Speech - Mr Richard Cumbo (Canada)

Mr Richard Cumbo opened up by explaining that Institutions like Maltese Organisations, the church and the media, play an integral role in helping to preserve our Maltese Culture and language in Canada. They help to maintain our identity in a multicultural mosaic, which is the make-up of Canadian society. He said that there are various organisations that propagate a multitude of Maltese cultural activities, thereby instilling and help strengthen a Maltese-Canadian presence in communities across Canada. By feeding into these institutions or groups, our Maltese heritage has a nucleus from which to grow. The main Maltese-Canadian community in Canada is found in Toronto in an area called the "Junction", and although decreasing in its Maltese presence, this area is still considered to be the "hub" of the Maltese in Ontario,

An easier method to maintain our culture is for the Maltese-Canadian organisations to play a more active role by organising Maltese-style events or activities. Most members of the community take part in marching band concerts, carnival dances, soccer competitions, plays and drama, folklore concerts, village feasts, cultural displays and religious activities. All of these events are held in the Maltese language, and they also serve to educate the Canadians about Maltese customs and awareness of our culture.

The formation of clubs, associations and church groups including a Maltese Parish Church all contribute to the preservation of our culture. The only institution in Canada, which has taken the important role of teaching and promoting the Maltese language and culture, is the Maltese Heritage Programme based in Toronto. There is no question, therefore, of thinking that learning Maltese abroad can be a hindrance. Insistence must be made on the young Maltese to take up the Maltese language as a second language, which they will speak when socialising with others in a Maltese environment.

Source: 'Malta' - Maltese Culture Movement, Issues 4,5,6, 2000.

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