By Lincoln DePradine
Funding for the 2018 Peeks Toronto Caribbean Carnival from the three levels of government amounts to less than $1 million, with the City of Toronto as the largest contributor.
Toronto Mayor John Tory announced on Tuesday that the city’s allocation to the event, organized by the Festival Management Committee (FMC), was $625,000, “to help make sure the Caribbean Carnival is a success.’
“There is no better time to be had than at the Caribbean Carnival,’’ the mayor said at the official launch of this year’s carnival at Nathan Phillips Square. “It is such an important part of life in our great city.’’
Tory was among several speakers that included FMC and Toronto Police Service officials, as well Sylvia Jones, Ontario’s minister of tourism, culture and sports.
In brief remarks at the launch, Jones made no mention of the provincial funding for the Toronto festival which is known to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the City of Toronto, the Province of Ontario and the federal government.
This year’s federal government contribution to the carnival, one source told the Caribbean Camera, is “eighty-something thousand’’while the Ontario government ‘s funding is just under $270,000.
Haynesley Benn, the Barbados Consul General in Toronto and dean of the Caribbean Consular Corps, in remarks on Tuesday, said that while the $625,000 from the City of Toronto sounds like a lot of money, it would be even better if for 2019, Mayor Tory could announce a city donation of $1 million.
“Torontonians and people from all of the Caribbean help to make up this diverse culture here in Toronto. It is, therefore, important that governments put their resources behind this festival. If they want to see a growth in cultural activities, invest some money,’’ Benn added.
Tuesday’s carnival launch included the modelling of costumes by members of some of the bands in this year’s carnival, as well as a performance from Eulith Tara Woods, former Calypso Monarch “Macomere Fifi,’’ and pan music from the St Jamestown Youth Steel Orchestra.
The theme of the Peeks Toronto Caribbean Carnival is, “Canada’s Celebration of Freedom and Diversity”.
Official FMC events continue this month with this Sunday’s Junior Carnival King & Queen Show at Woodbine Centre, 500 Rexdale Boulevard, Etobicoke; the July 21 Junior Carnival Parade & Family Day in Malvern; a Carnival Ball July 27 at Exhibition Place; and a “Calypso Extravaganza’’, July 29 at St. Peter & Paul Banquet Hall, Scarborough.
The Grand Parade will be on Saturday August 4.