Trinidad & Tobago Celebrating their diamond anniversary in Toronto  

By Stephen Weir

From “Lavway, Our Story”

Trinidad and Tobago marks the 60th anniversary of its independence this summer, and has asked their best friends to help celebrate.  Earlier this week the twin-island nation sent out an invitation to Torontonians to take part in a number of diamond anniversary fetes and events taking place in Toronto and Brampton beginning July 6th and running until the first week of September.

“We have a very strong, close relationship with Canada,” said Tracey Ramsubagh-Mannette, T&T’s Acting Consul General, “Our first office opening (after Independence Day) was here. We estimate that there are 200,000 Trinidadians and Tobagonians living here!”

The best of the two islands is about to be showcased to w. Fine Trinidadian dinning. Unique Food Products. Parties. Concerts. Cricket. Movies. Calypso. Carnival Costumes. The calendar of commemorative events and celebrations of the Diamond Anniversary are being done hand-in-hand with many locally based Caribbean style happenings including The Toronto Caribbean Carnival, OCPA, Pan Alive and the Caribbean Tales Film Festival.

The Consulate in Toronto, along with Tourism Trinidad and the Tobago Tourism Agency officially kick-off the summer celebrations at Ontario Place on July 9th. They are teamed with the annual day long food festival known as Crave (an all-inclusive long food and music fete) This $200 VIP party takes place on Ontario Place’s West Island. Guests will experience a variety of cultural offerings. It will be a unique culinary experience featuring the food and drinks of Trinidad and Tobago.  The park can accommodate 1,500 well-dressed people!

Devil from: Lavway, Our Story

Following the Crave party, there are events planned in conjunction with the Toronto/Caribbean Golf Social, Toronto Caribbean Carnival King and Queen Showcase, Pan Alive at Lamport Stadium, and the Calypso Showcase at Harbourfront. For sport fans, the Diamond Jubilee Cricket Match between Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica takes place in Brampton on August 20th.

The celebrations all culminate at Yonge and Dundas Square on August 27th and 28th with a two-day extravaganza that will spotlight the best of Trinidad and Tobago’s cultural offerings and bring Torontonians together for a big free party on the public square.  The organizers are busy signing many of T&T’s top musical performers to keep the party jumping up. The Square holds 5,000 people and provided the weather is good, it is expected that the place will be filled for 2-days.

The actual date when the nation split from the United Kingdom is on August 31st, 1962. Of course, there will be a huge celebration in Port of Spain.  There are plans to light the date in cities where there are T&T consulates.  Here in Canada, Niagara Falls and other Ontario landmarks will light up in colours of red, white, and black to mark Trinidad and Tobago’s independence.

“The roster of independence activities is designed to bring us together to show our people’s warmth, creativity, and resilience, the beauty of our islands, the vibrance of our culture, and the brilliance of our citizens here who fly the flag high every day,” said Ramsubagh-Mannette. She told the Caribbean Camera that there will be flag raising ceremonies taking place in Toronto on the last day of August.

It doesn’t end with the lowering of the Flag in August. Torontonians can also experience an entire film night of T&T movies on September 7th, partnering with the downtown CaribbeanTales International Film Festival on their opening night to highlight Trinidad and Tobago’s cinematic achievements.

“We have put the call out through T&T Film to secure six short film” she said. As well the “Lavway, Our Story”, a feature length film produced by the Tribe Carnival Mas Band will get its debut showing in Canada.

Lavway is an experimental film based on traditions of Trinidad’s Carnival. The hour-long feature film harnesses the energy of the Mas and is an ode to the origins and rituals of the festival; awash in mysticism, vibrant colour and pulsating Soca music.