Respect the masqueraders: pay to play

By Gerald V. Paul

Coun. Joe Mihevc announced increased city funding of $550,000 to Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival on Tuesday – challenging the provincial and federal governments to match it – and appealed to the community to respect the masqeraders.

His message: pay to play and don’t jump the fence at the parade.

Carnival will run from July 7 to Aug. 9, a three-week explosion of cultural and educational activities bringing an estimated one million spectators and a huge influx of money to Toronto, while the Grand Parade along the waterfront Aug. 1 will be flashed by media around the world.

This year’s parade route is shortened to speed up the typically daylong event. The parade will travel the length of Exhibition Place before entering Lakeshore Blvd., giving the festival more space to accommodate paying spectators within the CNE grounds.

“We are proud to support the Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival,” said Christine Williams, the bank’s Toronto east district vice-president. “The Carnival brings together the local community and visitors from around the world to celebrate the sights, sounds, and flavours of the Caribbean.”

Dr. Maurice Bitran, Ontario Science Centre CEO, said they are “delighted, for the sixth consecutive year to sponsor the Innovation in Mas Award. We celebrate our partnership with the Caribbean Carnival and through this award recognize innovation in Mas costume design and engineering. Science is everywhere!

“We also look forward to hosting a community film night in conjunction with the festival.”

The 2015 Face of the Festival, Trinidad and Tobago-born Raesha Sirois, concurred with Mihevc about respecting the masqueraders as “the right thing to do.” Both were referring to spectators rushing the parade.

Christopher Alexander, CAO of Festival Management Committee (FMC), added his voice to respecting masqueraders while welcoming Calvin Taylor as head of the Grand Parade. Taylor joined FMC as parade operations manager this year. Born in Trinidad and Tobago Taylor is a Canadian citizen well known within the Caribbean community and in Mas, calypso and pan.

Alexander noted the official launch is traditionally held at City Hall but this year because of the Pan Am Games, the launch will be outdoors on David Pecaut Square at Metro Hall, 215 King St. W.

Close to 100 masqueraders in costumes will appear at the event, including soca, calypso, dance and pan orchestra performers, among an expected 5,000 participants. The free launch begins at noon and ends at 2 p.m.

The Junior Carnival, Family Day and Family Day Parade will again be July 18 in Malvern. And six-time Canadian Calypso Monarch Macomere Fifi and veteran Dick Lochan, two original members, head up the Professional Calypso Tent cast for their upcoming ninth calypso season (see, Pg. 4.)

There is a new Ontario Calypso Organizing Association (OCPA) event instead of the annual calypso competition. International superstar Calypso David Rudder and Aaron Duncan, four-time winner of TUCO’s National Junior Calypso Monarch competition in Trinidad and Tobago, will headline with Canada’s leading calypso performers at Calypso Extravaganza. The calypso and soca concert will be July 25 at P.C. Ho Theatre in the Chinese Cultural Centre.

As well, steel bands will compete at the Pan Alive competition July 30 and at Fort York on July 18.

The Carnival Ball which raises money and honours festival heroes will take place at Liberty Grand Ballroom on the Exhibition grounds and the king and queen competition will be the evening of July 31at Lamport Stadium in Toronto.

The award-winning Tropical Rhythms food festival is back as part of the Toronto’s Olympic Island event on Aug. 2. Winner of the 2011 sponsorship Event of the Year Award, Tropical Rhythms brings a taste of authentic Caribbean cuisine. Leading up the event celebrity chef Latoya Fagon of Jamaican heritage will showcase the best of Caribbean food across the GTA, then on the island.

The opening church service is July 12 at The Church of the Nativity and the closing service will be at St. James Cathedral Aug. 9.

Gerald V. Paul
Gerald V. Paul