By Stephen Weir
What Calypsonian King Cosmos lacked in skating finesse, he made up for in his singing and his warm and friendly greeting to the crowd which came out on Saturday to watch “Caribana on Ice” at Mel Lastman Square.
Wearing all black, except a colourful feathered headdress with matching wristlets and ankle splashes, King Cosmos, Master of Ceremonies, skated out and told onlookers that they were watching a first – a professional presentation of the Carnival Arts on ice.
“ This is the first time this has been done in Toronto, “ he said to the cheering and clapping crowd standing on the edge of the large outdoor rink.
“ I think it has to be the first time in North America. We usually do this sort of thing in the summer, but, what is more Canadian than being here outdoors in winter?”
In the past, the CAG has held other “Caribana On Ice” events, albeit with a more informal approach.
“This year we have designed what one could describe as a ‘mini’ Caribana on the ice presentation,” said Event Programmer Amah Harris.
Saturday’s show was on the ice in front of the old North York City Hall south of the Yonge-Finch intersection.
The rink was centre stage. Onlookers stayed on the boardwalk that surrounded the stage and geared on a non-stop parade of performers. Over the course of the afternoon skaters in costume, Dance Caribe, Pan performers and singers, took their turn on the ice, or on solid ground at the edge of rink.
Clapping was the preferred method of keeping warm. As well, there was a wood fire-heated patio and gas powered heat towers. Vendors sold hot chocolate and piping hot Caribbean food and people were welcomed inside the nearby civic building to thaw out.
No formal announcement was made on whether there will be a 2020 “Caribana On Ice,” but one of the costumed skaters told the Caribbean Camera that this year’s event was so much fun that if there ice on which to skate next March, she will be sharpening her blades and “breaking out the feathers” again.