What makes Haitian culture special? That's what Sly Toussaint asked herself as she thought about the programs for the Centre Toussaint, a place where you can learn a lot about Haitian culture. This learning and cultural center is now offering its services in St. Michael and welcomed the curious for its first open house on August 5th.
It all started a year ago when Sly Toussaint, who lived in Haiti for seven years and in Montreal-North for 14 years, gave her first Creole classes in the basement of her Ahuntsic home. "A lot of people speak Creole, but they don't have the habit of getting books in Creole and learning to write it, because we're in Quebec," she says.
Given the success of her classes, the 27-year-old Montrealer wanted to diversify her services. Today, the Centre Toussaint's program includes six different courses, most of which are given at the Loisirs communautaires de Saint-Michel.
For Montreal North and Saint-Michel
One of Ms. Toussaint's primary goals with the Centre was to create a structured way to learn about Haitian history and culture. When you go to school here, you learn the history of Quebec and Canada, but then it takes a lot of personal discovery and YouTube to learn the history of Haiti," says the founder. We don't know where it starts and where it ends."
The founder also emphasizes the importance of having these services close to Montreal-North and Saint-Michel, where there is a greater concentration of the Montreal community of Haitian origin. "It makes more sense to me to allow people to experience the culture in a place where there are many Haitians.
In particular, Toussaint maintains that all the teachers she hires to teach these courses are "the best in the business."
It's interesting, it's an opportunity to get together, learn and practice Haitian culture," says Dory Marie-Joseph, a 23-year-old native of Guadeloupe.
Rodriguez Damis, urban dance teacher in heels
"I already do Haitian folk dance, but I want to learn percussion because it's like the other side of the coin," says Nephar Daphnis. She and her children tried percussion at the open house.
"Deepening Haitian culture as the Centre Toussaint does, I find it really interesting," says Rodriguez Damis, urban dance teacher in heels at the Centre Toussaint.
Happy to have finally found a suitable place to teach, Ms. Toussaint wants to stay in her current location "as long as possible.