By Stephen Weir
Organizers of this year’s Toronto Caribbean Carnival have their fingers and toes crossed and ears to the ground, hoping to hear the sound of approaching government funding. They have reason to be hopeful. Early this week, the Feds announced an emergency grant of money to the country’s Pride Festivals to cover rising fixed costs.
On Tuesday, Toronto Pride learned that it will be receiving money from the Federal government to cover the costs of added security measures at this year’s Pride parades. The Feds is providing up to $1.5 million to Pride organizations across the country for increased security measures this year. Half of that money goes to Pride organizations in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
Like Pride, the Toronto Carnival is facing a hefty increase in the cost of insurance, security, and other fixed costs this summer. However, to date, it has not received an increase in funding to pay the bills.
In the wake of the Pride windfall, Mischka Crichton, CEO of the carnival, was interviewed by CP24 News to discuss the festival’s need for Federal support amid similar challenges to their budget.
“I commend the government of Canada, and I am also very encouraged by the fact that they have taken fast action to provide funding to the Pride events in Canada,” said Crichton during a primetime CP24 interview. “I also welcome and hope for the same response for our situation as well!”
Crichton told the news desk that for 55 years, it has been difficult to secure sufficient funding to “put on this gift to the city, the province, and the federal government.”
“It has come to a head now, with the constraints we are noticing in terms of resources and security,” she continued. “Safety is really the issue at the table right now. We are talking about the safety of our citizens and our tourists too. We can’t ignore it. We have to let the community and the government know the situation that we are in.”
The Toronto parade doesn’t want to scale back on the 2023 parade if the money isn’t found but it might have to. Crichton doesn’t think it’s fair to ask sponsors to cover the rising costs, especially since the festival brings in millions in revenue for all levels of government and the tourist industry.
To date, the federal government has not publicly responded to the Carnival’s request for help with security and insurance costs. But with fingers crossed, Crichton and her team are waiting for that phone to ring.