St. Vincent and Grenadines Association of Toronto

Dr. Joseph Alban Liverpool

Co-Founder and First Chairman of Caribana

Dr. Alban LiverpoolDr. Joseph Alban Liverpool
Co-Founder and First Chairman of Caribana

By Diane Liverpool

Vincentian-born Trail Blazer Dr. Joseph Alban Liverpool was the first Chairman of Caribana, now known as Toronto Caribbean Carnival which started in 1967. In December 1966 he was one of the local West Indian (African-Caribbean) professionals who were asked by the Federal Government to make a contribution in Toronto to Canada’s Centennial in 1967.

Born in Chili Village, St. Vincent and the Grenadines on September 5, 1919, he was one of ten children of Samuel and Elfrida Liverpool. Dr. Liverpool received his primary and secondary education in St. Vincent before migrating to Canada to join the Canadian Armed Forces. He fought in the Second World War where he was part of the D-Day Invasion of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944. After the war, Dr. Liverpool attended McGill University in Montreal where he obtained his medical degree in 1955.

After qualifying as a physician in 1956, he moved to Toronto with his wife Elaine and two children, Ronald and Camille. Dr. Liverpool entered private practice after interning at St. Joseph's Hospital. He founded the College Euclid Clinic in 1966, where he headed a team of several African-Caribbean doctors who served both the Black and Italian communities. Dr. Liverpool also served as Physician in Chief in the Department of Medicine at Doctors Hospital, Toronto.

Soon after he became a Founder of Caribana 1967 and was the first Chairman of the 1966-1967 Board of Governors of the inaugural Caribbean Centennial Committee. Their mandate was to promote a Caribbean trade and cultural exhibition. The celebrations lasted for a week from August 5 - 12, 1967 in the City of Toronto. Highlights were the Carnival Pageant Parade, Centennial Ball at Casa Loma, and events on a Toronto island including a Caribbean music festival, crowning of the Carnival Queen, and fashion shows. Caribbean Centennial Week, as the festival was called was quoted to be “one of the first grand public statements of the West Indian presence in Canada,” and was so successful that the City of Toronto Mayor William Dennison requested it become an annual event in Toronto. Dr. Liverpool stayed on and became Chairman of the Caribbean Committee for Cultural Advancement for Caribana 1968. He was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation from Mayor Dennison for the contribution to Canada's Centennial celebrations.

In 1974, Dr. Liverpool moved to The Bahamas where he served as the Medical Staff Coordinator at the Princess Margaret Hospital from 1975 to 1978 on secondment from the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Assistance. In 1978 he moved to Barbados where he practiced medicine with a specialty in allergy. In 1979, Dr. Liverpool organized an effort to assist in the provision of medical help, drugs and other supplies to St. Vincent after the devastating eruption of the volcano Soufriere. He was awarded a Badge of Honour by the then Premier of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Hon. R. Milton Cato.

Dr. Liverpool returned to Toronto in 1999. He died on May 8, 2005 at age 85. His wife Elaine, also a Vincentian-born Caribana Founder, died on June 12, 2012. They are survived by their son Ronald Liverpool of Toronto; daughter Camille Lady Liverpool-Barnett, son-in-law Sir Michael Barnett, granddaughters Michela Ellis and Viola Barnett, and great-granddaughter Kamelia Ellis of Nassau, The Bahamas.

During the 2017 festival which marked the 50th anniversary of its start, Dr. Liverpool was recognized as one of the founders of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival. At the St. Vincent and Grenadines Association of Toronto’s Independence Anniversary Dinner in October 2017, Dr. Liverpool was posthumously recognized by the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the St. Vincent and Grenadines Association of Toronto. His two children, Ronald and Camille attended the event to accept the recognition on behalf of their father

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