400,000 People Attend the Toronto Caribbean Carnival Parade

Saturday in Toronto, over 400,000 people were on site for the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival by mid-afternoon [also see previous post Caribbean Carnival Rocks Toronto This Weekend], among them artist and politician Olivia Chow. The Star reports:

After 45 years, the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival parade continues to draw people to the streets for a day of dancing, eating and people-watching in Toronto’s sweltering summer heat.  [. . .] Whether they come for the dancing and music, the food, or something else, the common denominator for the attendees is simple — it’s a lot of fun. “I thought she’d really like the music and the parade and all the costumes,” said Rob Morrison, father of 4 ½-year-old Katie. Like his daughter, it was Morrison’s first time at the festival. The family came from Kitchener to get to the festival this morning.

It was a sunny, hot day, but this didn’t deter families from participating in the festivities. Many sat with their children in the shade, getting up to dance or wave their flags when the masquerade bands passed by.  A handful of children slept on blankets in the grass, undisturbed by the thumping making its way down the streets.

For some of the adults, the festival held an obvious attraction. “There are so many beautiful costumes and ladies,” Benjamin Bartholomew said. Originally from Grenada, he’s been coming here for the last 10 years. There were also a few well-known faces that made their way around the route.  Olivia Chow, Trinity-Spadina MP proudly posed in her two-piece gold and pink winged costume, choosing to walk rather than ride, like some other politicians. “I’d rather dance,” she said. She’s been coming to the festival for decades, dressed up as everything from a tree to a loon. “The carnival brings all of us together,” she said. “It’s a unifying party where you can dance on the street; we’re celebrating Caribbean culture and new music.”

For original article, see http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1237238–caribbean-carnival-parade-takes-off

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