Sure the parade is in its 52nd year and it is very much the same old same old. However, there are additions and changes to the grand old Grand Parade that spectators should be aware of in order to get the most out of the August 3rd world famous road march.
First of all the parade is bigger, noisier and longer than last year – the route almost twice the distance at 8 km. Therefore the masqueraders will take much longer traverse the route. Third, the pan orchestras are back in the parade and will certainly make themselves heard above the roar of the crowd.
The bands, beginning at 9.30 am will present themselves in this order: guest bands, competitive bands and then non-competitive bands. Steel bands will round out the parade. Everyone will leave Exhibition Place, go westbound on the Lakeshore for about two kilometres before turning and coming back eastbound on the Lakeshore back to Exhibition Place to be judged. The first Band should be arriving at the judge’s stage at about 11:30.
There will be six zones for spectators and masqueraders, one of which will be a paid area in close proximity to the judging area.
The ribbon-cutting utting ceremony taking place around 10.30. and, while we’ve not been told what VIPs will be in attendance, we do know that His Imperial Majesty Ooni Adeyeye Babatunde Ogunwusi, Nigeria’s monarch will be there.
Just ahead of the steelbands will be world travelling Trinidadian jazzman Etienne Charles. Earlier this month the trumpeter called the paper from Spain to say that he was going to lead the last non-competing Mas Band in the Carnival’s grand parade.
While there is no charge in most of Exhibition Place and parts of the parade route, there is a charge for certain viewing areas: $15 for kids, $20 for seniors and $25 for everyone else. VIP tickets for premium viewing are also available. Chain link fences will separate the audience from the masqueraders.
If you can’t make it to the parade, you can catch it on CP-24’s live television coverage. Viewers can also catch the action on One Caribbean Television.
Grande Parade Post Script:
After the parade there are lots of After Parade Saturday Night parties at bars, hotels and fairground. The parade is putting on what it calls the Wine Down Festival in the Parking Lot of Ontario Place. The 3-hour fete starts at 6pm and general admission is free.
Machel Montano and Sean Paul are the big draws at Carnival Kingdom, Saturday night at the Markham Fairgrounds. Sunday and Monday Drake’s OVO takes over Ontario Place.
The Jambana Reggae festival is free on Sunday in downtown Brampton and has a paid event in Toronto on Monday night. Also on Monday there is the annual free Calypso Stars performance at Harbourfront’s outdoor concert theatre at 3pm. Pan Fantasy is also performing free at Harbourfront at 1pm.
One final note: if when Carnival weekend ends and you can’t remember where you are or have been. Or maybe you are shocked to find you are suddenly married, come to the closing Anglican Church Service and pray for forgiveness and promise not to misbehave next year! The service is on August 11th at the St. James Anglican Cathedral, 65 Church Street, Toronto at 4:00 pm