UNESCO grants Toronto Caribbean Carnival Cultural Heritage status

Keith Cox, Sébastien Goupil and Denise Herrera Jackson

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO) has granted the Toronto Caribbean Carnival (TCC) the right to the use of the Intangible Cultural Heritage emblem.

CCUNESCO stated in its letter to the TCC that it believes that this festive event conveys and embodies many of those values related to the safeguarding and transmission of intangible cultural heritage, and that the Carnival brings together artisans, artists and performers in an open and inclusive format. The Carnival provides opportunities for artisans and carriers of traditions to live from their work and to transmit their traditional skills and knowledge to younger generations.

“The Carnival is a festive event that marks an important moment in the history of slavery. By its very nature, the history of slavery has meant the dispersal of peoples of African descent and innumerable harms to their cultural practices. For this reason, it is significant that these traditions are carried on and celebrated by the diaspora with the support of the local communities. As part of its commitment to promote the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024), the Commission is proud to support the work of the Carnival.”

“We believe that associating the Intangible Cultural Heritage emblem to the festive events of the Carnival will work to raise awareness of the concept of and values associated with Intangible Cultural Heritage among the Canadian and international public.”

With CCUNESCO’s blessing, Toronto Caribbean Carnival will be permitted to make clear references to the Canadian Commission for UNESCO on all material related to the activity.