A report by Brooke Taylor for Toronto’s Metro.
Since that day, Hyacinth Noreiga involved herself in the carnival by making costumes for different bands and now she’s passed the tradition on to her daughters.
Hyacinth Noreiga and her family have deep roots in Toronto’s Caribbean Carnival.
The family tradition started years ago, when Noreiga lived in Trinidad and went to carnival there each year with her father and siblings.
“My dad just drove all eight of us down to the main city, and we all went every single year,” said Noreiga.
Noreiga didn’t get to participate much in Trinidad and Tobago’s carnival. It’s hard to afford costumes for everyone in a family of eight kids. However, she was able to buy her own for her last few years in Trinidad.
Then, in 1967, a year after she moved to Canada, Toronto hosted its very first carnival. Noreiga was crowned queen.
Noreiga was proud that Canada’s 100th birthday celebrations included Trinidadian culture.
“When they asked me to wear the queen costume, I was doubly proud,” she said.
The costume came from that year’s Trinidad and Tobago carnival and had been worn by the queen there.
“I remember people coming out from the stores because they could hear the music, and they came out of the stores onto the sidewalk to marvel at this spectacle of music and costumes,” said Noreiga.