By Stephen Weir
The rain held off, the young revellers wore colorful costumes and the annual Junior Carnival Parade and Family Day drew a record turnout of spectators on Saturday at Malvern in Scarborough.
“ We had about 1,800 children playing mas’,” event organizer Eric Delfish told the Caribbean Camera. “In terms of spectator numbers, it could be more but I am going to stick with pegging it at 20,000 people. It was the largest turnout with many impressed first-timers coming out to cheer on the youngsters.”
The parade got underway at eleven o’clock on Saturday morning with an official opening ceremony at the Malvern Community Centre.
Toronto Mayor John Tory had the help of some local politicians to cut the ribbon and get the youngsters, some as young as two-years old, on the road.
Among the special guests helping to launch the event were Ontario Provincial Ministers Raymond Cho and Lisa MacLeod, MPP Vijay Thanigasalam and City Councilor Neethan Shan.
Minister Cho had high praise for Eric Delfish for his efforts in organizing the event.
The five-hour parade made its way from the Malvern Park on Neilson Road to Neilson Park.
Each carnival band in the competition passed in front of the judging stand at the terminus of the parade. It was Mas’-on-the-Move, and the bands were judged on their costumes and their ” jump up ” style.
Winner of the competition was Carnival Nationz, the band. organized by Marcus Eustace and Bryce Aguiton, which portrayed L.O.V.E.
Placing second was Louis Saldenah’s Carnival, portraying Wonders of Spring.
In third place was Venom Carnival , organized by Hayden Joseph and Aneil Persad, portraying Inked.
“ While it rained in other parts of the city, not a drop of rain fell on the masqueraders,”. Delfish noted.
“The stage show after the parade was awesome. The Neema Children Choir from Uganda were great. They did a joint performance with the cast of the Junior Calypso Showcase, fittingly singing ‘For the Love of Calypso,'”
Also taking place at the Family Fair was a competition to select once and for all (at least for this year) Canada’s top junior jerk chef.
Grace Foods offered $1,500 in prize money for the young cooks between the ages of nine and 15 in the annual competition.
“This is always a great experience for kids who have a love of food,” said Prize coordinator Petronilla Marchan. “This is all about learning how to create tasty dishes, using nourishing Caribbean ingredients.”
The sky was the limit on what the junior chefs could choose to BBQ with three caveats – the recipe had to include coconut water and at least one Grace jerk product. And finally, the dish had to be cooked on an outdoor grill in front of an audience of hungry kids and four of Toronto’s top professional chefs.
This year the jury was led by Chef La-toya Fagon and included celebrity chef and TV personality Rob Rainford, food expert Laura Brown and Fredrick Alexander, head chef at Tropicana Community Services.
All the children who took part in the contest received prizes.
The top prize of $700 was awarded to Adrian Amsterda. The second prize ($500) went to Tayvia Fernandes and the third prize ($300), to Bianca Watier.