Vancouver Caribbean community contributes to Bahamas Hurricane Dorian relief
By Robbin Whachell, The Bahamas Weekly News Team
Nov 19, 2019 - 11:08:14 PM

The program graphic work was provided by Judi Lewinson. See at base of the article. (Photo: Sebastian Lopez)

On October 27, the Caribbean community in the Vancouver area came together to support Abaco and Grand Bahama Island Hurricane Dorian relief efforts with ‘An Evening for The Bahamas,” held at Burnaby Hall in British Columbia, Canada.

The event was organized by Caribbean / Bahamian Nationals of B.C. headed by Bahamian, Lillamae Toppin. The evening included live entertainment, a silent auction, dinner and dance.  Tables were labeled with the Islands of The Bahamas, and many door prizes were given out thanks to generous sponsors. Co-founder of The Bahamas Weekly, Robbin Whachell was the MC for the evening.

Guests arriving for An Evening for The Bahamas at Burnaby Hall on Oct. 27. (Photos: Sebastian Lopez)

His Excellency, Alvin Smith, Bahamas High Commissioner to Canada traveled from Ottawa to attend and provided the keynote address sighting many stories from the islands, and how they were impacted. He also referenced that Canadians are the second largest country as second-home owners to The Bahamas.
Approximately twenty-five Bahamians were in attendance, along with former and current home-owners. To date the effort has raised close to $7,000 and the donation link via Food For The Poor Canada will remain open until Nov. 30, 2019.

“I would like to thank everyone who responded to my appeal to help in Hurricane Dorian relief by attending,” said event coordinator, Lillamae Toppin.  “I would also like to thank all those who were unable to attend but donated anyway.”

Bahamas High Commissioner to Canada, Alvin Smith provided an informative keynote address. (Photo: Sebastian Lopez)

“I especially want to thank the Bahamian High Commissioner to Canada, His Excellency, Mr Alvin Smith, who took time out of his busy schedule to travel from Ottawa to be the Keynote Speaker. His speech was very informative and very touching." 

The High Commissioner pointed out that The Bahamas is still open for business as there are many Islands that were not affected by Hurricane Dorian.  One way to support the rebuilding efforts is to visit The Islands that are still open.

The event was a wonderful evening filled with great performances. Two talented singers, Bahamian Crystal Hicks and Canadian Juno award-nominee, Kelita Haverland performed solos, and during dinner the Sweet Pan Entertainment orchestra filled the room with Caribbean sounds. 

Wowing the audience was Bahamian dancer, Androsia Wilde with her captivating and high-energy numbers to Bahamians songs like Obeah Man. 

Throughout the evening, DJ Redemption Sound, DJ Earl The Pearl and DJ Lovers Choice kept the atmosphere lively and got people dancing.

(Photos: Sebastian Lopez)

The meal was prepared by Deloris Anderson and Natasha Sawyer (a Bahamian Chef living in Vancouver). Judi Lewinson provided graphic work on the program (attached below).

During her vote of thanks Toppin acknowledged her organizing committee. “I would like to thank Pearl Tingle, Louie Sutherland, Maureen Simon, Monifa Ayinde, Maryann Pyne, Robbin Whachell and Zuri Scrivens for coming together to help me with this event."

"I would like to thank all the donors for giving so generously, especially Save-on-Foods."

"Last but not least I would like to thank Food For The Poor Canada for partnering with us by ensuring that tax receipts are being issued to those who requested them," said Toppin.

It will take a long time to rebuild the Islands that were destroyed by Hurricane Dorian. So much more is needed. If you are so inclined please donate to the account at Food For The Poor Canada, as every little bit goes a long way.

The event was proudly supported by

All photos were generously provided by Sebastian Lopez Photography.  See the full selection of photos  on Facebook.  (Kindly credit if used).


Guests enjoyed steel pan sounds during dinner provided by Sweet Pan Entertainment. (Photo: Sebastian Lopez)

Bahamian Crystal Hicks provided a powerful rendition of the Bahamas National Anthem and sang several song accompanied by Sweet Pan Entertainment. (Photo: Sebastian Lopez)

(Photo: Sebastian Lopez)

Five-time Juno Award nominee, Kelita brought inspiration and hope to the evening. (Photo: Sebastian Lopez)

Bahamian burlesque dancer Androsia Wilde put on several riveting performances. (Photo: Sebastian Lopez)

Not one, but three Caribbean DJs donated their time for the evening providing sounds to get everyone dancing. Thank you DJ Redemption Sound, DJ Earl The Pearl and DJ Lovers Choice. (Photo: Sebastian Lopez)

(Photos: Sebastian Lopez)

Event organizers pose for a photo with honoured guest, Alvin Smith, Bahamas High Commissioner to Canada. Left to right: Maryann Pyne; Monifa Ayinde (President of the Grenadian Cultural Society); Natasha Sawyer (Bahamian chef living in Vancouver); Deloris Anderson (caterer); Taneish ( Deloris' helper); Robbin Whachell (MC, Co-Founder,; Lillamae Toppin (event coordinator); Bahamas High Commissioner to Canada, Mr Alvin Smith; Pearl Tingle (President of CJMAS); Crystal Hicks (Bahamian gospel singer/songwriter); Maureen Simon; Louie Sutherland (Past President of the Jamaican Association); and Zuri Scrivens (web designer). [Photo: Sebastian Lopez]

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