The Paradise Banquet Hall in Toronto was filled to capacity with over 400 Ghanaians and some non-Ghanaians on March 11, 2006 for a special dinner to celebrate Ghana's 49th Independence Anniversary. It was organized by the Ghanaian Canadian Association of Ontario (GCAO).
The guest speaker for the function was H.E. Samuel Odoi-Sykes, Ghana's High Commissioner to Canada. In a brief speech, H.E. Odoi-Sykes related Ghana's Independence to the independence of the African continent. He said that since Ghana's independence about 30 more African countries have also gained their independence.
"Democracy is a precious commodity". Mr. Odoi-Sykes pointed out. And that Ghana's democracy is growing. Ghanaians in Diaspora now have the opportunity to exercise their franchise in selecting the government of Ghana in future elections. He encouraged Ghanaians in the Diaspora to make good use of such opportunity.
H.E. Samuel Odoi-Sykes used the occasion to bid Ghanaians in Canada good-bye. Sooner or later the High Commissioner would be returning to Ghana to continue his duty there. He ceased the opportunity to invite Ghanaians in Diaspora who want to move to Ghana to develop the nation to join him in Ghana soon.
The High Commissioner congratulated the present executives of GCAO describing them as very dynamic. He praised them for their continuous efforts towards securing a community center for Ghanaians in Toronto.
"This is achievable", Odoi-Sykes remarked. "It however depends on how hard we work and how hard we press," he concluded.
The M.C., Anna Aidoo then invited Prof. George Dei, the immediate past President of GCAO to talk about the community center project dubbed "Ghana House". Prof. Dei stressed the need for Ghanaians in Toronto to get our own place where our youth could be taught about our language and culture. He was of the opinion that a community center will attract our youth from the streets of Toronto where gun violence prevail. He introduced the members of the building (community center) committee with Aboagye Danso as its head and charged them to work seriously towards the acquisition of the "Ghana House" in Toronto.
Presentation of awards were made to some outstanding individuals including the former Consul General of Ghana in Toronto, Dr. Martin La-Kumi and groups for their contributions towards the community.
The Sekyereman Cultural Troupe, Southern Volta Cultural Group and the renowned Canadian Gospel singer Kay Morris provided entertainment.
Earlier, the Ghana Ex-Servicemen Association of Toronto mounted a guard, which was inspected by H.E. Samuel Odoi-Sykes. The Chairperson for the function was Dr. Twum Barima, a medical practitioner of Ontario and the event was sponsored by Western Union.