Harbourfront’s Island Soul all part of Caribana weekend in Toronto

By Stephen Weir

Joel Davis performs

The problem with Carnival time in Toronto is deciding what events to take in over the Caribana long weekend. If watching the Grand Parade is not your thing, you might consider taking in some Caribbean events – most of them free – happening at Harbourfront’s Island Soul July 30 –August.

“Huge Fete, Big Soul!” screams out the Harbourfront Website. And the Caribbean Camera agrees. The organizers are bringing together well-known soul, blues, and soca performers. There will be steel pan music, Caribbean comedy and most importantly, the carnival’s top calypso singers will be giving a massive Sunday concert on the waterfront!

Harbourfont earlier this year had big plans for their annual Black History Month festival. However, the fete was cancelled just days before February 1st because of Covid. Two very special events – comedy with Trixx and theatre talk with author and playwright Trey Anthony (Da Kink In My Hair) – were cancelled.

Good news, the Trixx show is going to be back on the boards for two nights during Island Soul, (July 29/30).  It will feature Ty Davis, Big Irish, and Marlon Palmer and is hosted by Canadian comedian Trixx. This is a pay what you wish ticketed event.

Da Kink In My Hair play and television series was created by Trey Anthony. The author and playwright is living these days in Atlanta Georgia. She is flying back to Toronto to give two intimate and uplifting nights of honest girl talk on stage at the festival. Focusing on love, relationships and family, this interactive and participatory show is meant to make audiences laugh, cry and, yell “You go, girl!”. This is a pay what you wish ticketed event July 31 8pm to August 1st 5pm.

Performing free on outdoor stages and even on the grass are well-known performers, including Jay Douglas, Pan Fantasy, The Arsenals (led by trombonist “Dizzy” Minott), L’il Bit and the Afiwi Groove Dance troupe.

The Organization of Calypso Performing Artistes (OCPA) is a huge part of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival. They will be bringing all their stars – Connector, King Cosmos, Macomere FiFi and others to perform outdoors on the Concert Stage on August 1st. That is the traditional Cool Down day for the carnival, but their 3-hour concert will be anything but. The Carnival Stars show start at 3pm but get there early to secure a seat.