A statue commemorating Lebanese immigrants was unveiled in Halifax, Canada. It portrays a Lebanese traveler wearing traditional clothes.
The plaque of the statue read as follows: "This monument is a universal symbol of a proud, strong, and globally united Lebanese community. The statue honors the early Lebanese settlers who, 130 years ago, established a presence in this country, sewing the bonds of loyalty, faith, and perseverance. We are thankful to our Nova Scotia community and for the enduring friendships built in our new home, Canada."
A cedar tree was also planted at a cemetery in honor of the Lebanese that died in the sinking of the Titanic. There are three Lebanese buried at this cemetery.
The ceremony was held on Saturday. Members of the Lebanese community attended the event to honor their ancestors. Head of the Maronite Church Cardinal Bechara Boutros Al-Rai was among the guests.
“They left their villages, families and way of life, and ventured into the unknown. They are the true heroes," said Wadih Fares, a prominent Lebanese businessman in Halifax. "They overcame obstacles, culture and language barriers, and against all odds they made a life here and paved the way for many generations," he added.
Fares later explained that similar statues could be found in cities that house large Lebanese communities.
The first statue of this kind was unveiled in Mexico City in 1979. The late Lebanese-Mexican artist Ramis Barquet created a statue that symbolizes Lebanese immigration and the struggle of Lebanese people away from their homeland.
Canada welcomed Lebanese immigrants more than a century ago. The country provided them with safety, opportunities, and freedom.
Halifax, which is the capital of Nova Scotia, was one of the main points of entries for the early Lebanese who left Lebanon for Canada. Most of whom took their first steps in Canada coming off the boat on Pier 21.
There are records of Lebanese arriving as early as the late 1800's. A good portion of whom arrived from the Diman village and Akar region of Northern Lebanon.
Lebanese make up 3.75% of the Halifax population. This is bigger than the national average where Lebanese make up 2% of the Canadian population.