The genesis of Caribana


The first Caribana parade marching down Yonge Street in 1967.
The Peacock costume was brought to Canada from Trinidad.

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,

Billy Dey,

Hugh Stennett Robertson,

Frank Myers, and

Archibald Bastien.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS – CARIBBEAN COMMITTEE FOR CULTURAL ADVANCEMENT

Dr. J,A.Liverpool, Chairman, MD                             J. Dunn

R.W.Pitt, Vice Chairman                                           P. Marcelline,

  1. Lowe, Treasurer             Dr. S.A. Liverpool

C.C. Roach, Secretary                                                            C. Huggins

G.I. Meikle                                                                 S. Ward

  1. Sheppard H. Cohen

E.S. Lindsay                                                               L. Patterson

F.R. Myers                                                                  A. Coombs

Dr. M.E. Bygrave                                                       M. Martinez

  1. Robertson T. Taylor
  2. McKenzie

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™)