Goans are gregarious by nature, and after coming to terms with the basic necessities of life – food, shelter and clothing— they gravitate towards an amalgam of all amorphous bodies to establish a club for social and sporting pursuits, for the greater good of all. In this milieu, a group of six emerge as the ones who spearheaded the formation of what became the Goan Overseas Association (Toronto), in 1970. Before long, membership started escalating rapidly and the club gained momentum in the realm of sports and socials. It was a force to reckon with when it came to field hockey, cricket and soccer. Tennis and badminton had a fair list of adherents. When the Uganda Goan refugees swelled our ranks in 1972, they came with enviable credentials and gave our teams a welcome fillip. The club garnered trophies in many an open tournament. Egged on by its success, it floated the Norbert Menezes Memorial Gold Cup field hockey tournament for a number of years. This tournament became pre-eminent on the continent and attracted teams from as far away as India, England, the Caribbean and the States. And, the ladies were not forgotten. They competed for the Savio & Joyce Barros trophy. Many members also donated floating trophies for other tournaments at parochial level.
Dances were always a sell-out to the extent the Lions’ Club in Etobicoke could cope with a capacity crowd. The dinners were beyond compare and the music was the best our means would allow. Needless to say, the camaraderie was exceptional. As would be expected, members formed the Goan Theatrical Group and kept lagging cultural traits and language skills alive with regular offerings of Konkani plays (“tiatr”) and lively songs. Annual Track & Field meets brought sister-clubs together in healthy competition. The hugely successful International Goan Convention in 1988 (under the aegis of the club) put the club firmly on the map. It remains unmatched to date. And, not forgotten were the disadvantaged people in our community. The Goan Charitable Organization – a registered charity—came to their aid. In the early heady days the vibrancy of the club was palpable. It was the largest Goan club on the continent, and the most active. Credit for managing the club and catering admirably to members’ needs, goes to the hardworking men and women who over the years have given selflessly of their time and energy in fostering the aims of the club.