— Happy Canada Day —
—Ten interesting tidbits
about Ethio-Canadian relations.
— Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie first briefly visited Canada on June 3, 1954 arriving in the Canadian capital Otttawa where he met with Governor General Vincent Massey and Prime Minister St. Laurent. The Emperor spent his last night on June 6 in Windsor, Ontario before crossing the Ambassador Bridge over the Detroit River back into the United States.
In the summer of 1967, the Emperor returned to Canada, for a two week nationwide tour to celebrate Canada’s Centennial Anniversary and attend the opening of the world fair “Expo 67” in Montreal, Quebec.
— Addis Ababa University, formerly Haile Selassie University and the University College of Addis Ababa, was established, at the request of the Emperor , by Canadian Jesuit Lucien Matte. Matte would also serve as the University’s first President in 1961.
— According to the Government of Canada official website on Ethiopia, Canada is the third largest donor to Ethiopia. It reports that Canada also contributed 450 Canadian peacekeepers to monitor the 2000 cease fire between Eritrea and Ethiopia. It mentions that Canada opened its embassy in Addis Ababa in 1966.
— In 2002, Prime Minister Jean Chretien became the first Canadian head of state to visit Ethiopia. In 2010, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi visited Canada to attend the G8/G20 Summit.
— Toronto is home to Canada’s largest Ethiopian community. The Ethiopian Association of Toronto estimates its Ethiopian population in the Greater Toronto area(GTA) to number 80,000 residents.
Each September, the community hosts a day long New Year Enkutatash Festival at Christi Park. The GTA has at least 30 restaurants catering to Ethiopian Cuisine according to online Yellow Pages.
— The month of March 2012 became Ethiopian Canadian Heritage Month, proclaimed by Toronto Mayor Robert Ford behalf of the Toronto City Council.
— Abel Tesfaye “the Weeknd” is a Canadian-born rapper/R&B musician of Ethiopian-descent whose 2011 released album ‘House of Balloons’ received praise from media giants Rolling Stones, BET, and MTV. Tsefaye’s popularity is expected to grow.
— Ethiopian-born Canadian Yassin Essa represented Canada at the 2011 FIFA ‘s U-17 World Cup. Essa, currently plays for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC as a midfielder and striker.
— Relations between Ottawa and Addis Ababa have been reportedly strained in the past two years following the detention of Ethiopian-born Canadian citizen Baashir Makhtal, accused of terrorism-related activities. The Toronto Sun reported as recent as June 12, 2012 that efforts are underway to secure his release.
— This coming July 16 2012, Ethiopian Airlines will begin direct flights between Addis Ababa and Toronto.