July 14 2009 – August 3 2009
July 14 marked the official launch of Caribana 2009, and if the launch event was any indication of what to expect from this year’s Caribana, we’re in for a lot of whining and jukking!
The kick off event was held at Yonge-Dundas Square after having to move from its 42 year ritual at Nathan Phillips Square (due to the civic strike). But that didn’t stop the organizers from launching Caribana 2009. The aromas of roti, curry goat and jerk chicken were all lingering in the air as young and old of all backgrounds were there to enjoy the sweet sounds of the Caribbean. Grandparents and grand children alike were whining to soca as the sun was beaming down on them. You almost felt like you were actually in Trinidad (or Barbados, or Jamaica, or St. Vincent, or Guyana, or Grenada etc.).
Caribana has run annually since 1967, and was originally performed as a gift from Canada’s West Indian community, as a tribute to Canada’s Centennial year. Caribana celebrates all things Caribbean and is a testament to its lasting cultural influence on the world. To date, it draws in over 1.3 million revelers, at just the parade alone. It draws in hundreds of thousands of international visitors to our city and is considered to be North America’s largest street festival.
Despite the ongoing civic strike, Stephen Weir of Caribana has stated that they are going forth with 99% of the planned events and of course, the world famous parade on Lakeshore that takes place on Saturday August 1 2009. The only event that is in question right now is “De Caribana Scotiabank Lime” which was planned to be held at Olympic Island. If the strike continues into that weekend, there would be no ferry service to the island. But organizers are reported to be in discussion to move the event to a new location somewhere on the lakeshore. Whatever the case, you can’t stop the people from having their piece of the Caribbean.
Toronto, get ready for Caribana…we’re in for a big fete!