It is indeed a pleasure to bring greetings to the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago on the 100th anniversary of the City of Port of Spain celebrated on June 25.
One hundred years is truly a milestone anniversary for a city that has grown from humble beginnings in colonial times to a bustling capital city, the centre of business and government in T&T–the heart of the nation.
There are many reminders of the former glory days of the city which can be seen in the architecture of buildings and churches and the names of streets, and monuments and heritage sites.
One hundred years later, Port of Spain has become a bustling city, the centre of commerce in the Caribbean, a hub of activity with the presence of many international companies and organisations operating in Trinidad and Tobago, which is attributed to the ideal geographical location of this twin island republic.
Port of Spain really shone in 2009 when Trinidad and Tobago hosted both the Summit of the Americas and the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.
This was a momentous feat for a city of this size, considering it was not one but two huge international events, which both came off successfully.
From the regional headquarters of many Canadian banks, to the Caribbean Court of Justice and the proposed host country for the Secretariat of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), Port of Spain continues to flourish as a sought-after location for doing business in the region.
As you may be aware, the city Port of Spain is twinned with the city of St Catharines in Ontario, Canada, a relationship which has existed over the past 46 years.
The official twinning ceremony took place on October 4, 1968 in Port of Spain.
On that day, the Mayor of St Catharines, Mackenzie A Chown, and the Mayor of Port of Spain, J Hamilton Holder, declared the Mundialisation of St Catharines and the twinning of our two cities.
Why St Catharines you might ask? The idea of twinning the City of St Catharines and Port of Spain was thought up by Mr Philip Atteck, a Trinidadian living in Canada, during a lecture in 1965 about Trinidad and Tobago citizens in St Catharines.
Subsequently, Mr Atteck observed many similarities between St Catharines and Port of Spain—most notably, the friendliness of the people, both were surrounded by agriculture, both had radio stations operating on the same frequency, both had active chapters from the same service clubs and both were port cities.
Forty-six years later, the bond between the two cities is strong with reciprocal visits being paid between the two cities during the major festivals, Carnival in T&T and the Grape and Wine Festival in Canada.
So as the city celebrates this anniversary, Canada celebrates with you, and we take this opportunity to wish the city, and by extension the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, Happy 100th Anniversary.
Your city’s motto so aptly says it, “We Gather Strength as We Go Along”.
May your city continue to grow and prosper and remain for you, the citizens, a place of which you can certainly be proud.
High Commissioner of Canada