1000,000+. That’s the number of people who line the streets for Toronto’s Caribana Parade, North America’s largest street festival, bar none! It feeds the local economy bringing in $400,000 to the city. In this its 44th year, the parade is seeing some changes to the route and the entire experience with the addition new features such as ticketed seating areas. The Festival has expanded from a 3 day event, to a month long series of celebrations; Fetes and Masquerade competitions to band performances.
It was created in 1967 as a community heritage project for Canada’s Centennial year by the Caribana Arts Group (CAG) who modeled it after Trinidad & Tobago’s Carnival. Scotiabank, a Canadian financial institution, is the major sponsor of the Festival and has has changed the name from Caribana the new name, The Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto was not well received. This decision was handed down from Canada’s Supreme Court, an ongoing battle since the CAG lost control of the event in 2006 after the city and province cut funding because organizers could not produce adequate financial statements. This is a point of major contention to the many that believe the name change is taking away from the heritage of the event by commercializing it.
The Festival’s climactic main event is the parade itself; where elaborate hand crafted costumes and masquerades “jump up” on the parade route alongside big rig trucks pulling live steel pan bands, and flat bed stages where DJ’s and Soca artists hype the crowds and masquerader’s alike.
An experience every BM should see first hand for themselves.
If you’ve never been to the parade here is a sneak peek of what you’re missing:
For more information please visit: torontocaribbeancarnival
WhatBlackMenWant will be at this event… Follow us on Twitter: whatbmwant