Charitable Choices: Sly Toussaint of Centre Toussaint

Centre Toussaint is a non-profit organization based in Montréal that aims to bring each individual closer to the Haitian identity and to promote personal growth by offering various classes and activities in person and online. We spoke with founder and director Sly Toussaint to learn more about how Centre Toussaint aims to showcase their Pan-African vision also in the Montréal region.

Centre Toussaint

Describe your charity/non-profit/volunteer work in a few sentences.

The goal of the non-profit is to connect people with Haitian culture but to also place it within an Afro-descendant context, Afro-diasporic context, so we have a Pan-African vision.

What problem does it aim to solve?

We want to solve the lack of connection to the deep identity issue. And all that is negative that comes with it. We want to connect people and help people connect with Haitian culture, whether it’s because they simply live away from Haiti, whether it’s because they’re in a mixed couple, they’ve been adopted, or they just want to learn more about a fascinating culture. They can do so with us. So, we have Haitian Creole classes, Haitian history, dance, music, and cuisine classes.

When did you start/join it?

It started in 2019.

What made you want to get involved?

It’s because it was my expertise and what people knew me for in my circle.

What was the situation like when you started?

I was born here in Montréal. I grew up here, and then I moved to Haiti for seven years, and then when I came back, people had so many questions for me. So, I decided to start monetizing what I know. I started with Haitian Creole language classes- and then over time, I started hiring teachers and expanding the vision. I started in the basement of my home. It was a few friends, and it was for free, but I was always sharing pictures of what I do, and people started to want more and more classes, and we started being more and more known for what we do. And yeah, it has tremendously grown.

How has it changed since?

The team is bigger, about 12 people. We started as an incorporation, and we recently became a non-profit, so it’s a lot of new things to learn. We’re well-known in the city, and we have a physical place now. 2865 rue Fleury Est coin Saint-Michel.

What more needs to be done?

We need to learn more about the non-profit world and how fundraising works because we haven’t had any since we started.

How can our readers help?

And readers can talk about us, like, share, comment, subscribe, do whatever we do, participate in the activities, send their kids, people they know who can benefit from the activity. We have online classes, in-person, courses, and one-time classes.

Centre Toussaint

Do you have any events coming up?

We have many events coming up. Here’s the link. There’s always a new class going on, and our calendars are always ready for an entire semester in advance. So in December, you can register for the winter semester. In April, you can register for the summer semester. In August, you can register for the fall semester.

Where can we follow you?


PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local community organization you love?

I want to pay it forward and nominate Hoodstock as my favourite local community organization.