Thousands of revelers took over the Lakeshore in downtown Toronto on Saturday, August 4, in a spectacular showcase of the music, color and excitement of carnival, as the city celebrated the 51st staging of Caribana.
The celebration got underway early in the day with several dignitaries in attendance including newly elected Premier Doug Forde, and Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders. It attracted well over 250,000 spectators from across North America and beyond.
About a dozen masquerade bands and four steelbands took to the Lakeshore before parading in front of the judges at Exhibition Center in Ontario Place.
The night before, Friday August 3, Montreal’s Salah Steelband Academy did itself and the city proud by placing fifth in the panorama competition staged at Lamport Stadium in mid-town Toronto.
The band, which has won the competition on several occasions, celebrated this result coming out of a tumultuous year in which a lingering dispute with the Cote des Neiges Black Community Association prevented them from practicing for well over three weeks.
The Academy, made up of a mixture of students and other young musicians together with more seasoned pan players impressed the judges and the audience with a well-arranged rendition of Year For Love by Salah Wilson.
Another highlight of the Caribana was the cancellation of what was supposed to be the blockbuster party of the year, Carnival Kingdom.
The event that was carded for Saturday night after Caribana in a parking lot at 7250 Keele Street in Vaughn, just north of Toronto was to have featured T&T’s mega soca stars Machel Montano, Voice, Bunji Garlin, Fay-Ann Lyons, Destra, Shal Mashall, Ravi B, Nisha B & Karma and Rupee of Barbados.
According to reports the officials at the City of Vaughn cancelled the permit for the fete around 7 PM that evening following some unresolved issues with organizers SOS Fest Inc. Productions.