Toronto Carnival: a gold mine with great promise
In last weeks’ editorial, this newspaper sought to rise above the negative realities of how and why the carnival festival in Toronto does not realize its massive potential and does not share its already significant benefits equally.
Faithful to our vocation as your community-building Caribbean Camera, we strive to promote ideas and initiatives that can move our community, our city, our province and our country forward.
We must first congratulate all participants and all winners in this year’s events, including Macomere Fifi, Calypso Monarch for the sixth time; Pan Fantasy, Pan Alive’s Steelpan Champion for the umpteenth time, this year completing the hat trick; and, in the costumed bands category, Marcus Eustace and his Carnival Nationz production of “Empires” that won the titles of Queen of the Bands and King of the Bands for the costumes worn by Joella Creighton and Shane Reid Mungal, respectively.
There are clearly identifiable cultural, social, socio-economic and financial benefits to be derived by all from a festival that is efficiently conceptualized, planned and implemented. The researchers, academics and cultural activists all agree on the extensive and varied benefits in terms of community-building, education, youth development, cultural development, tourism, small business development, business innovation, economic growth and increased tax revenue, higher levels of employment, and enhanced income equality.
A lot of the conceptualization and planning has already been done for the carnival festival to be structured as a celebration, a multi-event festival, a tourism attraction and a business project. Similarly, a lot of the technical details for the Parade of the Bands on carnival day have been set out in documents outlining the planning and management of: the flow of the costumed bands, the venues and route of the parade, spectator arrangements, revenue streams management and security arrangements.
However, in a conscious effort to be objective in its approach, The Camera must add its own words of caution and advice. The politics of carnival management are so critical that we insist on providing our own definition of politics as the process in which individuals and groups compete with each other for the formal power, for the influence and for the resources that exist and can be created within the “system” to which they belong.
In order to reconcile or at least better manage the interests of the competing individuals and groups in Toronto’s carnival world, there is an absolute need to convene a series of public consultations here in Canada.
Secondly, in order to formulate our own best practices in carnival planning and management, it is also necessary for a balanced team of Canadian stakeholders to travel to Trinidad and Tobago and to Brazil to examine the strengths and weaknesses of various systems in consultation with those countries’ carnival stakeholders.
These two elements are to be added to The Camera’s medical prescription for our carnival festival to become the Healthy, Merry and Prosperous Monarchy to which we are rightfully entitled.