Ready for the 50th

As Toronto mas’ makers put the finishing touches on their colorful costumes, thousands of revellers are getting ready for the big ” jump up” on Lakeshore Boulevard West on Saturday.

Masqueraders will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Toronto Caribbean carnival, formerly known as Caribana, at the grand parade.

And according to Gerard Weekes, the parade operations manager, the carnival will be taking  a ” new direction  ” this year.

” Yes, there will be some changes in the parade route.The bands will commence from the Western end of Lakeshore Boulevard,  turning left on Newfoundland Drive, then unto Princess Boulevard.,” he said.

Weekes explained that with this change in direction, all bands  will be moving along the route simultaneously instead of being stagnated in some assigned lots as in previous years.

Last year the parade started from the CNE grounds and proceeded to Newfoundland Drive and then headed west on Lakeshore Boulevard.

To prevent stagnation and blockage, the parade would start earlier this year.

Weekes pointed out that ” having all b ands on the Lakeshore early would assist in preventing large gaps between bands, while keeping non-masqueraders from  occupying the route awaiting the arrival of bands, thus causing a blockage.”

The opening ceremony starts at 8 a.m. and the parade of guest bands will begin at 8.30 p.m. and costumed bands at 9 .00 p.m.

This will be a major departure from former years when the parade of costumed bands started at around 11 a.m.

Weekes also noted that with more police officers on the route this year, there will be ” improved security” for everyone at the parade.