Photo: Soraya Umewaka

LCS President Carla Zarife’ Speech at inauguration ceremony at the Queen Elizabeth Park

LCS President Carla Zarife’ Speech at inauguration ceremony at the Queen Elizabeth Park, March 2016

Hello everyone,

My name is Carla Zarifeh and I am the president of the Lebanese Canadian Society. I would like to welcome you all and thank you for being here today.

I would like to extend a special welcome to the following guests:

  • HE Sami Haddad Lebanon’s Ambassador in Ottawa
  • Vancouver Acting Mayor Mr Raymond Louie
  • Vancouver City Councillor Ms Andrea Reimer
  • Mr. Georges Murr  (WLCU World Vice President).
  • Helen Murr Lebanese association from Victoria
  • Very Rev. Father Stan Galvon representing Archbishop of Vancouver and delegations
  • WLCU BC Council members.

Out of town Guests:

  • Mr. Farid Makarim  (Los Angeles. Past world Vice President WLCU)
  • Mr. Ali Shami (Seattle,
  • Founders:  Mrs. Vi Smith, Clarence Shumas , Wilf Ray and their Families

Thank you everyone for joining us here at Queen Elizabeth Park, one of the most beautiful parks in BC. This weekend, we are celebrating the International day of the Lebanese Emigrant 2016. Tonight, our celebration begins with inaugurating two commemorative benches.

I’d like to give you a little background. In the late 1800’s, many families arrived from Lebanon and settled in the lower mainland.  In 1912, a group of families formed the Lebanese club which in 1965 changed its name to become the Lebanese Canadian Society of BC.  In 1954, the Cedar Tree of Lebanaon was planted at Queen Elizabeth Park. In 1995, the rock and plaque underneath the tree were set as a memorial to the Lebanese who choose Canada as home. In 2015, the 50th anniversary of the LCS, 2 commemorative benches were inaugurated; One in honour of the late Shawqi Rashed (past president of the LCS of BC) and the other in honour of the late Najib Asfar (past member of the CLCA club in Victoria).  We are very excited to be able to unveil two more benches tonight.

On behalf of the board of directors of the Lebanese Canadian Society of BC, I would like to thank the city of Vancouver namely the Vancouver Parks Board for accommodating our requests and enabling us to leave a legacy for future generations. The Lebanese Canadian Society of BC will continue to promote the Lebanese Culture and Heritage to Canadians and new generations of Lebanese-Canadians.  We hope one day to be able to call this area “The Lebanese MEMORIAL Square”!

As Gibran Khalil Gibran said in his poem “I believe in you”:  I believe that you can say to the founders of this great nation, “Here I am, I am youth, a young tree whose roots were plucked from the hills of Lebanon, yet I am deeply rooted here, and I would be fruitful”

Thank you all for coming and let us get started with unveiling the benches.


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