By Gerry D’Mello , Toronto
Toronto, Nov 12 : Upholding ‘Serving the Community’ as a mission statement, the renowned Canara World Foundation Inc (CWF) laid the foundation for the Canara Cultural Centre at Oakville in Greater Toronto on November 10, 2019. That was the decade-old dream of CWF that became a reality with the visionary guidance of Fr Ranjan D’Sa, OCD of Mangaluru origin who is the pastor of St Dominic Parish in Oakville.
The Canara Cultural Centre (CCC), the first-of-its-kind in North America, was inaugurated by Fr Ranjan by cutting the decorated ribbon as witnessed by many Canarite Canadians residing in Toronto and its surrounding areas. Nancy Mendes who also compered the event welcomed the gathering.
Fr Ranjan in his inauguration address referred to the great historic leaders such as Napoleon Bonaparte and Julius Caesar and gave a clarion call to follow their leadership and influence the community in a positive way. He made a special appeal to the youth of the community to get ready to take up the baton and to inherit the rich Konkani tradition and culture.
Maxim Mendes, president of CWF, and Flavian Pinto, the founder member of the organization, highlighted the vision and mission of the newly born Cultural Centre. They narrated the objective of the centre to provide a common meeting place for the community members in order to interact and bring them together by:
• Creating a common place for our seniors to meet and greet;
• Nurturing our youth by creating an avenue to socialize;
• Welcoming and helping the new immigrants to integrate into our community;
• Conducting educational seminars on important aspects; and
• Providing ongoing cultural entertainment for all.
The facility has a hall which can accommodate approximately 150 people, with separate rooms for seniors, Table Tennis, Billiards, Carom board, Board games, Card games, etc. The centre will be a place for all the seniors to meet and greet each other, socialize amongst themselves, watch movies, go for outings etc. Another important focus of the centre will be to nurture youth by having a meeting place, sports and social events - and more importantly - to inculcate traditional culture. There are thousands of immigrants from Mangaluru and many more are in the process of immigration; the centre will welcome them and help them to integrate within Canadian society. Periodical educational seminars will be held at the venue on important topics such as tax, estate planning and other financial matters. The centre will also promote culture by having events of common interest such as dancing sessions and entertainment programme.
There was a lot of enthusiasm at the inauguration. Many expressed enormous joy and their eagerness to join the centre to use the facility for a very nominal yearly subscription. Many of them instantly registered their names to become the members of CCC. The membership can also be available online by visiting their website: www.canaraworld.com.
The Canara Cultural Centre is a great accomplishment for CWF. Since its inception in 2005, it has been successful in fulfilling its strong objectives and visions. Some of its objectives were to promote the rich Konkani culture, heritage and to create a platform for the community members to exhibit their talents through various initiatives like bringing in artists from overseas, seeking and grooming talent, and educating the members of the community in Canada. This venue will certainly enhance their initiatives. CWF invites all the community members to utilize the amenities that the Centre offers.
During this auspicious occasion, CCC celebrated the birthdays of guests who were born in November. Incidentally, Paul Mathias, one of the great community leaders who celebrated his 71st Birthday the very same day, expressed his joy over the birth of CCC and that his dream of 21 years has finally come true.
The programme concluded with a question and answers session followed by the serving of delicious snacks.