Saturday morning brought sights, sounds and colour to Lake Shore Avenue and Exhibition Place as the Caribbean Carnival Grande Parade made its triumphant return to Toronto.
The parade is celebrating its 55th anniversary after the pandemic forced cancellations in both 2020 and 2021. According to the event’s website, “the Caribbean tradition of parading through the street was founded in celebration of freedom and emancipation from slavery.”
“I’m feeling pumped, I’m feeling excited,” said Chancois Christopher, one of the attendees. He said he waited a long time for the event and was looking forward to tapping into his culture.
“We haven’t been able to do it for so long,” he said.
Thousands lined the parade route, including Toronto mayor John Tory and federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.
“Carnival has a really special place in the heart of a lot of Canadians and Torontonians,” said Singh, who said he was excited to “jump up,” a form of dancing that takes place at Carnival.
“We are better off when we come together,” Singh said.
Tiffany James, who is Trinidadian, has always wanted to take part in the parade.
“Carnival is a big part of the culture,” she said.
James and her friend Elizabeth Jones awoke at 5 a.m. to prepare their costumes. Jones said she expects the event to be “pretty wild” after two years of pandemic closures.
Both Jones and James are part of Toronto Revellers, one of the mas bands taking part in the parade. Organizers expect 10,000 masqueraders to take part in the event.
The parade will continue until 8 p.m. and is expected to draw large crowds.