Tuwauna Hibbert is a first year public relations student at Humber College.
It’s becoming that time of year again when all you can think about is your summer plans once school finishes. Should I go on vacation? Work part-time? Go on a road trip with a few friends? Why not enjoy what Toronto has to offer? Why not go enjoy Toronto’s Caribbean Festival, also known as Caribana. I always try and base my summer around Caribana. Sometimes I even find myself getting involved in any way I can. Today I’m going to tell you a little about one of Toronto’s biggest festivals and how to participate.
July 28 to August 1 is the busiest weekend Toronto has ever seen in the past 48 years. Over a million people (from all over the world) come to experience the taste of the Caribbean in Canada. I’m guessing your wondering what steps to take to gain the full experience? Here are a couple things to do when you come to the 6ix.
- Hotel Packages: If you’re coming from the farther parts of the GTA or even out of the country, the best suggestion I have for you is to get a hotel. There are hotels all over the downtown region offer hotel specials. From the Hilton Hotel to the Shangri-La Hotel, there are three options that each hotel has to offer depending on your preferences. There’s the double, triple and quad package that is made by how many people are in your room. Just remember… the more people in your room the cheaper it’ll be. The packages also come with event tickets that you can choose from for each night.
- Mas Bands: Now to experience the fullness of the parade. Every year there are 10 different groups that perform for the title of Band of the Year. Each band picks a theme and creates their costumes and designs their trucks/floats according to that idea. For example, Carnival Nationz’ theme was Broadway. They came out with about five different costumes for males and females based on Broadway musicals. Another band named Carnival Fusion had the theme of poison animals and bugs. Each costume consists of colourful gems, feathers, beads and other materials to bring beauty onto the street.
- The Parade: The day everyone has been waiting for. The day where all the food trucks from every Caribbean island come together and sell their delicious goodies. All the bands compete for the trophy inside the Exhibition Place. Bystander’s will be hopping gates or entering from the designated entrances to join the trucks and masqueraders on the road. The load music blasting from each float whether it’s soca, calypso, hip-hop, rap, or dancehall, it’ll be filling the air. Everyone waving their flag in unison or even to their own beat and dancing. It’s quite a workout now that I think about it.
Here’s a video that highlights one of last years bands’, Saldenah:
- Nightlife Events: Now I can’t forget about the parties that go bump in the night AND during the day while the spirit of Caribana dwells in the city’s air. This is also a great opportunity to meet a bunch of celebrities like Trey Songz, Ludacris, Fabulous and many more (plus these are just the few regulars that invade our city each year). A lot of other events happen as well like soca fetes, dancehall parties, rooftop parties and boat cruises. Don’t take the events for granted; they are a great time to work up that cardio and hear your favourite songs pound through your body like the beat of your heart.
Remember it will be costly but completely worth it! Having a memorable experience with a few of your friends in a different city that loves diversity and culture is one not worth missing out on.
I will leave you with this though:
(Here’s a website that covers everything you need to know about Toronto’s Caribana)