Toronto Caribbean Gala Formerly Moves Up North!
By Stephen Weir
Photos by Don Moreland
The annual Toronto Caribbean Gala was held on Friday night in a new location this year. The only formal event for the three-week festival was staged at the Riviera Events and Convention Centre in Woodbridge, northeast of the city of Toronto. This was first time in over ten-years that the Gala was not held at the Liberty Grand Ballroom at Exhibition Place.
The Riviera Events and Convention Centre bills itself “s one of the largest Banquet Halls in Ontario, with the ability to host up to 1400 guests in our second level ballroom.” However, Friday’s Gala was not a sold-out event and many seats were left empty throughout the dinner and entertainment performance.
The Carnival Gala took advantage of the space to create a large performance areas both inside the banquet hall and in the foyer. Pan Fantasy, The Omega Band, Miami based, former Trinidad Junior Calypso and Young Kings Monarch Roger George, and the Neema Children’s Choir all performed throughout the evening. Bookstore owner Itah Sadu was the MC for the event.
“The best part of the night for me?” asked guest Steven McKinnon. “ It was the Neema Children’s Choir. They owned that stage.”
Neema Children's choir is made up of young children aged 8–17 from Uganda who have been orphaned due to the effects of civil war and AIDS The Neema Children’s Choir travel the world and have performed in Toronto a number of times over the past five years.