Is the annual Toronto Caribbean Carnival King and Queen competition a goner?

2024 King and Queen and Panorama leaving Lamport Stadium?

There it goes! Or is the Caribbean Camera reading this correctly? Is the annual Toronto Caribbean Carnival King and Queen competition a goner after over twenty years at the Lamport Stadium?
Earlier this week, the Festival Management Committee sent out an update on what is planned for this summer’s carnival. A copy landed on the desk of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, implying that the premier evening event of the Carnival, the King and Queen competition at the King Street stadium, might not be held there this year; instead, it will be incorporated into the daytime parade.
The King and Queen competition has been selling out the Lamport Stadium since the last century. Politicians, entertainers, VIPs — this has always been the hardest ticket to get during Festival week.
“The King and Queen show has traditionally kicked off the Toronto Caribbean Carnival weekend every year since the beginning. The leaders of Caribana Mas Bands will put on their showcase costumes and perform for the Parade judges and an enthusiastic crowd,” reads the Caribana website. “Male and female competitors are judged on the details of costumes, how that costume represents the theme the Mas Bands will perform during the Caribbean Carnival Parade, and the performance of the leader. At the end of the night, the King and Queen are crowned.”
“We don’t know what is happening this year; the FMC hasn’t told us anything,” said one Pan leader about the annual Pan competition, which has traditionally been held at Lamport Stadium the night after the King and Queen. A Mas man echoed that comment.
The FMC’s update says that the Adult King and Queen Showcase will be held at Exhibition Place inside the paid parade area. It implies that there will be a contest competition “where adult participants vie for the coveted titles of King and Queen in their elaborate costumes”.
And the Panorama? “OSA Panorama at Exhibition Place is a celebration of the iconic steelpan instrument, highlighting its unique sound and cultural significance,” reads the FMC notice.
For much of the week, the Caribbean Camera has been trying to make contact to find out what is going on with the beloved King and Queen and Panorama evening events. Many large cultural events planned for Toronto this year are reporting financial difficulties, rising costs, and the loss of sponsorship.
Is Carnival facing a cash crunch in 2024? The festival organizer didn’t answer our calls but did tell us they had met with the Ontario government earlier this week.
Just as the paper was going to print, the paper received a very brief email from Mischka Crichton, the CEO of the festival. We asked what is happening to the King and Queen Competition this year. Her answer?
“My apologies for the delay. As soon as all final changes have been finalized and confirmed for the event, we will have all information to you. Your patience is greatly appreciated.”
Stephen Weir. Caribbean Camera newspaper Toronto


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