SO2 - One Caribbean... Global Impact
(Photos: Garfield Robinson)

Thirteen was certainly a lucky number for 75 students of The University of The West Indies who will benefit from scholarships and bursaries supported by funds raised at The UWI Toronto Benefit Awards 2022 staged Saturday, June 25 at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto. Indeed, the gala's co-patron Donette Chin-Loy Chang, in lauding supporters of this 13-year-old initiative, shared, "In the unforgettable last two years your support did not wane. In fact, you heard the call louder and clearer and stepped up your support. For this, a million times, thank you. And as we reinvigorate the help for students, we have come to you once again." Indeed, Chin-Loy Chang, wife of the late G Raymond Chang, as well as Andrew and Brigette Chang, have demonstrated unwavering resolve to the cause initiated by the proud husband and father of the soil who understood the power and role of education as a way out of poverty.

Such sentiments are not lost on honorary patron Dr Wesley J Hall who has himself risen from the bowels of poverty. "We are not leaving anyone behind. In these times we must pay particular attention to the underserved among us", he challenged prior to adding "Recently, I had the great pleasure of meeting an impressive group of UWI Toronto Awards scholarship recipients at The University of the West Indies whose lives have been ravaged by the COVID-19 virus and harsh circumstances in which they were born. Yet they are more determined than ever and continually expressed their appreciation for your support, recognising that the trajectory of their lives and realisations of their dreams have only been made possible by your generosity".

For Anya Schnoor, executive vice president, Caribbean, Central America & Uruguay, International Banking, there's no turning back. "Scotiabank, the leading bank in the Americas has served the rich and vibrant Caribbean region for the past 133 years and has supported The University of the West Indies Toronto Benefit Gala for the past 13 years as its lead sponsor... throughout this time, we have collectively raised over 2.3 million CAD and over 600 scholarships have been awarded to our inspiring students."

Giving back is at the core of the event but the gala also affords the opportunity to applaud those who have by dint of dogged determination made the region proud. The evening's outstanding honorees of Caribbean and Canadian heritage, notably, Olympian Andre De Grasse; renowned artist and sculptor Basil Watson; Chancellor, Toronto Metropolitan University and Corporate Director Janice Fukakusa; health agency PAHO; professional fashion photographer Walter Chin; Dr Camille Wardrop Alleyne, rocket engineer; and Dr Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted, global lead for nutrition and public health at WorldFish.

The University of The West Indies Toronto Benefit Awards 2022 co-patron Donette Chin-Loy Chang welcomed guests. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Sharing the spotlight with event co-patron Donette Chin-Loy Chang (second left) and representing their father and honorary patron Wes Hall were his sons Brentyn (second right) and Darian and guest Lena Strumos.
Elizabeth Buchanan-Hind, chair, UWI Toronto Benefit Awards 2022, stunned in a gown from Keneea Linton.
The gala theme 'One Caribbean... Global Impact' spotlighted the diversity of the region. Here, Anya Schnoor, executive vice-president, Caribbean, Central America and Uruguay, for International Banking feeds lettuce, symbolic of wealth and good luck in the Chinese culture, to a lion (a member of the Lat Yip Dragon Lion Dance team).
Members of the Lat Yip Dragon Lion Dance team paid homage to the diversity of the Caribbean.
Members of Ballet Creole in perfomance
A performance by the Geetika Dance Company afforded yet another opportunity to recognise the diversity of the Caribbean.
A stilt walker from Swizzletheatre greeted guests.
Up for grabs was a personally autographed framed replica of one of the spikes worn by Olympian Andre De Grasse for his 200 metre gold medal in Tokyo. Holding the framed piece of history aloft were Savanna Addorisio (left), her brother Lucas and Alexandra Waithe, sister of six time Olympic medalist Andre de Grasse
Father and son auctioneers Gordon (left) and Joe Cressy kept the mood upbeat as they artfully emptied pockets
An all out bidding war ensued between legal luminary Frank Walwyn (left) and Himal Mathew, president Fathom Strategies to thedelight of auctioneer Joe Cressy and guests ended in a brotherly handshake
Auctioneer Joe Cressy implores Air Canada executive Eric Lauzon to throw in another ticket
The successful bidder for the coveted Air Canada: Three return business class tickets to any destination served by Air Canada worldwide was Brigette Chang who was congratulated by Air Canada executive Eric Lauzon.
Getting his copy of Walter Chin's Work in Progress signed by the author/photographer himself was Darian Hall
The UWI Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles (second right) congratulates Basil Watson, recipient of The Luminary Award. Sharing in the ocassion is Lucas, the son of co-patron Brigette Chang.

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