Participants in the Parade of Nations

Francis Shim

Francis Shim

Francis Shim was born in Jamaica to a family and culture rich in diversity. The island of Jamaica was a beautiful place for him to experience many different cultures since it has a rich history involving peoples from Spain, Britain, India, Africa, China and, of course, Jamaica itself. His family's ancestry also testify to that diversity since it is a complex weaving of Jamaican, Chinese, Scottish and Irish backgrounds.

At an early age, it was noticed that Francis was not speaking and would walk away during story telling. Some people thought that he might be mentally challenged or simply slow. At the same time, given the opportunity, young Francis would put his ear to a speaker's chest or his hand gently on their throat to feel the vibrations. Some thought that he was simply being an affectionate child; however, with the help of an observant kindergarten teacher and a family friend, who was a doctor, it was realized that Francis was actually compensating for hearing loss! Once testing confirmed hearing loss, Francis received speech therapy from kind hearted speech pathologists. Naturally, since some of the speech pathologists were Canadian, his family learned about the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children, a world-renowned hospital, at that time, specializing in childhood ailments and treatments, including an excellent audiology program. As a result of this fortunate turn of events, Francis was able to continue his regular education in a prepatory school operated by Catholic nuns.

It was then no surprise that when his family decided to leave Jamaica in 1974, it was to travel to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Although it was difficult to leave behind familiar friends, Francis found Canada to be a country of golden opportunities. One important opportunity was an advanced health care system that provided him access to better audiology and hearing aid programs that he needed. Even though the hearing aids can only partially compensate for his hearing loss, it was enough to allow him to excel in school and to contribute to his completion of his undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto.

All throughout, Francis was one of many who saw Toronto become more and more culturally diverse. Although he too has experienced racial prejudice first-hand, Francis determined that such prejudice could not stop what was simply a natural process that the world was undergoing: globalization. Although most prejudices were easy to witness and, therefore, obvious to handle, there were also prejudices that Francis experienced because of hidden and less known diversity in human beings. One of which was, of course, society's insensitive attitudes to the needs of the Deaf culture. Although he was not totally deaf, Francis had a kinship with the Deaf community and desired to understand more about it. While studying the Deaf culture, Francis witnessed a beauty in the language of the Deaf and decided to take sign language classes with the Canadian Hearing Society. It would prove to become one of his loves and enduring way of expressing his belief that we are all human beings and we are all of one family.

It was only until 1995 that Francis was to learn the full extent of his disability and to realize that he was also experiencing a progressively deteriorating vision loss. This revelation along with other ensuing difficulties in his life at the time sent Francis into a major bout of depression; however, through his recovery therapies Francis was able to discover more meaning in his life as he realize just how wonderful an opportunity he had being a human being of many races and cultures, both visible and invisible and that this was to reaffirm the truth of his belief that we all should be of one family. As a result, he was able to slowly recover a more spiritual and philosophical outlook on the course of his life.

Naturally, in 2005, when Francis moved to Cornwall and heard about the Bahá'i Faith and that one of its basic tenet was the unification of humankind in a spiritual way, he realized that he had found an important threshold in his life's journey. Francis then continued his life-long love of learning about the wide diversity of the human family, to which he belongs, and hoping that we can be more accepting of each other. It is with hope that he seeks a way to use his creative signing to create bridges between cultures, visible and invisible, and to foster a sense of unity among them.

Ayda Khan, Honour guest performer 2011

Ayda Khan

Young Canadian singer, Ayda Khan, wows the audience at New York City's legendary Apollo Theater and wins the "Star of Tomorrow" title at Apollo's famed Amateur Night

On May 25, 2011, accompanied on stage by the Apollo Band, Ayda Khan wowed the New York City audience with her powerful voice and received a rousing standing ovation for her singing performance, winning the Apollo "Star of Tomorrow" title at the world famous Apollo Theater's Amateur Night.

Amateur Night at the Apollo show dates back to 1934, with a teenage Ella Fitzgerald being one of the first Amateur Night winners. The iconic show has launched the careers of some of the world's greatest artists including Michael Jackson, James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder. Having celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2009, Amateur Night at the Apollo continues to be a leading showcase for talented performers.

Ayda Khan sings a variety of genres including R&B, Soul, Pop, Jazz and Broadway. She has been performing since she was three years old and at age 14, her resume already has a long list of impressive credits. In 2009, Ayda was selected as one of Oprah Winfrey's "World's Most Talented Kids" and was featured on the official website throughout that year. In 2010, she was a guest singer on CBC Television's primetime hit comedy series "Little Mosque on the Prairie". Ayda currently stars in a singing role on the TVOKids show "The Prime Radicals", airing on networks across Canada.

Ayda has performed at many high profile national events and official ceremonies, singing in both English and French. She also uses her talent to support charities and cultural organizations. Over the years, her vocal talent has attracted various media attention throughout Canada as she was profiled and noted in Vancouverite, National Post, The Ottawa Citizen, The Ottawa Sun and the Cornwall Standard Freeholder to name a few, including interviews and performances aired on CBC Radio, A Channel Television and Rogers TV. Ayda was recognized for a "Civic Appreciation Award" in 2009 and a "Spirit of Youth Award" in 2011 for her contributions to the community and the arts in the Nation's Capital.

Ayda Khan is a young Canadian rising star who is garnering numerous awards and accolades in Canada and the United States for her vocal talent.

To view Ayda Khan's winning performance, click Apollo Theater's website below:

To view Ayda Khan's YouTube channel, click below:

Chipo Shambare

Chipo Shambare

Chipo was born in Zimbabwe Rhodesia and now live in Ottawa Canada. She is a retired nurse and midwife. She authored a book called "I Am Good Enough for Me" She is also a speaker, workshop and seminar leader, relationship coach, natural therapist specializing in energy medicine, spiritual counselling and just started a non-profit organization helping people in the villages she grew up.

Djerdan Bosnian Folk Dance Group from Ottawa

Djerdan Bosnian Folk Dance Group from Ottawa

This group composed of 26 dancers is from Ottawa. Bosnian music is a mixture of the national Slavic folklore with some Turkish influences along with influences from the western part of the world. Folk dances are performed in the all of the countries of the South Slavic region and each has its own version. Some dances have almost no movement above the waist and the dancers must master complicated steps.

Sonny Best Band - Country Rock

Sonny Best Band

The Sonny Best Band was formed in 2003, fueled by the love of pure country n' western music. Since that time, they've earned a solid reputation in their home region of Montreal/Ottawa and throughout Canada as being a genuine article. The songs are rooted in tradition and delivered in a style that's all their own.

The members are the incomparable Sonny Best up front on vocals and guitar, Radar on lead pickin', Bud McGee keeping things tight

Francis Davidson

Francis Davidson is a 19 year old who has been dancing for about a year. His style of dancing is Hip Hop and he practices whenever he can or when he is not tired.

He is self taught, some moves he invented himself if not already invented... However most of his moves he learn from Youtube, or from DVD tutorials.

In total he practices about 10 hours a week minimum. His dream is to become a really good dancer and maybe open his own school someday. But before he will try to learn more moves from someone with the same dance style. He finds it challenging at times since no one is beside him showing him the technique.

Francis dances because dancing is a way to express yourself through your moves. A quote use is : "Dance to express not too impress."

The Roadhouse Dancers

The Roadhouse Dancers are a non-profit group of line dancers who love to dance and perform for people. They have been together for approximately 12 years. They do demos in many retirement and nursing homes in the area including Cornwall, Lancaster, Green Valley, Vankleek Hill, Maurice Grimes Institute for cancer in Ottawa and many more. They also perform at fairs in the area such as the Stormont County Fair, The Williamstown Fair, The Vankleek Hill Fair.

Their team consists of nine dancers, one man and eight women. They are: Kevin Ceasor, Thelma Burnie, Diane Ladouceur, Edith Sturgeon, Nancy Moisan, Gowri Pathmalingam, Joey Prieur, Gail Smart and Lise Seguin.

They also sponsor line dance classes from September to April at the Knights of Columbus at the corner of Second Street East and Amelia Streets. They have two classes starting from 6:30 to 7:30 and 7:45 to 9:00 pm on Mondays.

Master JieKai Zhang Chine Art Marshall

Master JieKai Zhang

Mr. Zhang was a chairman of Tai chi Research Association in the city Shunde in China, hometown of Hollywood Chinese acting actor Bruce Lee. He holds a 6th Level Wushu Duan Wei and was a vice chairman of Martial Arts Association in Shunde as well as a state-level coach of Martial Arts and tai chi Chuan.

Mr. Zhang has made a huge contribution in developing the Tai Chi Chuan movement and got a contribution prize. He has taught Tai Chi in China and Canada for many years. His students, in China, even went to participate in competitions nationally and internationally and won a lot of prizes. Master Zhang will perform a 24 forms Tai Chi Chuan, Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan and TaiChi Sword.

Summer Rain Herne

Summer Rain Herne, sings traditional songs as part of the Mohawk Immersion curriculum while attending the Akwesasne Freedom School. At 9 years, old she began singing cover songs from Marie Osmond's, “Paper Roses”, and Hiliary Duff's, “What Dreams are Made of”. She could not read or write English at that time, so she learned to sing these songs by heart.

She sang these songs as an opening act for a Native American entertainer, “Jana”, at a local venue. The first time she sang live on stage, in front of a crowd of over 500 people, the response from the audience was so overwhelmingly positive that she continued to sing at different events.

One cover song that has made her known, is the song made famous by the immortal Patsy Cline, “Crazy”, at ten years old. Summer Rain recorded the karaoke version of the instrumental in the original country style but then sang it in a bluesy genre. This won her, her first competition a few years later at the Williamstown Fair. It has taken her seven years to perfect it to what it sounds like today.

Summer Rain has participated in many benefits, competitions and is the reigning Akwesasne Teen Idol. She has had three months of professional voice training under Meredith Matthews (Ottawa, Ontario) and since grade six with her music teacher Mrs. Robideau for chorus, at Salmon River High School.

At 13, she won 1st place in her age category, at the National Aboriginal Day Festival in Ottawa, Ontario. She took part in “Showcase of America” in Toronto. Most recently, she won 1st place with her cover song, “Rolling in the Deep”, by Adele at the “Franklin County's Got Talent 2011”, a competition held annually at the Malone Fair in Malone New York.

She can be found on singing her two cover songs, “Crazy”, and “Rollin in the Deep”. Summer Rain is working on a CD with cover songs and original songs which will be available in the near future.

The Butlers

The Butlers are a local Classic Rock Group that has been a mainstay in the Cornwall area since 1965.

Bob Bazinet : Guitar , Harmonica and Vocals originally founded the group back in 1965 and has been the force behind its success for all these years.

George Charron : Guitar and Vocals is the other original member dating back to 1965. George’s lead guitar style is versatile to all the various songs, lending a fresh approach to tunes from the 50’s,60’s, up to today.

Claude Clement : Bass Guitar and Vocals has been a member since 1977. Claude’s professionalism, wit and MC duties adds to the bands’ personality

Larry Sylvain : Drums and Vocals is the latest addition to the band joining in February 2007. He has performed professionally regularly over 42 years, played with a large number of bands and talented musicians.

Cary Grant

Carey Grant grew up listening to the sounds of his Dad singing' Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and hymns after church on Sundays. At a very young age, he would repeatedly pull down his father's Gibson guitar from a top living room shelf to strum and pluck and analyze the different sounds that could be made. ".. At the age of 16, Carey worked most of his week-ends in hotels playing music. This eventually landed him four big breaks, while singing some old hymns, he found himself surrounded with an incredibly awesome peace. He knows that life is not always a perfect med of roses. His hope is that you will be encouraged, entertained and touched through the Music.

Rebecca Skye

Rebecca Skye started her singing career when she was four when she sang at the opening of a Buddy McMaster concert. Rebecca has also been studying violin with renown violin teacher Rosamond Laberge. At the grand old age of 11, she performed in Washington D.C., at the battlefield of Gettysburg , in Dallas Texas, and for the opening of the Canada Day festivities in Ottawa. Recently she was heard on thousands of radio stations around the world with the Christmas song “The Snowman” She is in the process of recording a number of Celtic CD, many of the songs are in Celtic and world music, and some have contemporary feel to them.

Arcane Belief

Arcan Belief is not what you think they will be. The band is composed of Cory White, the song writer who also plays the rhythm guitar and the piano; Buck Cook collaborates with the songs and is also the lead guitarist; Cory Jacobs is their lead vocalist and also plays bass guitar; and Duane Greenfield is on drums. They recently signed with a record company in Oklahoma.

Their website is called ReverbNations, which is the leading online music-making platform used buy over 1,399,900 artists. The purpose of their website is to allow artists, managers, levels and venues to grow thought the Internet.

The group was formed in 2008 and their sound ranges from soft to rock, to more hard core music and from 1970's to 1980's inspirations.

Hotinonshonni Cultural Group Hoop Dancers d'Akwesasne

Native American Hoop Dance is a form of storytelling dance incorporating many hoops as props. During the dance, shapes are formed in storytelling ritual such as the butterfly, the eagle, the snake, and the coyote, with the hoop symbolizing the never-ending circle of life. Native American Hoop dance focuses on very rapid moves, and the construction of hoop formations around and about the body. Under the direction of Nancy Jacobs we introduce to you the Hoop Dancers

Easy Pickins

Easy Pickins is composed of Claude Plamondon, guitar and vocal. 1n 1990 Claude married and moved to Japan for two years where he played with the Thirty Grass Boys, a Japanese Blue Grass Band. Easy pickins est composée de Claude Plamondon guitare et vocaliste. En 1990 Claude se marie et s'installe au Japon pendant deux ans où il jout avec les Thirty Grass Boys, une bande Blue grass

After returning from Japan, Claude settled in Dundela with his wife, and started raising a family. He met Jeanne Ward in the late 90’s and the band Easy Pickins was formed.

Jeanne Ward, guitar and vocal. Originally from Ottawa, Jeanne has been living in Morrisburg for about 20 years. Vocal harmonies are what Jeanne loves best. She enjoys accompanying other artists with vocals and percussion whenever she gets the chance. When you don’t see her promoting the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage, you can find her down by the river from spring till fall with the Morrisburg Community Drumming group on Monday nights.

Claude Clement, bass guitar and gocal, was born and raised in Cornwall Ontario. Claude Clement started playing bass at age 13. “There were too many guitar high school… Plum was starting a band...there were no bass players ...I volunteered...the rest is history.”

Larry Sylvain, drums and vocal , comes form a musical family having both parents (Marie and Cecil Spence), professional musicians. Larry has performed regularly over forty-two years with a multitude of talented musicians all the while being a good standing member with the American Federation of Musicians since the age of 14.

Priyenka Ratnarajah Cornwall Tamil Dance Scholl

Their dancing passion lays is the interpretation of Bharatanatyam, the oldest of all classical dances forms of India and based on the Theories of the books:” Natyasasthram” and “Abhhinaya Darpanam”. Priyenka started dancing at the age of three and became a professional dance cer by teh age of 14. She opened her own dance school in 2008, “Cornwall Tamil Dance School” located t 1756 Cumberland Street Cornwall.

Freedom Taekwon-do

Taekwon Do is a Korean martial art, a particularly aggressive form of karate, that utilizes punches, jabs, chops, blocking and powerful, leaping kicks. Betty Anne Villeneuve 3rd Degree Black Belt with her student will introduce us to Taekwon Do.

Cross Wind of Akwesasne

John Francis started playing music at the age of thirteen and has been playing for over 30 years. Then he started his own group 10 yeas ago called Cross Wind.

Bear Fox of Akwesasne

Theresa Fox has lived in Akwesasne for over forty years now, and she loves our community. She is part of a women's singing group called Carriers of the Words. Their duties as a Singing Society are to help out in their community. They raise money by selling their CD's or by singing outside of their community. Please encourage them.

Emily Nishibori

Emily Nishibori is a dedicated ballet dancer who has been taking lessons since she was five years old. Presently, she studies ballet at the Cornwall School of Dance with instructor/choreographer, Jane Macmillan Emily was born and raised in Japan until she was 9 years old, at which time she moved to Canada with her family in 2003. She has been on the Honour Roll throughout high school, has received numerous awards for excellence in academics, as well as in sports One of Emily’s greatest achievements was learning English when she came to Canada. Emily has been greatly influenced by her parents, learning to never give up, be the best at what you are doing now, yet at the same time encouraged to have fun.

Kevin MacDonald

Kevin MacDonald is a Thai Chi Instructor: In New York City Kevin began studying Tai Chi Chuan with Grand Master William C.C. Chen for three years and also studied Shaolin with Sifu Tai for 3 years. In 1998, Kevin moved back to Cornwall, Ontario. Here, he began teaching Tai Chi Chuan for seniors citizens at St Lawrence College for the Encore Senior Program for three semesters.

Kevin is also a fine artist who presented several art exhibitions at the Corwall Regional Art Gallery and the Focus Art Canada Group at the Public Library.

Roxanne Delage

Roxanne Delage is a singer songwriter whose musical influences includes Rock to Country, Jazz to Broadway and everything else in between for that matter. and are as varied as there are types of music. With a background in Music Theatre and decades of fronting a half dozen or so pop/rock cover bands, music has certainly been her life's passion and salvation. Originally from North Glengarry and following an early life on the road, all across the country, Roxanne is now settled in Cornwall and married to Earl, her biggest fan and most devoted supporter.

Amanda Marini

Amanda Marini-Rohde, born in Cornwall and raised in Newington, is a local community producer for an art show called Arts Current, which promotes artists from the area. Marini-Rohde is also a private dance teacher who instructs within the Upper Canada District School Board.

Marini-Rohde is taking her love for dance to another level; she is spearheading a contemporary Cornwall-based, not-for-profit dance group called Atten-Dance. The object of the group is to do installation work around the city and the St. Lawrence Valley. Marini-Rohde, has a strong interest in creating movement in unconventional space, and will be using this inspiration as the force behind the group's first project.

Gene Ward

A songwriter, recording artist and entertainer, Gene has performed numerous concerts at the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage,the Basket Case Cafe, Morrisburg,as well as Morrisburg’s 150th Anniversary celebrationsin July 2010. He is a veteran of the club and concert scene in Parry Sound, the Muskokas.

His music is Country folk acoustic., songs that tell stories and set a picture in your mind of love, longing, and the night wind. He possesses strong vocals, overtop driving rythms and is a lead guitar.

Coming of Age

Coming of Age is a local 4 piece classic rock band. They have been together for 6 months. Matt Brunet is on rhythm and lead guitar. Matt loves to play all styles and is very versatile. He is also a teacher on guitar.

Ronald Labelle is on bass. He has been playing for approx 16yrs. He is also very versatile and has played in some great bands in his career.

Sandy Macfarlane is on drums. He was a guitar player originally, but got pushed on the drum's by total accident and has been there ever since. He loves to play a wide variety of music from blues to heavy rock.

Steph St.Louis is on vocals. He's been singing karaoke for around 6 yrs and is really loving the live band style.

They are all local guy's that enjoy playing very much and are trying to broaden their horizons. They are starting to play at weddings and other events. They aim to please and thank all thin supporters.

B.K. Rider

Ben Young and Kimberly Taylor have been performing throughout the Ottawa Valley for the past couple of years. The Cornwall based duo has combined their talent along with their love of country music, past and present.

They both were inspired at a young age by artists such as, Charlie Rich, Conway Twitty, Kitty Wells and Dolly Parton to name a few.

In 2005 Ben was chosen by Robert Livermoore Productions as one of the top 25 Country Legend Impersonators in North America for his George Strait Salute and had been invited to perform on RFD TV “Live” Nashville.

Ben also travelled throughout North America with EJ COOPER, Canada’s very own Willie Nelson.

Through her journey, Kim recorded a CD called “Our Time to Fly” with known artist Steve Patecco, Louie Schreyer and Al Bragg.

What makes B.K. Rider unique? Their natural country sounding voice, along with a true love and passion for Country music.

Lemarec Destin, Parade Marshall 2010

Members of the Board of Directors of the Parade of Nations, Everyone

It is with great joy and eagerness that I accepted the invitation of the Foundation of the Parade of Nations appointing me this year ‘s Parade Marshal. Being here, I might add with great pleasure, knowing that I can participate in two events at the same time the second annual Festival and the fourth annual parade. Without a shadow of a doubt, the participation, the number of representatives of different nations is impressive and universal. Indeed, the symbolism that emerges is powerful and fits perfectly with the vision of the Foundation which is a "unity, acceptance, inclusion and harmony amongst all people, whoever they are, wherever they come from, including those who are afflicted by a disability.

This event becomes so meaningful when we consider that everywhere on the planet, in democratic countries and even in those countries who are vulnerable to violence, we talk more and more about a global village, about social cohesion, of " living together "in a world free of prejudice and exclusion, but in a world of love and compassion in action. It's now become almost a civic concern for "all people of good faith" to work towards building a better world in which the common man over obstacles such as: origin, color, religion, physical appearance, and so on. It is in this spirit that we promote the actions and the aims of the Foundation of the Parade of Nations such as the goal to thank people for what they do for the community, to celebrate the achievements of individuals, regardless of the level of importance, and also to celebrate their ancestry,. This includes the promotion of local artists, artisans, writers, associations, organizations, companies and groups of all kinds.

Considering everything that was said before, one cannot help but spare a thought for Mathieu Da Costa. History will remember his name as the first Black man to set foot on Canadian soil in 1603, along with the explorer Samuel de Champlain. By serving as an interpreter between the Mic-Mac Indians and the French, he facilitated the first contacts between the First Nations and Europeans, a key element in the birth of the country that we cherish today.

Another example of "unity in diversity" is found in the life and actions of a former resident of Cornwall, the black soldier named John Baker. For his exploits, he was regarded by his contemporaries as a legend and an exceptional hero. He fought alongside the Duke of Wellington, victor of the Battle of Waterloo. He also took part in many battles in Canada, including the famous Battle of Stoney Creek in 1812. A fearless soldier , a brave and loyal citizen, he lived in Cornwall and died at the age 105. He was buried in a cemetery in this city. The city of Cornwall should be proud. Thank you.