‘Carnival will draw one million visitors’

By Gerald V. Paul

His Lordship of the Dance Mayor John Tory gets a kick out of Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival at the official launch on Tuesday. Photo by Gerard Richardson.
His Lordship of the Dance
Mayor John Tory gets a kick out of Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival at the
official launch on Tuesday. Photo by Gerard Richardson.

This year’s $400-million Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival is on track to be bigger and better than ever with more than one million visitors expected, Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Michael Coteau told the official launch on Tuesday.

Coteau delivered the good news as David Pecault Square came alive with costumed Mas performers, music and a healthy taste of the annual event which runs until Aug. 4.

This year, the three-week economic and cultural explosion of Caribbean music, cuisine, and visual and performing arts has the theme The Carnival of the Americas.

According to the Economic Impact Assessment results provided to The Camera, “Total expenditures over various festival events was estimated at close to $400 million with the overall economic impact measured in terms of GDP generated for the provincial economy being over $300 million.”

Coteau was enthusiastic about the importance of Carnival, which is a major international event and the largest festival of its kind in North America with accommodation services expected to total $68 million.

In addition, tax revenues are estimated at $146 million of which roughly 55% accrues to the federal government and 45% to the province.

Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival CEO Denise Herrera-Jackson noted that “the big news is that the Pan Am Games are bringing in tourists from many Caribbean and South American countries that understand Carnival and have a love for jumping up.

“We have added guest bands representing many Caribbean Island nations to the parade. We are expanding the footprint of the Grand Parade within Exhibition Place to improve the experience of both performers and spectators.”

Herrera-Jackson said the parade route has been shortened along Lakeshore Blvd. due to construction and Pan Am installations. “We have posted maps and detailed information on our website to show the best places to view the parade, either as paid ticket holders inside Exhibition Place, or free along Lakeshore Blvd.”

The Aug. 1 Grand Parade will move westward along Lakeshore to British Columbia drive where the Mas bands will then head back into Exhibition Place to be judged at a reviewing stand near the soccer stadium. The bands and the music will stay inside the Exhibition Place grounds until 8 p.m. The guest bands and the steel pan orchestras will continue down Lakeshore to a terminus at Budapest Park.

Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival events include:

Junior Carnival Parade and Family Day: On July 18, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the first big Carnival event will take place in and around Neilson Park in the Malvern community. More than 2,000 children will perform for the judges and the public in the parade. Family Day continues in Neilson Park to 8 p.m. The event is supported by the Children’s Breakfast Club and Metropolitan Toronto Police Services.

The Annual Carnival Gala: This July 24 event honours the rich history of the festival and gives guests a sample of Caribbean cuisine and the arts. It’s at Liberty Grand Ballroom on the CNE grounds starting at 5:30 p.m.

Calypso Extravaganza: On July 28, this special event features calypso and soca monarchs including the unstoppable six-time Calypso Monarch Macomere Fifi along with Aaron Duncan, Trinidad and Tobago’s Junior Calypso and Chutney Monarch and King David Rudder. Doors open at 6 p.m.

King and Queen Showcase: On July 30, this popular event, which is almost always a sellout, is slated for a 7 p.m. start. It showcases the elaborate costumes to be worn by the kings and queens in the Grand Parade.

Pan Alive: On July 31, the largest outdoor steel pan orchestra competition in North America happens at Lamport Stadium. Eleven orchestras will compete in an evening battle of the bands, starting at 7 p.m.

Grand Parade: On Aug. 1 at Exhibition Place and Lakeshore Blvd. from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., rain or shine. It happens ticketed inside Exhibition Place and free along the Lakeshore.

Carnival Olympic Island Music and Food Festival, One Lime, One Jam: On Aug. 2, starting at 10 a.m. Experience the smell, sights and sounds of Carnival and the Tropical Rhythms Food Festival with exotic Caribbean cuisine prepared by local chefs; cooking demos and special signature dishes courtesy of Official Celebrity Chef-La-toya Fagan. On hand will be stars such as Iwer George, the Prince of Soca, Tallpree, J-Perry (Dekole-Haiti) and Moses Revolution Bahamas’ Junkanoo.

Calypso All Stars: On Aug. 4 at Harbourfront Centre, starting at 3 p.m.

Visit www.torontocaribbeancarnival.com for more information.

Gerald V. Paul
Gerald V. Paul







All below photos by Gerard Richardson 

Carnival8 Carnival7 Carnival6 Carnival5 Carnival4 Carnival3 Carnival2 Carnival1