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Toronto ETO hosts official Gala Dinner in celebration of 20th anniversary of HKSAR in Toronto

Posted in: Press Releases

June 5, 2017


The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Toronto) (Toronto ETO) held an official gala dinner in Toronto, Canada, in collaboration with the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) on June 5 (Toronto time) in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).  More than 200 guests attended the dinner, including the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Toronto, Mr He Wei; Member of Parliament, Mr Michael Chong; the Mayor of City of Markham, Mr Frank Scarpitti,; the Mayor of Mississauga, Ms Bonnie Crombie;  and the Executive Director of HKTB, Mr Anthony Lau. 

In delivering the welcome remarks at the dinner, the Director of the Toronto ETO, Miss Kathy Chan, said that the HKSAR 20th anniversary was a special occasion and a major milestone of Hong Kong’s development.   “Over the past 20 years, the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Hong Kong has achieved a cumulative growth of more than 80 per cent. The number of regional headquarters and offices set up by overseas and Mainland corporations in Hong Kong has increased by 50 per cent.  The amount of foreign direct investment stock has expanded by 6.5 times,” Miss Chan said.

With a strong dedication to building a fair and just society for all, the HKSAR Government had allocated substantial resources to care for the needy to ensure that they could also enjoy the fruits of economic advancement.  At the same time, the Government had also invested heavily in education to nurture talents so as to maintain the competiveness of Hong Kong. Miss Chan noted that over the past five years alone, recurrent expenditures on social welfare and education have increased by about 70 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.

The theme of the HKSAR 20th anniversary celebrations is “Together‧Progress‧ Opportunity”.  “The past 20 years have not always been a smooth sail for Hong Kong. We have faced many challenges, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and the global financial crisis in 2008.  We could not have overcome the uphill battles without Hong Kong people staying together,” Miss Chan said.

“More importantly, we would not have been able to prevail at difficult times without the staunch support of the Central Government,” Miss Chan added.  She cited the measures rolled out at those crucial moments by the Central Government including the signing of the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement in 2003 and the usage of Hong Kong as the launch pad of Mainland China’s financial market liberalisation measures since 2008 under the “one country, two systems” arrangement. 

Despite the remarkable economic and social achievements in the past 20 years, Miss Chan said to sustain progress, it was important for Hong Kong to press ahead with big projects, such as infrastructure, education and healthcare development.

On infrastructure, Miss Chan said that the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge was targeted for completion by end of this year to provide a direct land link between Hong Kong and the west coast of the Pearl River Delta.  Hong Kong also aimed to commission service of the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link in the third quarter of next year.  At the same time, Hong Kong had embarked on construction works of the third runway of the Hong Kong International Airport in order to strengthen its position as a regional aviation hub.

In terms of improving the well-being of the community, the HKSAR Government had earmarked a sum of HKD200 billion for a 10-year hospital development plan.  The Government would also devote extra resources to better education for the next generation and vigorously attract talents from all over the world, including Canada, to come to develop careers in Hong Kong.

Miss Chan remarked that in future, Hong Kong would continue to seize every opportunity to grow with its sound fundamentals, such as the rule of law, clean and efficient government, low taxes, business-friendly practices with a level playing field, world-class infrastructure, etc.   She was confident that Hong Kong would be able to make another 20 years of remarkable progress and continue to shine on the international stage as Asia’s world city.

To showcase the long-standing friendship and close interactions between Canada and Hong Kong, Toronto ETO collaborated with HKTB to engage renowned Hong Kong culinary master, the Executive Chef of VEA Restaurant & Lounge in Hong Kong,  Mr  Vicky Cheng, and the Executive Chef of Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Mr Robert Mills  to jointly present an exquisite dinner menu that incorporated and blended the essence of Hong Kong and Canadian cuisines.

Before the Gala came to a close, the guests were treated with an exclusive cultural performance staged by Hong Kong and Canadian performers.  Young talented artists of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts put on an unforgettable Cantonese opera performance of the famous excerpt “Eight Divinities Crossing the Sea” together with the starlets of Starlight Chinese Opera Performing Arts Centre in Toronto.  Cantonese opera performance was picked because it is a comprehensive and sophisticated art form which was inscribed in United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009.  Hong Kong has been an important place for the succession and development of Cantonese opera, and is keen on promoting it and sharing it with wider communities including friends in Canada. 

 

The Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Toronto), Miss Kathy Chan, delivers the welcome remarks at the official gala dinner in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in Toronto on June 5 (Toronto time).

(From left) The Director of Canada, Central and South America of the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), Mr Michael Lim; Member of Parliament, Mr Michael Chong; the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Toronto, Mr He Wei; the Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Toronto), Miss Kathy Chan; the Executive Director of HKTB, Mr Anthony Lau; the Consul General of Canada in Hong Kong and Macao, Mr Jeff Nankivell; and the Mayor of Mississauga, Ms Bonnie Crombie, propose a toast at the gala dinner in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in Toronto on June 5 (Toronto time).

Hong Kong culinary master, the Executive Chef of VEA Restaurant & Lounge in Hong Kong, Mr Vicky Cheng, and the Executive Chef of Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Mr Robert Mills, jointly present an exquisite dinner menu that incorporated and blended the essence of Hong Kong and Canadian cuisines on June 5 (Toronto time). Photo shows (from left) and the Director of Canada, Central and South America of Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), Mr Michael Lim; the Executive Director of HKTB, Mr Anthony Lau; Mr Cheng; Mr Mills; the Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Toronto), Miss Kathy Chan and the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Toronto, Mr He Wei.

The Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Toronto), Miss Kathy Chan (left); in a photo with the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Toronto, Mr He Wei (second left);  President of Starlight Chinese Opera Performing Arts Centre in Toronto, Ms Marianne Lui  (middle); Dean of School of Chinese Opera, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Professor Li Siu-leung (second right) ; Ms Alice Chan, Director of Starlight Chinese Opera Performing Arts Centre in Toronto (right); and cast members of the Cantonese opera performance "Eight Divinities Crossing the Sea".

Chinese version on next page.

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