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Harbourfront Centre unveils the opening of Miss Lou’s Room in honour of renowned Jamaican-Canadian cultural icon

TORONTO, July 26, 2007—William J.S. Boyle, Chief Executive Officer of Harbourfront Centre, the Honourable Mary Anne Chambers, Ontario Minister of Children and Youth Services, the Most Honourable P.J. Patterson, former Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Honourable Aloun N’Dombet-Assamba, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Entertainment & Culture and representatives from the Province of Ontario, officially opened Miss Lou’s Room today at Harbourfront Centre. Miss Lou’s Room is named in honour of the late Jamaican-Canadian icon Louise Bennett-Coverley, affectionately known worldwide as Miss Lou, who passed away one year ago on July 26, 2006 in her adopted home, Toronto.

“We are honoured that this permanent tribute to Miss Lou, commemorating her tremendous contribution to the cultural community, is located at Harbourfront Centre, where she performed many times,” said William J.S. Boyle, Harbourfront Centre’s Chief Executive Officer. “Now the thousands of children and families who use this room each year will be aware of her amazing contribution to world culture.”

Miss Lou was an internationally recognized storyteller and cultural figure who performed many times at Harbourfront Centre in community based festivals and in literary programmes. Miss Lou's Room features a permanent interactive exhibition and education area honouring her achievements, including photographs and recordings of her storytelling and songs. A central venue for many of Harbourfront Centre’s ongoing programmes, Miss Lou’s Room will be utilized by the School Visits programme with over 40,000 students each year, the HarbourKIDS family programme launching this fall, the summer camps programme with between 700-1000 children each day throughout the summer, as well as children’s elements of Harbourfront Centre’s extensive literary programme.

Miss Lou was a woman of many talents and accomplishments. She used humour with satire to deliver potent ideas about the validity of Jamaican identity and language at a time when cultural differences were not necessarily respected. Her songs, poems, books, performances, and broadcasts not only were entertaining but also influenced Jamaican actors, storytellers, dub poets, reggae artists, and ordinary Jamaicans alike. She was instrumental in preserving and fostering Jamaican culture in Jamaica, Canada and around the world.

Miss Lou’s Room was made possible through funding from the Government of Ontario.

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Images of Miss Lou are available to download from our website at www.harbourfrontcentre.com/media.

Media Contact:
Linda Liontis
416-973-4381
lliontis@harbourfrontcentre.com
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