The Caribana parade started out on Toronto’s Yonge Street 50 years ago.
This year Caribana was back on Yonge Street as Canadians celebrated the country’s 150th anniversary of Confederation.
A small dedicated group of officials and members of the Caribana Arts Group (CAG) – less than 20 – some waving flags, had joined the parade of Nations on July 1 to celebrate Canada’s birthday and to remember the founders of the Caribbean Cultural Committee which ran the Caribana festival.
For many, it was a sad moment as they walked the route of the first Caribana parade – the route of the pioneers of the organizations, most of whom have since passed on.
But the Canada Day march was also a time for new resolutions.
Community activist Dewutt Lee, one of the persons in the Parade of Nations, declared that Caribana was not “finished” as an organization but will rise again.
He predicted that Caribana will be making a re-appearance in 2018.
Earlier this year, it was reported that after months of negotiations between the CAG and the Festival Management Committee (FMC) which has been running the Toronto Caribbean carnival for the last ten years, talks had irretrievably broken down.
And, Monica Pollard, CAG chairman, announced that it (the CAG) will not be playing any role in the Toronto Caribbean carnival this summer.
The news came as a major disappointment to members of the CAG who were hoping that there would have been some level of collaboration between its organization and the FMC in running. this year’s carnival.
They were also hoping that the “Caribana” name would have been restored to the carnival which will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Caribana was launched by a group of West Indians in Toronto in 1967 as a salute to Canada’s centennial. The event was reported to have been such a success that it became an annual celebration.