The Bahamas Opens First-Ever Consulate General in Toronto
Front row l to r: Consul General, Al Dillette, Prime Minister, Hon. Philip E. Davis, QC, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Frederick Mitchell, MP
Back row l to r: Investments Attache, Dwight Hart, Vice Consult, Gerald Wells, Ambassador, H.E. Dr. Dexter Johnson, Consul, Shelley V. Sweeting Parliamentary Secretary, Hon. John H.W. Pinder II, MP, Executive Director Global Communications, Paul Strachan, Former Head of Chancery (Ottawa) Chanelle Brown, High Commissioner, V. Alfred Gray, HE
TORONTO, Canada, 19 April 2023 - Joined by dignitaries from both The Bahamas and Canada, the Honourable Philip E. Davis, Prime Minister of The Commonwealth Of The Bahamas, proudly presided over the Grand Opening of a new Consulate General in Toronto on Saturday, April 15th. The new Consulate - located at 2300 Yonge Street - is the first ever established by The Bahamas in Canada and will be adjacent to The Bahamas Tourist Office.
A well-attended ribbon-cutting ceremony was followed by a robust slate of celebratory events, including a luncheon and Bahamian diaspora reception. The Honourable John H.W. Pinder II, Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, Investments, & Aviation, delivered remarks at the luncheon. On Monday, April 17th the Bahamas Tourist Office staff welcomed media and industry partners for a drop-in tour of the new premises.
Front Row – l to r: Prime Minister, Hon. Philip Davis, Mrs. Kathryn Dillette, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Frederick Mitchell, Consul General, Al Dillette
Back Row – l to r: Executive Director Global Communications, Paul Strachan, Archdeacon, Theadore Hunt, Dr. Ann Johnson, Ambassador, H.E. Dexter Johnson, High Commissioner, AV. Alfred Gray, Mrs. Bessie Gray, Parliamentary Secretary, John H. Pinder, Mr. Kevin Simmons, CPO, Kingsley Smith
Pinder said, “The wonderful reality is that The Bahamas has a strong presence in a country that is brimming with opportunities for channeling investments to our homeland.” “Canada has the ninth largest economy in the world. Unified in their efforts, the new Consulate General, in partnership with BTO Toronto, will prove to be a powerhouse in scoping out and bringing to fruition greater investment opportunities for our nation.”
The attending delegates from the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation (BMOTIA) included:
- Newly appointed Consul General Al Dillette, empowered to oversee the Consulate’s mission to serve Canada’s strong Bahamian diaspora
- Latia Duncombe, Director General
- Paul Strachan, former Executive Director of Global Sales and newly appointed Executive Director of Global Communications
- Valery Brown-Alce, newly appointed Executive Director of Global Sales
- Steven Johnson, Director of Tourism, Canada & China
Over the course of the two-hour luncheon, the members of the delegation highlighted The Bahamas’ steadily growing tourism numbers, plans for future growth and innovation, the beauty and appeal of its 16 islands and the many reasons why The Bahamas continues to be a sought-after destination for Canadians. Among the most exciting announcements was the unveiling of a year-long 2023 calendar of events and festivities celebrating The Bahamas’ ’50th year of independence. Bahamians and prospective visitors are encouraged to view the calendar at https://celebrate-bahamas.com/.
Concluding, the delegation expressed its optimism for the year ahead. Canadian traffic to The Bahamas has seen an increase of 223 percent in the first two months of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. With Air Canada, WestJet, and Sunwing set to expand their service to The Bahamas this fall/winter with daily flights to Nassau and weekly flights to Exuma and Grand Bahama Island, Canadians will find the destination more accessible than ever.
Latia Duncombe said, “We are so pleased to have Canadians returning to The Bahamas. In fact, in 2022, the Canadian repeat visitor rate stood at 54% - the highest of the major source countries for The Bahamas. Canadians visit. They come back again and again, and many have made The Bahamas their second home.”
ABOUT THE BAHAMAS
With over 700 islands and cays, and 16 unique island destinations, The Bahamas lies just 50 miles off the coast of Florida, offering a quick and easy way for travellers to escape their everyday. The island nation also boasts world-class fishing, diving, boating and thousands of miles of the Earth’s most spectacular beaches for families, couples and adventurers to explore. See why It’s Better in The Bahamas at www.bahamas.com or on Facebook, YouTube or Instagram.
Director, Global Communications
Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation
Nancy Drolet/Nicola Blazier
Jesson + Co. Communications