It is Costume Launch Season In Toronto

It is Costume Launch Season
By Stephen Weir for Caribbean Camera
For the next six weeks, followers of carnival in Toronto are going to be staying up late, hear ear blasting new road songs and getting dazzled by the latest masquerade fashion statements. The Mas Camp Costume Launch season begins this Saturday night when Venom Mas unveils all the costumes that their camp members will be wearing on the street this summer for the 51st Toronto Caribbean Carnival parade.
The Canadian Mas camps design and build themed costumes that will be worn in the parade here in Toronto and at carnivals around the world. The costume launches give people the first chance to see and buy costumes. This year the Mas camps are saying that Toronto’s interest in the 2018 launches is “intense” and “almost boiling over” - more people want to participate in the Toronto parade than ever before.”
“ I think it is an issue of safety – Toronto’s parade continues to be a fun and safe event. In 2017 there weren’t stormers and as a result revelers had a terrific time,” explained Mas K founder Louis Saldenah. “The 2017 experience is driving interest in 2018. As well, when you look at the crime that there was with this year’s Carnival in T&T, many people have made the decision to safely play mas here in Toronto rather than in other countries”.
“Tickets are running low!” proclaims a large Venom Mas’ social media message. “If you still need to get your tickets (for their costume launch at the Chandni Grand Banquet Hall in Scarborough) do it now. You don’t want to miss out.”
Venom is a relatively new band that is pitching costumes to young people. The theme – Inked – is meant to resonate with oft tattooed millennials.
One of Venom’s new sections , Allure Carnival, is organized by the self-described youngest section in North America. “We represent the youth” said Allure’s Joanne Webster. “Millennials for Millennials while bringing a new essence to the Mas culture, this is the official injection of the youth into the Carnival parade.” Welcome Allure Carnival!
“Many Mas bands like to hold their launches in April,” said EPIC Mas’s Stretch (Jerrol Augustine). “There is a lot of excitement, I guess in part because we are showing our costume lines in March – let’s face it, there are not enough weekends to have our launch in April anyway!”
EPIC, formerly Durham Mas, has also booked the Chandni Grand Banquet Hall. EPIC is expecting 500 spectators at the March 24 costume show. Their theme is called Epic Fantasy.
“ We are noticing a BIG interest in our band launch,” said Tribal Carnival’s Celena Seusahai “ People want to see it first-hand. Our theme – Wonderland - its going to be quite the show and that is what we are promoting. Our first set of band launch tickets sold out within a few days.”

Tribal’s launch is the evening of March 31st at the Grand Luxe Event Boutique on Bayview Ave.“ Its an amazing venue and just brings our launch to a different level scenery wise, we are expecting 600-700 people.”
“We are getting A LOT of interest from out-of-towners, we've noticed that bridal parties love to take part and make it a mission to come out for Caribana,” she continued. People are starting to learn that Toronto is a great carnival destination. We are expecting 2000+ on the road with us this year.”
This is a carnival presentation that is Straight out of John John! The D’New Regulars will show their new look to the public the evening of April 15 at the Nugget Avenue Twilight Family Bar in Scarborough.
Michael Williams, the founder of D’New Regulars, has two themes that is inspiring one of Carnival’s longest running bands. John John is a working class district of Port of Spain and has inspired a new band tee-shirt. The second theme is a tribute to Janet Lewis a woman who has been a flag waver in front of some of the world’s best Steel Pan Orchestra. “We will be honouring the great steel pan bands she waved the flag for,” said Michael Williams “and naming our sections after them. Caribe Tokyo Steel Orchestra to Lord Kitchener’s Pan Time.”
The biggest draw of the season will probably be Louis Saldenah’s Mas K Club launch on April 21 at the Chandni Grand Banquet Hall on McNicoll Ave.
Michael William by Anthony Berot

“The out-of-town market is huge for us: Caribbean, the US and even England. We always aim to put together 4,000 costumes. In 2017 we had 4,500 people in costume. It should be in the same neighbourhood this year”, Louis Saldenah told the Camera. “And, it all starts in April with our Wonders of Spring launch.”

The Rest of the Class of 2018
April 14th
Theme: The Launch
Chateau Le Jardin
8440 York Regional Rd 27
Saturday April 24th
THEME: The Elements
The York Mills Gallery
1885/1895 Leslie Street $20
Theme: Animal Extinction
The York Mills Gallery
1885/1895 Leslie Street
April 20, 2018 $20-$40
And Finally…
Carnival fans are still waiting to hear from three bands. Concept Costume Creators, the only Mas Band in Toronto that has been producing mas since the beginning of Toronto’s Carnival in 1967, have not yet announced the date and location of their launch. Sunlime Canada, a family oriented mas camp has chosen a theme – Reign – but hasn’t announced a date or location for their costume party. Atlantic Mas has released their 2018 theme. It is An Invitation to Dance. No date yet on when the wining starts.


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