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Born in Dichemso, Kumasi, Ghana |

While being raised by her grandparents in Ghana, Bernice always believed they were actually her biological parents. Her ‘real’ parents had left to pursue a better life, and after they had settled in Canada they sent for their nine year old daughter to come live with them in Toronto. Now living here, she says she can’t see herself living anywhere else emphasizing the “beauty of diversity” which she experiences daily living in the Jane and Finch area. Bernice feels intricately connected to the city because her daughter was born here and she knows that she will grow up with many opportunities, good health care and education. Currently Bernice is working as a child and youth worker, a profession she is interested in as a result of her own struggles growing up. She enjoys listening to others, and making a difference in their lives.

Toronto as Home

Bernice is standing in front of 180 Chalk Farm, the first place she lived after arriving here in 1993. She reminisces of how this is where she saw her first snowfall and where she went through the process of learning English. This apartment building is also where she ‘officially’ met her actual parents and her baby brother Jeffery.

Connection with the Past

Bernice emphasizes how both of her grandparents made her who she is today.

“I never grew up feeling or knowing that they were not my parents.” 

They taught her about her culture, how to be strong and respectful, and how working together can be a beautiful thing. The two of them definitely set a good example for Bernice. Her grandfather, Mr. Jacob Boateng, is someone she particularly admires; a man who always stood up for what was right and who believed strongly in the importance of education. When she was a child he always supported her – telling her to never let anything stop her from achieving her ambitions. It is for these reasons that she wanted to hold a portrait of him.  Bernice finishes by explaining how she aspires to be like her grandparents.

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