CARIBANA™ ARTS GROUP (CAG) reports a record 1.2 Million attendees at this year’s Caribana parade!
All along Toronto’s famed Lakeshore Boulevard West, from the CNE to Palais Royale, revelers and spectators celebrated the spirit of being free, and enjoyed energetic soca music as masqueraders danced, “chipped” and “jammed” in colourful costumes. The parade, made up of steelbands, competing mas bands and guest bands, made its way along the three-kilometer parade route ensuring that spectators enjoyed the sights and sounds of Caribana.
The parade, created by the CAG (formerly the Caribbean Cultural Committee), and now in its forty-third year, was opened with a blessing by a religious leader dressed in flowing African robes. He prayed for Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, Ontario’s Premier, Dalton McGuinty and Toronto’s Mayor, David Miller. He also noted the true meaning behind mas and Caribana, which is the emancipation of Africans from slavery.
CAG Chair, Henry ‘King Cosmos’ Gomez said, “We are very pleased with the impact our festival of the Caribbean Carnival Arts has had on Toronto over the years. We are also proud to maintain our reputation of being the largest festival of its kind in North America, and to welcome others from around the world to have a taste of our distinctly Caribbean culture. However, going forward, the CAG would like to see relations improve with the FMC and the City of Toronto.”
Some of the dignitaries on hand for this year’s Caribana parade included Michael Ignatieff, leader of the Federal Liberal party, Gerrard Kennedy, member of Parliament, George Smitherman and Rocco Rossi, mayoral candidates for the city of Toronto and Margaret Best, liberal MPP.
About CARIBANA™ ARTS GROUP (CAG):
CARIBANA™ ARTS GROUP (CAG), formerly known as the Caribbean Cultural Committee (CCC) was incorporated in 1967 for the purpose of celebrating Canada’s Centennial. The CAG is the legal owner of the CARIBANA™ Festival, and is chaired by Henry Gomez. In 2006, the City of Toronto appointed the Festival Management Committee to manage the CARIBANA™ Festival for one year.
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Pictured: Henry 'King Cosmos' Gomez and Michael Ignatieff