The carnival is still alive


The carnival is still alive

So it’s  now official.

From Left Ontario’s Finace Minister Charles Sousa, Mark Itwaru CEO of Peeks Mayor John Tory and FMC’s Chris Alexander with the costumed models

The Toronto Caribbean Carnival 2021 has been cancelled along with the Canadian National Exhibition and several other major summer events which are held  in Canada’s largest city.

The City of Toronto announced the cancellations last Friday in its current battle against the spread of COVID-19.

In a news release, it  explained that  the decision to cancel these summer events , made in consultation with Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, the City’s Emergency Operations Centre, Toronto Police Service and the organizers, follows the previous cancellation of all such events up to July 1 and supports the directive that “physical distancing is critical to stopping the spread of COVID-19 ”

Of course, the news of the cancellation came as no surprise to us and to carnival bandleaders and thousands of mas’ aficionados in Canada.

But some carnival devotees, noting that it’s the second consecutive year that Toronto mas’ on ‘de boulevard ‘ has been cancelled, have wondered aloud whether COVID-19 will have a major negative impact on their festival modelled after the Trinidad carnival.

Some have even expressed concern that the cancellations may mean an end to their beloved Caribana, as the festival is still known by many.

The Toronto Caribbean carnival which hit the streets for the first time in 1967 and has withstood many internal battles since then, remains a festival with a great deal of creative spirit.

And  despite the current pandemic, we do  not  believe that COVID-19 will kill the carnival.

As Chris Alexander,  the Chief Operating Officer of the Festival Management  Committee (FMC) , told The Caribbean Caribbean Camera this week, ” the carnival is still alive and well.”

And while there will be no grand parade this summer, the FMC is reported to be pushing ahead with plans for “alternative events.”

Details about these events or “virtual carnival” will  be announced at a media launch on June 15.

As we look forward to this announcement, we hope that the COVID-19 pandemic will soon be over and mas’ makers ” will be coming back stronger ” in 2022 which is really not far away.

Yes,we have no doubt that the carnival is still alive.