Gemma is a Grenadian-Canadian Gem!

Gemma was born in Grenada and moved to Montreal with her family in 1964. Gemma Raeburn-Baynes is a Senior Auditor with the Bank of Montreal (BMO), where she has worked since 1973.

She has also been active in business, community development and charitable initiatives. At BMO she has held a number of managerial positions and made significant contributions to the Bank’s development in the areas of equity and diversity and initiated several programs promoting education and employment skills for Black and visible minority youth, people with disabilities and aboriginal youth.

Gemma is an avid fundraiser for numerous charitable organizations. With over 40 years of work and volunteer experience in the community she has set up several non-profit organizations and projects aimed at bringing to light the rich culture of the Caribbean.  Gemma is the President and Founder of Playmas Montreal Cultural Association and A Taste of the Caribbean Festival, the largest Caribbean Food Festival in Quebec.

Some of her many initiatives include: Triumph Through Adversity, a culinary scholarship program for disenfranchised and unemployed youth, The Montreal Ebony Models, the first Black Modeling agency in Quebec, the Miss Black Quebec Pageant, and Montreal’s Caribbean Carnival. She was a founding Board Member of Dalhousie University’s James Robinson Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies.  Gemma also sits on several boards, including the Black Community Editorial Board of the CBC.

Among her many awards, she was made a “Woman of Distinction” by the YWCA in 1997 for community service and awarded the Montreal Business and Professional Women’s Club “Woman of Achievement” award in 1998. For promoting her beloved community and human dignity, Gemma received the Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Award in 2008 and the Jackie Robinson Montreal Association of Black Business Persons Award.  She recently received the Community Service Arts and Culture Award from the Consul General of Grenada to Canada and was featured in the 2011 Black History Month Calendar.

 In commemoration of the sixtieth anniversary of Her Majesty’s Accession to the Throne, His Excellency Pierre Duchesne, Quebec’s Lieutenant Governor, had the great honour of presenting the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal to Mrs. Gemma Raeburn-Baynes, for her great community work and contribution to Canada.

The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal is a new commemorative medal created to mark the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada. It is a tangible way to honour Her Majesty for her service to Canada. At the same time, it serves to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.  Gemma was amongst 100 Montrealers who received the award on November 11, 2012.

“This is a huge opportunity to celebrate being a Canadian and to leave a legacy for my son and his future children to be proud of,” says Raeburn-Baynes.  She further stated, “It is also so nice to be recognized, especially on Remembrance Day for work that I so much enjoy doing voluntarily to make a difference in my community. I am more than happy to share this Medal with all my hard working committee members and all of the other fabulous leaders in my community who do such extra-ordinary things.”

Suggested Reading
Caribbean Rum Splash to Benefit the Triumph Through Adversity Culinary Scholarship Fund

Grenada at 39

Where is the Island of Grenada?
Grenada Coat of Arms
Tallest Waterfall in Grenada
Grenadian Song and Dance
Grenada’s National Dish – Oildown
Grenada Golden Boy – Kirani James
Mighty Sparrow
Spice Mas Carnival
Grenadian Singing Sensation – Sonika McKie
Grenada a must see – National Geographic




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