustle of the busy city.