Dr. Wadell, like other Trinidadians,
came to Canada to find greater opportunity in their lives. In his case,
it was the opportunity to attend medical school. Once he set up practice,
it was Canada who benefited greatly from his desire to become a doctor,
and Dr. Wadell is rightly remembered for his selfless work in community
and public health.
From the early 1900s, West Indian immigrants have come to Canada to
find work, but unlike Dr. Wadell, contributed to Canada's economic life
by providing cheap labour for the building of our country. Between 1900
and 1945, they were employed primarily on farms or in mines and factories.
They also worked as mechanics and domestics or as waiters, porters and
clerks. This pattern changed in the 1960s, when thousands of skilled
workers came to fill a burgeoning job market, particularly in education,
health services and office work. Between 1962 and 1966, almost 33% of
Trinidadian immigrants sought work in the professional and technical
categories. Because of the savings in labour-training costs and the
productivity of the new arrivals, Canada has been one of the beneficiaries
of this developing world's "brain drain."
In the late 1970s, there was a marked change in immigration eligibility
categories (fewer independents, more sponsored applicants) and in labour
qualifications (education and training). At the same time, employers
continued to hire temporary workers in agriculture and in the services
sector. The thousands of Trinidadians who have migrated to Canada have
been in search of a better life. They have provided Canada with a wealth
of teachers, nurses, civil servants, lawyers, doctors, engineers, skilled
artisans, factory workers and labourers. And of great importance for
Canada, Trinidadians have come with an understanding of living in a
multicultural society. As a result of their heritage in a diverse country,
Trinidadians are well situated to play a critical role in Canada's emerging
multicultural nation building in the new millennium.
With almost 150,000 people of Trinidadian origin in Canada, the impact
of this small group on Canadian culture and social life has been profound.
One of the most evident influences has been in the field of popular
culture. It is during their yearly festival, Caribana, that Trinidadians
introduce other Canadians to the hot hot rhythms of soca and calyposo
as they parade in spectacular costumes down the streets of Toronto for
one day in August. (see sidebar for further information).
Trinidadians' cultural contributions also flourish in the areas of literature,
theatre, and dance with prominent individuals such as Ramabai Espinet,
Jeff Henry, Frank Birbalsingh, Sam Selvon, and Neil Bissoondath. Trinidadian
music has had considerable impact on Canadian popular music culture
in night clubs in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver with styles as diverse
as calypso, steel band, soca, and has influenced the emerging Hip Hop