Egbert Gay, died suddenly at home at aged 67 in Montreal, Quebec, on June 4, 2023. He was a pioneer and founding managing editor of the Community Contact newspaper, which served Montreal’s Black and Caribbean English-speaking communities since 1992.
Born in Carriacou, Grenada, to parents Mona Corion (aka Landa Reece) and Albert Gay, Egbert immigrated to Trinidad and Tobago with his mother in as a young child and the family established roots in Tunapuna. Egbert completed his secondary education at Hillview College, Tunapuna.
Egbert was proud of all aspects of T&T culture but was especially passionate about Steel Pan music. He became involved with the local ‘pan side’ (band) in his community – the Klondykes – and subsequently joined Pan Trinbago, a national Steel Pan organization where he served at both regional and executive levels. He was President of Pan Trinbago’s, Eastern Region. He also enjoyed playing the Steel Pan and was a ‘pan man.’
In the late 1970’s, a pivotal time in the evolution of the Steel Pan movement in Trinidad and Tobago, Egbert cofounded the Pan Yard Vibrations Newsletter, which promoted the cultural importance of Steel Pan music in the country. The Newsletter had an indelible impact on shaping the nation’s perception of Steel Pan music as an important political and cultural force in the country. It also showcased Egbert’s talents as a writer and advocate. In 1980, Egbert immigrated to Montreal with the dream of pursuing a career in journalism. In 1989, he graduated from Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, with a Journalism Degree (minor in Political Science and International Relations). He completed his studies whilst working as a casual construction laborer and fulfilling his parental responsibilities.
With the launch of the Community Contact in 1992, Egbert established Montreal’s first Black and Caribbean newspaper for the city’s Anglophone communities. As with everything he did, Egbert was very deliberate in choosing the name of the newspaper – he wanted to demonstrate that it was for, and by, the communities it served. Through the newspaper, he created a collective community voice and was beloved for his fearless advocacy, philanthropism, kind and generosity nature, gregariousness and unrelenting commitment. He was embraced and respected as a leader, mentor, advisor and friend. Egbert also had a great sense of humor; he loved to laugh and tell stories, real or ‘tall tales’. These qualities made him a popular choice as a Master of Ceremonies at social and community events.
Egbert was the recipient of numerous accolades, recognitions and awards from many community groups, organizations and institutions, for his consistent dedication, commitment and contributions to community development in Montreal’s Black and Caribbean Anglophone communities and in 2022, the Community Contact newspaper was nominated as part of CBC Quebec’s Black Changemakers series.
Married to his wife Elizabeth on October 23, 1993, Egbert was a devoted husband. He is survived by Elizabeth, his son Emar, daughter-in-law Djemira and his new born grand-son, Malachi-Egbert. He is also survived by bothers Lenox, Patrick and Lyndon and sister-in-laws Sharon and Heather. Egbert was loved and admired by his large extended family residing in Trinidad and Tobago, Carriacou, Grenada, the United States of America and Canada. Family and community were everything to Egbert. He took pleasure in making those around him happy. He was a fantastic cook and baker and delighted in preparing and sharing traditional foods and baked goods from Trinidad and Tobago, much to the delight of family and friends. He also loved gardening with Elizabeth and spent his last day doing what he loved – gardening and cooking.
The funeral for Egbert Gay will be held on June 15, 2023 from 9 a.m. – 12 at Westmount Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 571 Victoria Avenue H3Y 2R7. Visitation will start at 9 a.m. for one hour and the Service at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at Urgel Bourgie, 3955 Cote de Liesse, Ville St. Laurent (Quebec) H4N 2N6. A livestream will be available here.
Contributions in lieu of flowers, memorials or donations may be made to https://mtlcommunitycontact.com.
Egbert was a pillar for the Black and Caribbean community across Quebec. Passionate and devoted to amplifying the voices of the voiceless and empowering his community. His loss leaves a void that will be felt by the entire community, especially his beloved wife, son and daughter-in-law. As well as his extended family, friends, and colleagues.
May Egbert's passion in the search and reveal for truth, and his love and relentless support for his community, be the example and inspiration needed to continue building, for generations to come.
If you want to help, you can donate to the Montreal Community Contact. Donations can be made on the Montreal Community Contact Donations page or by cicking on the PayPal button below. Help us continue to tell the stories of Quebec’s Black and Caribbean community.