Elmore Sylvanus Daisy One of Caribana's Pioneers
By LENNOX FARRELL
One of these early cornerstones of Toronto’s Black and Caribbean community,
Elmore Sylvanus Daisy, now takes his final rest. Born Sunday, September 18, 1927, he died on
Saturday, August 15, 2015, at 8:00 p.m., surrounded by family.
According to the spontaneous testimonies of many, Elmore was a man of character,
kindness and courage. He had, and was, a gentle soul. And touched the lives of many.
However, many people in Toronto’s Black community, and elsewhere, might be
unfamiliar with his name. But to all of Toronto, Ontario and Canada; in fact to millions in
North America and elsewhere, the works of his hands are well known, and increasingly well received.
He was one of those intrepid souls who in 1966 had received a request with regards to the upcoming
Centennial, from the federal government of Canada.
It was an invitation to create for Toronto in 1967, something of beauty by which to commemorate Canada’s centenary. These men and women (see list below), having emigrated earlier to Toronto from English-speaking Caribbean countries and other places, set about, “out of their lean and low ability” to create a festival; one that has since outdistanced Montreal’s commemorative Expo 67 for longevity, creativity and productivity.
Their creation has put the City of Toronto on the map for diversity, and an ambience for culture. And, of course, the unmatched amount of revenues – some estimates being in the billions of dollars – earned since from its Carnival Arts culture.
The only one of its kind still surviving, vibrant and engaging, it is that ranking doyen of Canadian festival culture: Caribana, of which Elmore Daisy was not only a founding member, but was also one of its first Chairs.
One of many individuals who were professionals and semi-professionals, he was a native of St. Vincent & the Grenadines. It was the island abode and fortress of the indefatigable Black Carib chief, Chatoyer. Led by him, these Caribs had held off British expeditionary forces longer than was affected in any other West Indian island. St. Vincent has the distinction of being the last resisting territory in the Caribbean to surrender to European forces.
This occurred despite their temerity at forcing British forces that had defeated such military luminaries as Napoleon, to sign a peace treaty. Subsequently, the British, with the support of other Caribs, finally deported these Black Caribs into inhospitable regions as Honduras. Their descendants will soon be given the right of return, welcomed by the people and government of St. Vincent.
This is the timber from which Elmore Daisy was cut.