No time to talk. Carnival -- Caribana -- is here for the 45th time

 
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But a Toronto Summer is always Hot, Hot, Hot.
Jump Up. Jump Up. In the land of  snow
 (feature article for WinTV's inflight magazine - Trinidad) 
Playing Mas in downtown Toronto - photograph by Andrew Weir
In Canada, carnival is done differently. In Trinidad, you might even call it backwards. But hey, if you can get a million people to jump up, you gotta be doing something right.
At Carnival in Trinidad, everyone plays Mas in the street.  The players out-number the people watching by a long shot.  In Toronto?  There are million people cheering on the 16,000 people playing Mas along the city’s waterfront!
The Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival is getting ready to hit the streets of Toronto, this August 4th.  This is the 45th year for the festival formally known as Caribana, and not only is going to be bigger, it is going to be better.
The Toronto festival runs for three weeks and attracts over a million people from Ontario, the United States and the Caribbean. 
It all starts July 17th at Toronto’s city hall.  The public square is jammed to see the official launch to the festival. In years gone by, people like Roy Cape and David Rudder, have helped get the huge crowd in the mood for Carnival.
On July 21st the first BIG event takes place at Downsview Park when the junior carnival parade takes place. Think of it as a kiddie’s version of the big parade.  Last year over 2,000 children performed for the judges and played Mas in the streets of Toronto. Downsview Park, a new location for this event, is so large it was used to host a visit by the Pope!
Watching it all happen. Specatators line the Toronto Carnival parade route - photograph by Andrew Weir
Not interested in seeing the kids?  You may want to take in the  Canada versus  the best of the Jamaica Rugby League in a festival cup match that will be held in downtown Toronto on the 21st.
Dress for most Festival events is casual – to say the least.  However, there is one event where formal wear is the rule of the evening.  The Annual Gala is a dress up affair to honour the rich history of the festival and to watch samples of the Caribbean arts. This year it all happens on July 27th along the city’s waterfront.
Some of the world’s best Calypso performers live in Toronto.  They will be showing their stuff in the annual Monarch Contest on July 28th and then again on the 31st at an All-Star  Showcase at the Government run Harbourfront lakeside park.
Summer classic. Playing Mas in  the streets of downtown Toronto - photograph by Andrew Weir

Silver Stars - World's best steel drum orchestra perform. AW
And the hits keep coming.  There is a huge outdoor Pan Alive battle of the steel pan orchestras.  The King and Queen contest on August 2nd is always a sell-out, and the Parade along Toronto’s waterfront, is the largest outdoor event in Canada!  And this year people  are invited to stay up all night, after the parade has ended and take part in the festival’s new Fish Fry at Ontario Place, and Sunday food festival.
Mas photo by Andrew Weir
By the time the parade day arrives, the city is hopping with Festival events. Almost every entertainment establishment in the city and surrounding area has “Caribana” parties planned.
These events are big – how big? – the larger events, starring people like Destra and Machel Montana, have audiences of 5,000 and larger.  That is a lot of people having fun together and that can’t be backwards can it?




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