When Jamaica defeated Japan 2-1 for its first ever World Cup soccer win at the 1998 finals in France, Letna Allen-Rowe – dressed in her green, black and gold Jamaican colours – led a jubilant group of flag waving nationals and supporters in excited celebrations on Eglinton Ave. W.
An integral part of that business area/neighbourhood where her husband manages Rapid Remittance Money Transfer, Allen-Rowe was recognized last Saturday for her extensive community service with the Leading Women Building Communities Award.
MPP Mike Colle, who was also at the Eglinton Ave. W. celebration to mark Jamaica’s historic soccer victory, presented the award on behalf of Minister of Education and Women’s Issues, Laurel Broten, at his annual “fling spring” fundraiser.
The awards are presented annually during International Women’s Week in the province.
“I was caught completely off guard,” said Allen-Rowe, the product and business development manager at Rapid Remittance. “I went there to support Mike and have a good time and the next thing I know I am called up to receive this wonderful award.
The 1977 Clarendon College graduate taught from kindergarten to the tertiary levels before migrating to Canada in 1993. She spent her last nine years in Jamaica with the Stony Hill Heart Academy, a vocational and technical institution.
Allen-Rowe has been actively involved with her alumni association and with the Alliance of Jamaican Alumni Associations of which she was a vice-president. She has also done a lot of community work with Toronto Police 13 Division and with the York-Eglinton Business Improvement Association.
When she’s not working in the community, she’s on stage making people laugh. Trained at the Jamaica School of Drama and the National Institute of Broadcasting in Canada, Allen-Rowe appeared in several Little Theatre Movement pantomimes in Jamaica. Her credits include Against His Will, You Me An Mi Taxi, Mr. Garvey, Black in Time, Full House and Oliver and Cinderella.
She has toured internationally with Oliver Samuels, considered Jamaica’s King of Comedy, and appeared locally in several Marcia Brown Production plays, including Rosetta, where she played the role of a fiery Miss Mini.
Following the death of Louise Bennett-Coverley in the Greater Toronto Area in July 2006, Allen-Rowe has stepped into the role, inspiring audiences with her Miss Lou imitations.
By RON FANFAIR