HISTORY OF SOCIETY



The
Canadian Lebanon Society of Halifax is one of the oldest organizations in North America founded in November of 1938, and the success of our Halifax Lebanese community can not be celebrated without references to efforts of the Canadian Lebanon Society over the years, as it stood ready to respond to the needs of the community, weather socially, regionally, linguistically or culturally.

This continues well into the 1990's when the Society found itself in competition with other and newer Lebanese organizations and institutions, which the Society whole-heartedly supported. Now we have a large Lebanese community, with varying interests and goals, and the Society has willingly allowed other groups to share the load that dreams once carried on its own. The Society has stood closely by with great delight watching the dreams long sought after, come true for our people. Ironically, the Society's activities of the past have gone unnoticed by many of the younger generations who may not realize the strength and success of today's Lebanese community in Halifax stems from a very strong rooted foundation that was laid in Halifax more than 78 years ago, by members who are no longer with us.

The
Canadian Lebanon Society was the "sower" of today's crops, the midwife at the birth of other Lebanese organizations, and like a cheater, provided and opportunity for networking and exposure to allow members of our community to become influential and instrumental figures in the wheel, to community and our City. It is reasonable now to expect of these leaders to get on deck behind the wheel, to navigate our treasured ship with its precious cargo, such as our Lebanese School and Blood Drive campaign, and sail on to a new horizon with renewed vision, to address the emerging needs of our growing Lebanese community in years to come.

The website highlights some of the Society's accomplishments and history over the past 78 years. The information is largely as recorded in the Society's minute books, and as elaborated upon by various members who were part of the stories. We acknowledge the many contributions of our volunteers, current and past members and their families for providing us with photographs and newspaper clippings and information.



MILESTONES


T
he first modern-day Lebanese settlers arrived to Halifax in the late 1800’s
Founding member and first President of the Canadian Lebanon Society of Halifax is Lieutenant Edward Arab.
First meeting was held on November 13, 1938.
A lot of times was spent in the 1940s building the Society to help insure it had a strong foundation.
The Society’s true identity began to show in the1950s
In the 1950s, was the first-time election of George Arab as President
In 1953 when an Act to incorporate the Canadian Lebanon Society of Halifax was passed in the Nova Scotia Legislature
In 1959, the Society hosted its first dinner to honour Dr. Charles Malik, the Lebanese Foreign Minister
The 1960s, the society had their first community centre, known as the Canadian Lebanon Social Club, which opened in 1966 on Quinpool Road.
Regardless of the turmoil in Lebanon through the 1970s, it united our community and the Society achieved many milestones in that year.
We joined the World Lebanese Cultural Union in 1974, and sent delegates to an international convention for the Union in Chile in 1978.
The year 1974 was also the year of the weekly radio program Journey Into Lebanon first hit the airwaves and lasted about 10 years.
In 1977 the society welcomed and hosted an event for future Lebanese President-elect Bashir Gemayel.
After 15 years of lobbying and with the support of Archbishop Hayes, in 1979 the society was successful in requesting to have a Maronite Priest assigned to minister the Maronites in Halifax. This was confirmed with the arrival of Monsignor Kheirallah Aoukar, who founded Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church.



In 1979 it was the opening of the society own Lebanese Language School. Many in our community have attended this school.
In 1984 the Society hosted a 3 day Convention for all Maritimes Provinces: “Ramifications of the Lebanese Crisis on Lebanese and Canadians”, first of its kind in Atlantic Canada, featuring lectures, Lebanese cultural festivities, food, dance and plays.
The 1990s the Society began with the acquisition of our second community centre on Agricola Street. “The Club” as it was known, hosted hundreds of functions, gatherings and meeting along with thousands of infamous card games, through to its sale in 1995.
The decade began the annual tradition of the Society New Year’s Eve Ball. From its beginnings as a small gathering, to its heydays of over 400 people, this event gave our community the opportunity to ring in the New Year surrounded with family and friends.
The 1990s saw a resurgence of activity in our society. a youth movement was underway.
1996 was highlighted by the appointment of a community leader, Wadih Fares as Honorary Consul of Lebanon. Consul Fares began hosting an Annual Independence Day Cocktail Reception at the Society.
In 2001, the Society began hosting the annual Day of the Lebanese Emigrant, where we celebrate our accomplishments as Lebanese outside Lebanon.
In the 2000s with the determination of Maroun Hage was the beginning of an Annual Blood Drive.
Consul Fares honoured the Society by recognizing the Presidents of our Society in 2002.
On October 2003 we saw the opening of our 3rd Community Centre, located on Bedford Highway. President Youssef Faddoul led the negotiations and renovations at that time which resulted in the purchase of the property in 2005
Also in 2005 was the beginning of the Society Golf Tournament in support of our Community Centre, That year itself, and with the support of the Lebanese community and the support of the Business community, we have raised in excess of $100,000.
In 2013 the Society was undergoing a $40,000 exterior renovation led by Jamil Hag.
In the same year the Society received indirectly another great honour, the President of the Society Lena Diab was elected MLA for Halifax Armadale and was appointed Attorney General of Nova Scotia, Minister of Justice, and Minister of Immigration. “Till date we have had 35 successful Presidents that we have enjoyed.”
In 2014 the Society began tradition of hosting and celebrating New Years Eve.
Throughout its history, the Society’s has supported all institutions and organizations in Halifax and has been the rock on which our community looks to in times of need. Whether through the donation of chairs to Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church, the donation of tables to Saint Antonios Orthodox Church, or the collaboration with Diman Association Canada in the Multicultural and Lebanese Festivals of the 1990’s, we have been and continue to be at the centre of our community.


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255 Bedford Hwy
Halifax, NS
B3M 2K5
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