Monday, 1 August 2011

Caribana 2011 (1)

The Parade banner

   As I said in an earlier post, I went to the Caribana parade at the downtown lakeshore near Ontario Place on Saturday. I arrived around noon when the temperature was about 30 degrees Celsius and the crowds were still growing. The parade had actually started at ten o’clock in the morning and would finish at six o’clock in the evening. This was the culminating event in a festival that had been going for three weeks but I was spending my time going to such festivals as the Mexican and Iranian about which I have already blogged. Caribana is the big mother of toronto festivals and the largest West Indian festival in North America with a cast of thousands and almost a million people watching including 175,000 from the states. From the festival’s website:
Among the highlights is the Parade, one of the largest in North America. Thousands of brilliantly costumed masqueraders and dozens of trucks carrying live soca, calypso, steel pan, reggae and salsa artists jam the 1.5 km parade route all day, to the delight of hundreds of thousands of onlookers.
Caribana was created in 1967 as a community heritage project for Canada's Centennial year. Based on Trinidad Carnival, the Festival now also includes the music, dance, food and costumes of many Caribbean islands, and other cultures represented in Toronto - the world's most culturally diverse city.


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 Some of the other events in the last three weeks from the website were:

Junior Carnival — July 16 — 10 am - 2pm: The kid’s version of the Marquee parade attracting over 30,000 spectators. The parade features 2,000 mini masqueraders, some as young as two years old. 

Gala — July 22: An elegant evening at the Liberty Grand that showcases masquerade models, music, dancing, exotic food, signature drink. This is the festival’s showcased event, which attracts well-heeled clientele supporting worthy causes.  

Calypso Monarch — July 23: After weeks of performances, calypsonians that have made the final cut will compete in the evening competition for the crown.

King and Queen Competition and Show — July 28: A display of the talent and artistic skill of the designers and costume builders of the King, Queen, male and female individual costumes. These masqueraders compete in costumes that weigh two to three times their body weight.

Pan Alive — July 29: Steel pan performers ranging in age from early teens to adults perform their original renditions at the Allan Lamport Stadium.
Arriving at the parade grounds

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