Jamaica-born centenarian shares secret for long life


At the age of 100,  Jamaica-born Ida Williams still loves the “natural foods”  she used to eat ” back home” – “breadfruit and salt fish with a little bit of green banana.”

Ida Williams with her family

“And don’t forget my bush tea,” she laughed.

The centenarian told the Caribbean Camera that she believes that the “natural foods” and the bush tea have helped to keep her alive.

“So that’s my secret for long life and I am happy to share that secret,” she added.

In a telephone interview shortly after she celebrated her

Ida Williams

100th birthday, the jovial centenarian also had some advice for young people in the Caribbean community.

“Love one another and be pleasant with one another,” she said.

“Always have a pleasant greeting for people you meet.”

At her recent birthday celebration held at the Holiday Inn on Dufferin Street in Toronto, Williams was surrounded by family members and friends, some from England, the United States and Jamaica.

Williams is the mother of four daughters (one deceased), nine grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren and four great-great-great-grandchildren.  

Pastor Anthony Chung from Jamaica led the celebrants in a “special prayer” for Williams while Lloyd Wilks, Jamaica’s  Counsel General  in Toronto, gave a tribute in honour of “the lady of the hour.”

Proclamations were sent from Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Toronto Mayor John Tory.

Williams was born and grew up in Salt Spring, St. James in Jamaica.

In 1979 she came to Canada where she resides with family members.

For many years she worked as a caregiver for children.

She regularly attends the Ossington Baptist church in Toronto.