It all started in 1966 with a call from City of Toronto’s Parks Commissioner Tommy Thompson.
The Commissioner had dropped in at a Caribbean airline office in Toronto to float an idea about a West Indian celebration in 1967 of Canada’s one hundredth year of Confederation.
Why not a Trinidad-style carnival?
Michael Martinez, the office manager, was excited by the idea. His job with BWIA-International was to promote Caribbean travel and tourism. Staging a carnival extravaganza right in the heart of Canada’s largest city immediately captured his imagination.
But who would be the right person to take charge of such a project?
The Trinidad-born airline executive, realized that this project would call for someone who was committed to promoting Caribbean culture.
And, of course, such an event would require a great deal of work – and voluntary work, at that.
The name Sam Cole came to mind.
Cole, a former Senior Assistant in the defunct West Indies Federation, was a high school teacher and Martinez felt he was the right person for the job. He promptly contacted Cole who agreed to take up the task and an organization was formed with a small group of committed persons from Toronto’s Caribbean community.
The organization which was established to run the event which was called Caribana, was duly registered and a provincial charter was obtained.
The letters patent, signed by Robert Welch, Provincial Secretary and Ontario Minister of Citizenship, issued the Charter to the following persons.
Samuel Archibald Cole-Teacher
Eric Samuels Lindsay-Barrister
Joseph Alban Liverpool-Physician,
Frank Myers-Insurance Underwriter
Archibald Bastien – Public Engineer
George Merton Lowe – Ontario Land Surveyor
Peter Gregory Marcelline-Town Planner,
Romain William Michael Pitt-Barrister,
Hugh Stennet Robertson – Barrister,
Billy Dey – Housewife
Along with other persons, a corporation without share capital was formed under
the name of CARIBBEAN COMMITTEE FOR CULTURAL ADVANCEMENT.
THE first directors of the corporation were:
Samuel Archibald Cole,
Joseph Alban Liverpool,
George Merton Lowe,
Eric Samuels Lindsay,
Peter Gregory Marcelline,
Romain William Michael Pitt,
Hugh Stennett Robertson,
Frank Myers, and
BOARD OF DIRECTORS – CARIBBEAN COMMITTEE FOR CULTURAL ADVANCEMENT
Dr. J,A.Liverpool, Chairman, MD J. Dunn
R.W.Pitt, Vice Chairman P. Marcelline,
- Lowe, Treasurer Dr. S.A. Liverpool
C.C. Roach, Secretary C. Huggins
G.I. Meikle S. Ward
- Sheppard H. Cohen
E.S. Lindsay L. Patterson
F.R. Myers A. Coombs
Dr. M.E. Bygrave M. Martinez
- Robertson T. Taylor
Caribana was such huge success in 1967 that the organizers decided to make it an annual event.
In 1969, the name of the organization was changed. The Caribbean Committee for Cultural Advancement became the Caribbean Cultural Committee which continued to run the Caribana festival until 2005.
Since then, the Festival Management Committee (FMC) has been running the annual event now known as the Peeks Toronto Caribbean Carnival.
OFFICIAL NAME CHANGES – 1967 TO CURRENT DATE
Incorporated – July 28, 1967, CARIBBEAN COMMITTEE FOR CULTURAL ADVANCEMENT
Recorded by E.F. Morton – Recording Officer; Provincial Secretary’s Office Toronto Ontario.
January 15,1969, name changed to CARIBBEAN CULTURAL COMMITTEE-CARIBANA™. (from CARIBBEAN COMMITTEE FOR CULTURAL ADVANCEMENT)
Recorded February 4th 1969, by E.F.Morton-Recording Officer; Provincial Secretary’s Office Toronto Ontario.
November 18, 2006, name changed to CARIBANA™ ARTS GROUP
(from CARIBBEAN CULTURAL COMMITTEE-CARIBANA™)