The Toronto City Workers strike did not prevent the recent Salsa on St. Clair Festival, and proves to be no deterent to the launch of the 2009 Caribana Festival either. Thousands packed into Younge-Dundas square yesterday for the official launch of Toronto’s fourty-second annual Caribana Festival, one of North America’s biggest cultural street festivals.
Caribana celebrations have been launched at Nathan Phillips Square every year since 1967, but striking municipal workers have been picketing in front of City Hall for more than three weeks. So the Caribana organizers simply moved the party elsewhere.
The follow is a video of some of the dancers who performed at the launch: A “taste of what is to come!”
About the Caribana Festival
First held in 1967, the Caribana Festival now attracts close to one million participants, including a large number of spectators, celebrities, musicians, and “Mas” players from all over the world including North America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
The “Carnival” was introduced to Canada by immigrants from Trinidad and Tobago, who introduced much of the music associated with the event, such as steel pan, soca (calypso), etc. Caribana has expanded to include the carnival traditions and music of many Caribbean nations, notably reggae, which originated in Jamaica.
The festival lasts two weeks, culminating in a massive and colorful four-mile-long “Parade of Bands” along Lakeshore Boulevard in Toronto on the final weekend. This weekend traditionally coincides with the Ontario statutory holiday Simcoe Day named after John Graves Simcoe who, amongst others, abolished slavery in Upper Canada in 1810.