Last lap ‘Pan in D’ Park’ event Carnival Sunday

By Lincoln DePradine

Afro Pan Steelband

Music lovers – particularly, fans of steelpan – will have an additional opportunity to enjoy steel orchestra performances from some of the top bands at this year’s Toronto Caribbean Carnival.

A 2023 innovation by the Ontario Steelpan Association (OSA) is the introduction of “Pan in D’ Park’’.

“It’s free and we’re planning for an excellent event that we expect would draw a large crowd,’’ OSA president Terrence Wilson told The Caribbean Camera, commenting on “Pan in D’ Park’’.

It’s scheduled for Sunday, August 6, 2 pm – 9 pm, at Malvern Park, 30 Sewells Road, in Scarborough.

Described as a “fun for the whole family’’ event, “Pan in D’ Park’’ will include a marketplace of arts, craft, food and drinks, as well as a children’s area with bouncing castle and other kids’ activities.

OSA also is working with the Organization of Calypso Performing Artistes to provide live calypso entertainment at the August 6 event, Wilson said.

However, he explained that “Pan in D’ Park’’ not only will be entertainment for patrons. Steelbands but also will be in a contest – the “Bomb Competition’’.

The competition demands participants render a non-calypso or soca song in a variety of genres such as gospel, classical and R&B.

“The bands will have to perform for a period of 15 to 20 minutes; within the performance time, they will be playing their Bomb Competition song, which will be judged at that point. They all will be given an appearance fee and there will be prize monies – for first, second and third places – for the Bomb Competition,’’ Wilson said.

The mission of OSA, which was incorporated in 2002 and formally launched in the spring of 2003, is “to promote excellence in all facets of steelpan in Canada, by providing open, accountable leadership in all matters related to the recognition, growth and development of the steelpan and the steelpan community, and to do so with absolute respect and trust’’.

The association’s annual pan competition has remained its flagship event at carnival in the City of Toronto. Some steelbands will also perform at the street parade of costumed bands, which will be held August 5 along Lakeshore Boulevard.

The pan competition, dubbed “Pan Alive’’, is Friday, August 4, 7 pm, at Lamport Stadium, 1151 King Street West.

“Pan Alive’’, as a competition, was shelved due to the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

Pan Fantasy Steel Orchestra, under the tutelage of arranger Al “Allos” Foster, won every Pan Alive from 2012 to 2019, when it was last held.

This year, attendees “can expect a lot of excitement, with new arrangements from young arrangers’’, said Wilson.

“It’s just one song – a calypso of choice. I don’t want to confirm this, but I heard that most of the bands are playing Olatunji’s song, which is ‘Engine Room’. But, we haven’t received a confirmed song list from the bands as yet.’’

Up to seven bands are expected to participate in the panorama, with ticket prices ranging from $70 for the VIP section; $40 for an adult ticket; seniors pay $25; and for children, each ticket costs $15.

Tickets are available for purchase at steelbands’ panyards; or by visiting;; or through TicketGateway.

OSA’s carnival program of activities culminates with “Pan in D’ Park’’ at Malvern Park.

“We see it like the last lap sort of thing for the people who are in town and for them to come and enjoy pan in a family environment,’’ Wilson said.  “I’m excited about the events and the bands themselves are all excited as well.’’