The sights and sounds of the Caribbean sizzled into town Tuesday for the annual kick-off to the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival. A million people are expected to take part in the festivities, which will certainly transform Toronto into the Caribbean.
We were not in the Caribbean, but with temperatures feeling like the mid-40s Celsius, Toronto felt like Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Barbados and the Bahamas, especially for the next 17 days.
Hundreds gathered at city hall Tuesday to help welcome the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival, also previously known as the Caribana. From Jul. 17 to Aug. 12, many events and festivals will change the city’s landscape that will include an official launch at Toronto Pearson, a showcase of the Calypso All Stars and the grand parade on the Lakeshore at the Exhibition Place.
Spectators and media got a glimpse of what to expect this year as the music played, the cuisine was cooked and the ladies showcased the flamboyant costumes that drew the eyes of photographers, public officials and bystanders.
Federal, provincial and municipal officials took part in Tuesday’s event by providing certificates, plaques and a proclamation. Mayor Rob Ford, who came midway, delivered a proclamation to an ovation from the crowd.
“The Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto is an expression of the Caribbean culture and reflects on our city’s multiculturalism and the diversity among people of the Caribbean origin. Now in its 40th year, that’s amazing.” stated Ford. “The Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival of Toronto contributes to the economic viability of Toronto and promotes harmony by showcasing the captivating spirit of the Caribbean culture and traditions.”
In attendance were Member of Parliament Mark Adley, Senator Asha Seth, Ontario Member of Provincial Parliament Dipika Damerla and City Councillor Michael Thompson. Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty were unable to attend.
For more information on the festival, click here.