Wednesday 31 July 2019

Underground Railroad leaves the station tonight at 11.30 AM Union Station Toronto

When the Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard – Senator from Nova Scotia (East Preston) blows the whistle as Conductor - over one thousand people will take a ride on Toronto’s Underground Freedom Train, leaving Union subway station in celebration of Emancipation Day on July 31st.
July 31, 2019 ... The Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard – Senator from Nova Scotia (East Preston), recipient of the Order of Canada and the Order of Nova Scotia, and a highly regarded social worker, educator, researcher, community activist and social change advocate, is getting ready to blow her whistle and yell “All Aboard the Freedom Train” as Toronto gets set to mark Emancipation Day. For the seventh year in a row there will be a special midnight TTC train that will take hundreds of people to the Sheppard West Station on July 31st to celebrate the August 1st date.
 Inline image2018 kick-off of Underground RR ride
It all begins July 31st at 10:45pm at Toronto’s Union subway station. “We will be boarding the Underground Freedom Train at 11:30pm and travelling straight to Sheppard West subway station (previously Downsview station), arriving there at 12:15am on August 1st,” explained organizer Itah Sadu. “The date is internationally acclaimed as Emancipation Day”.
“This year’s seventh annual Freedom Train ride will be an incredible journey and experience about the Underground Railroad and the history of Emancipation Day”. Opening ceremonies will begin at 10:45pm at Union subway station and half-an-hour later Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard, our honourary conductor, will give the call to board the train.”
Inline imageThe Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard
People will gather by the Brookfield Rotunda TTC entrance on the main floor of Union Station. Last year over 1,000 people took the train to Sheppard West Station to recognize the brave people who travelled the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada and then celebrate Emancipation Day.
 As people board the train there will be drumming, spoken word and songs will be sung, along with a tribute to the resilience of the many who travelled along the Underground Railway, seeking freedom in Canada. During the ride there will be a moment of silence called over the train’s intercom.
Notables confirmed to participate during the Freedom Train Ride include:
George Elliott Clarke -  Canadian poet, playwright and literary critic who served as the Poet Laureate of Toronto from 2012 to 2015 and as the 2016-2017 Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate
Michael Thompson - City Councilor and Toronto Deputy Mayor
Tiki Mercury Clarke – One of the all-time greatest Canadian jazz artists
Adisa S. Oji – recipient of the Community Resilience award
Also in attendance will be special guests from Buffalo and Albany in New York and also the Toronto African Drumming Collective.
Everyone is welcome to join us on this Underground Freedom Train Ride to celebrate Emancipation Day. People will need a regular TTC ticket for admission and come prepared for being part of a very unique subway ride. Seventh annual Underground Freedom Train Ride t-shirts are available for purchase at A Different Booklist store, prior to the ride. Further information - available at A Different Booklist 416-538-0889 or by following on twitter @FreedomTrainTOR.
 Media wishing to take the midnight ride on July 31st, welcome to cover but please let me know to assure your crew spots on subway
Inline image TTC volunteers drive the train

Stephen Weir & Associates |
109 Castlefield Avenue, Toronto, ON
Tel: 416-489-5868 | cell: 416-801-3101 twitter: sweirsweir 

Wednesday 17 July 2019


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TORONTO: A Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge is set to unseal documents Friday morning showing that evidence suppressed and destroyed by authorities could have freed wrongly convicted Glen Assoun. 
The documents will be opened to media and public scrutiny at 9:30 a.m at the N.S. Supreme Court courthouse in Halifax. 
Last week, Justice James Chipman ruled against an attempt by the province and police to keep the documents confidential.
Innocence Canada lawyers Phil Campbell and Sean MacDonald supported a media coalition at the hearing, arguing that the public interest necessitated the release of the material.
Mr. Assoun served 16 and a half years of a life sentence for the 1995 murder of a Halifax woman, Brenda Way. He was convicted in 1999.  In 2014, he was released on bail pending a review of his conviction by the federal Criminal Conviction Review Group (“CCRG”) and spent approximately five years on bail under extremely onerous release conditions.
In total, Glen Assoun was wrongly convicted for 21 years.Once shown the results of the internal review, Justice Minister David Lametti quickly referred the case back for a retrial. The province opted not to prosecute, exonerating Mr. Assoun.
Mr. Assoun insisted on his innocence at all times, from his first contact with police in 1995, through to his exoneration in March 2019.  The documents to be unsealed today are expected to show that, unbeknown to Mr. Assoun's legal team, the case against him was irreparably flawed.
Recent court submissions suggest that authorities colluded to suppress vital evidence. The documents may also point a finger at the real perpetrator - or perpetrators - of Ms. Way's murder.
There are a few individuals whose commitment to the pursuit of justice assisted Mr. Assoun and whose contributions should be acknowledged.  These include: the CCRG for their highly professional and comprehensive investigation, former Minister of Justice Peter MacKay who oversaw the investigation at its most critical point, current Minister of Justice David Lametti for immediately recognizing the injustice and taking swift and decisive action to remedy it and Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice James Chipman for judicially restoring the integrity of the process.
At the conclusion of Friday's court proceeding, Mr. MacDonald and Innocence Canada Co-President Ron Dalton will respond to media questions outside the courthouse.


 For further information, please contact: 
Ron Dalton ( or 
Sea MacDonald ( or 416-606-3017) 
or Phil Campbell (416-847-2560; Skype:phil.lcp;
Innocence Canada
111 Peter Street, Suite 408
Toronto, Ontario  
M5V 2H1

Stephen Weir & Associates | 
109 Castlefield Avenue, Toronto, ON
Tel: 416-489-5868 | cell: 416-801-3101 twitter: sweirsweir 


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TORONTO (July 8, 2019) - One Caribbean Television, a 24/7 television network about the Caribbean and its people, is pleased to announce the launch of Toronto’s first Caribbean Restaurant Week from July 17 to July 27, 2019.  The event will celebrate the rich tradition of Caribbean cuisine found in Toronto as well as provide interesting programming for the network which recently launched on Bell Fibe TV, Channel 2481.     
One Caribbean Television will be in free preview on Bell from July 1 through Labour Day.    
Throughout the campaign, One Caribbean Television will profile select restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area and offer their patrons a chance to win a trip for two to a carnival in the Caribbean in 2020. 
The network is excited to promote the stories of some of Toronto’s most popular Caribbean restaurants with our viewers in Canada, the United States and throughout the Caribbean.   
“One out of every six tourists to the Caribbean comes from Canada, so Caribbean Restaurant Week will be a welcome reminder to current visitors and a novel way to introduce the region to prospective travelers,” noted Nancy Drolet, Business Development representative for Canada at the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
To find out which Caribbean restaurants will be featured, log on to this special page on the One Caribbean Televisionwebsite:     
During the first week in August, One Caribbean Television will broadcast Carnival Week,  a week of coverage of the Caribbean carnivals occurring in Antigua, Barbados, Toronto among other locations.   
For More Information

Issued by: 

Stephen Weir & Associates | 
109 Castlefield Avenue, Toronto, ON
Tel: 416-489-5868 | cell: 416-801-3101 twitter: sweirsweir 

Monday 1 July 2019

Carnival Quiz: What Jumps Up On The Road And Is Green All Over?

Forget Kodachrome Colour, Photographer Jenny Baboolal will be Green all over at City Hall and at this summer’s Grand Parade
 By Stephen Weir

Photographer and long-time film maker Jenny Baboolal is not only showing her photography in Toronto’s City Hall, she will also be talking about her environmental concern around carnival celebrations at the Toronto Caribbean Carnival official launch at city hall and at the Grand Parade. 
The traditional Nathan Phillips Square launch for the annual carnival and parade usually attracts 5,000 to 10,000 fans who are interested in the Carnival Arts.  As well the annual parade can attract up to a million spectators gaga for all things Caribbean, takes place on August 3rd this year along Lakeshore Blvd and at Exhibition Place.
 Everyone is aware of the climate change crisis and wants to make a difference,” Jenny Baboolal told the Caribbean Camera. She is going Green during Carnival and has already formed a Go Green Mas band that will be taking part in events throughout the summer.
“ Our green masquerading band of revelers is here to promote the idea of being environmentally friendly whilst sharing and preserving the carnival traditions and engaging the community in a friendly way,” she continued. “On July 9th our small group will be parading at the Toronto City Hall at the official afternoon launch of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival and of course I will be at the launch of the photography exhibition."
From Baboolal YouTube Video

The masqueraders will be wearing costumes that will be predominantly green in colour and represent traditional carnival characters. They will be dancing and strutting their stuff to Caribbean music and rhythms. Environmentally friendly messaging will be featured on the costumes.

Also, on August 3, 2019 the CNE will be home for the Festival and it’s Grand Parade of Bands. The “Going Green” masquerading band of revellers will be roving around the CNE grounds during the day as a stand-alone group and not in the large parade of bands.

Ms. Baboolal is hoping that fun loving, likeminded environmentally concerned revellers will don green and jump up with her.  She can be reached at: