Born in Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas |
Desirée was born to a Canadian mother and a Bahamian father. She remembers her first ten years in the Bahamas as wonderful. When her mother became pregnant with her little brother after previously losing one child at birth, she decided she wanted to return to Canada to have him here due to the better available health care. Shortly after her brother’s birth, the family moved back to the Bahamas. After returning to the islands, her parents business was struggling, so they returned to Canada to stay. They first lived in St. Catharines where Desirée attended elementary school, and high school. Desirée explains how growing up in the Bahamas she was never aware of other races, or of kids being ‘different’. After moving to St. Catharines, she felt isolated to a certain extent; because people thought she was different. She remembers how she actually had parents tell their children they couldn’t play with her because of her background, and would insult her mother because she had married a black man and had mixed children. Upon graduating from the University of Waterloo, Desirée moved to Toronto to take another program in school, and fell in love with the city and has been here ever since. In Toronto, she doesn’t feel judged or strange, she just feels like herself.
Toronto as Home
The AGO is probably Desirée’s favourite spot in the city. She explains how her first apartment in Toronto was just down the street from the AGO, so she walked by this sculpture by Henry Moore all the time. Inside the gallery, she finds it peaceful, and cherishes its great atmosphere. Since moving to Toronto she has always purchased a yearly membership.
Connection with the Past
Desirée is holding a picture of the first house that her parents had in the Bahamas; the house where she was born. It is located in Grand Bahama in a little place called Bootle Bay. She says this picture represents a happy time in her life, and it reminds her who she is, and where she comes from. She remembers it as a simple, tranquil house by the water, surrounded by natural beauty. Desirée thinks many people these days forget to appreciate natural beauty.