The Council for Black Aging Community of Montreal 18th Annual Conference, titled Health & Wellness: Beating The Odds held on Saturday October 26, 2019, at Le Nouvel Hotel & Spa was well attended and an overwhelming success.

CBAC Executive Director Katrina Nurse, CBAC Administrative Assistant Junora Etienne

The Council’s target was 110 attendees. The final tally was 129 persons; 16 males and 113 females. The speakers were knowledgeable and engaging, the audience receptive and question periods lively. People couldn’t stop talking about how great and nutritious the food was.

The feedback was positive and amazing. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the conference, saying it was informative, interactive, and captivating. Quite a few persons signed up and/or paid money on the spot to be members of CBAC. Many persons said they were looking forward to the 2020 Conference.

To facilitate attendees residing in LaSalle, CBAC provided a shuttle bus to bring them to and from Le Nouvel Hotel & Spa. 31 persons took the bus.

For easy of access upon arrival, everyone taking the bus was preregistered. CBAC President N Oji Mzilikazi carried out the preregistration.

Gift Bag

All attendees and speakers received a gift bag. In keeping with the theme of the Conference, each bag contained a step counter, a small calendar notebook, the Conference program and an evaluation form.

Since exercise is integral to good health, the step counter is to monitor movements/walking or running. The calendar notebook is to document the steps daily.

Speakers received a different color gift bag with the aforementioned items and a pen.


Volunteers are integral to the success of any event. Sharon Pilgrim, Desiree Robinson & Johanne Lanciaux, took care of the registration and giving out the gift bags. Antonia Harewood and Meagan McLoughin handled the coat check. McLoughin also assisted in other ways.

Johanne Lanciaux

Antonia Harewood & Meagan McLoughin

Antonia Harewood & Meagan McLoughin

Desiree Robinson & Sharon Pilgrim


It’s been years since CBAC had vendors at a conference. Vendors were targeted for this year conference. Five (5) answered the call: Health Support Products, Dignity Memorial, Seniors Discovery Tours, Industriel Alliance and Urgel Bourgie. Vendors came with loads of free samples.

Dignity Memorial gave away a burial package and a contribution of 450$ to go towards the package when a CBAC member signs up with them.

Lyette Lapointe & Vincent Occhionero (Dignity Memorial)

Cynthia Saravalli, Anne Metellus & Theresa Manuela Moise (Industriel Alliance)

Elina Loye & Ruby Simard (Senior Discovery Tours)

Pauline Martin & Ralph McFarlane (Health Support Products). Both are members of CBAC.

Jean Louis Lefebvre (Urgel Bourgie)


Morning Session Host: Egbert Gaye (Montreal Community Contact)

Afternoon Session Host: N Oji Mzilikazi (President CBAC).

Keynote Speaker Dr. Myrna Lashley

Jennifer Boivin (Elizz Montreal)

This year’s conference was on Health and Wellness, there was 3 speakers as well as a Staying active Panel including 2 Speakers.

The first speaker, Jennifer Boivin spoke at length about caregiving and caregivers; what it means to be a caregiver, what they may or are likely to face in their caregiving journey and on the need for caregivers to engage in self-care. Her topic was so informative and captivating, it is available on CBAC’s YouTube Channel, along with the questions and comments from the audience.

N Oji Mzilikazi, Louis Joseph Benoit & Denis Plante (Hepatitis C), Katrina Nurse

Louis Joseph Benoit from Centre Associatif Polyvalente Hépatite C (CAPAHC) followed. Benoit did an interactive workshop on Hepatitis C that was truly engaging and well-received. CAPAHC will be doing a hepatitis C screening at CBAC in the new year.

Sexologist Kanica Saphan

To introduce sexologist Kanica Saphan, N Oji Mzilikazi, the host of the afternoon session, read the poem Tabanca from his recently published book, Shards Of Glass (Poetry For The Adventurous). Tabanca is a colloquial term of Trinidad & Tobago to describe the extreme downward spiral of a person after a break-up/being dumped/or upon discovery of infidelity.   

Saphan topic was Sexuality and Seniors. It covered what is sexology, the importance of sexuality, redefinition of sexuality, myths, prejudices and attitudes related to aging and sexuality, dating at an older age, new relationships, life transitions impact on intimacy and the importance of relationships (whether it be intimate, social or family) for health.

Mrs. Saphan was a real hit with attendees. They enjoyed her talk so much, members asked that she be brought to the Council to do either a sex workshop or another information session. Ms. Saphan has been booked for CBAC’s February 13, 2020 Valentine’s Day Information session.

N Oji Mzilikazi, Raquel Huggins, Katrina Nurse & Dr. Darla Fortune

CBAC Soca Fitt & Weight Training instructor, Raquel Huggins described the different fitness exercise and touched on healthy eating habits for healthy living.

Professor Darla Fortune from Concordia rounded off the Conference. She spoke on how social connections enhance health and how social well-being, integration, acceptance and contribution are vital in the lives of older adults. She emphasized that seniors need a sense of belonging and explained how leisure is s a vehicle for belonging.  Her quote, “True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are,” resonated with many.

CBAC’s Merley Cumberbatch was entrusted with the wrap-up. She did a fantastic job.