One of the most devoted civil rights leaders in Toronto has died. Charles Roach, 78, passed away from brain cancer in Toronto yesterday.
Charles Roach was the founder of the Caribana festival and continued to be a driving force for the yearly event. Despite being ill he took part in the event this year, resting more than usual while promoting the festivities. Born in Trinidad and Tobago the event reflected his homeland's culture. It is now one of Toronto's largest cultural events.
Roach came to Canada in 1955 to study. He had planned on becoming a priest but changed his career path to law.
Roach encouraged non-whites to enter into Toronto politics. He founded the Movement of Minority Electors in 1978 and was a founder of the Black Action Defence Committee.
He fought for newcomers to Canada including arguing that the allegiance to the sovereign was unconstitutional as it was a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Charles Roach is survived by his wife June.