This is Our History
The CLHA was officially incorporated in 2014, however, her founder, Isabel Cuellar had been actively working since 2008 in the promotion and development of festivals, community Christmas celebrations, fundraisers to support various needs within the community, collaborating with a number of community based organizations in the development of their own programs, working closely with consular offices and facilitating community engagements at various levels.
Latin Americans are happy, shy and intelligent by nature but tend to remain in the sidelines and avoid involvement. The CLHA has effectively leaded a group of dedicated associates in the process of showcasing all of their communities' best qualities and pair them with the rest of the community. The results have been overwhelmingly positive.
With limited resources and a mountain of determination the CLHA has patiently gained the respect and support of government officials, of organizations and institutions, of commercial concerns either established or starting, of the many stakeholders that participate in the arts and of her own community and by carefully planning and executing significant activities and events she has made it possible for newcomers to feel a part of the greater family.
Isabel Cuellar, the founder and the Executive Director of the CLHA is a well-known community leader whom has spent the largest part of her life as an
immigrant building bridges of opportunity and inclusion for the people in the Latin American community, whom, like her, encountered the need to integrate and participate fully as citizens in a new and foreign environment where language, education, political knowledge and lack of Canadian skills were barriers in their road to success. She has tirelessly promoted participation by inviting her community to showcase its cultural, business, professional and dynamic values for all to see and enjoy.
The Canadian Latin Heritage Association has played a very important role by providing an outlet for the Latin American community to preserve their traditions and enjoy the historical legacy of their own heritage.
For many years, many artists and a very large number of volunteers, entrepreneurs and officials have participated actively in the promotion and delivery of the Latin American Festival in the city of Mississauga. It is considered to be the largest of its kind in Ontario and attracts people from many other ethnic cultures from within Peel and from the GTA and other cities.
With every rendition, with every cultural discipline displayed and every program successfully delivered the celebration of the Latin American heritage becomes engrained into the cultural fabric of the city for generations of new and existing Canadians, and the contributions to the city’s cultural heritage grows and strengthens.
CLHA - Engage with the Community
The patient and effective work performed by The CLHA is well known at many levels within this community and other sister communities and organizations.
The Latin American community in Mississauga has gained in reputation and relevance, it is more involved, more participatory and their pride in its achievements is a source of much satisfaction to the organization. But more importantly, all of these achievements are creating an important base from which future generations can build and preserve not only their own heritage history but contribute greatly to the strong heritage already in existence in Mississauga. The community then has a place within the larger context and is creating spaces for growth that future generations will be able to rely on as part of their involvement with the city. The seeds of the work so far performed by the CLHA and its Executive Director are an important part of that growth.
The CLHA is promoting Latin American values and presented many of the city’s artistic disciplines and their performers, put together many non- profit organizations that endeavour daily to better the lives of the community, gave
opportunities to a large group of new entrepreneurs and well established businesses, allowed members of the public service and officials from various levels of government to be front and centre at the festival. In addition, the CLHA made connections with important organizations from within and outside of the city and provided opportunities for seniors, children and youth.
The festivals and events organized and promoted by the CLHA allow 19 nations to be present, each with its own brand of culture, foods and people of diverse ethnicities. These nations have a cultural legacy that now, thanks to the CLHA, are becoming an important part of the cultural heritage that makes Mississauga such an important hub of cultures.
The CLHA facilitates the inclusion of the Latin American community into the main fabric of Mississauga and allows it to grow as a relevant partner and a willing participant that embraces other cultures and is embraced by them in return. The result will be a legacy of good and a brighter future for the generations that will follow, key ingredients in the preservation and growth of the city's already vastly rich heritage.