Toronto Caribbean Carnival Parade
Saturday August 2nd, 2014 @ Exhibition Place & Lakeshore Boulevard
Toronto Caribbean Carnival Parade @ Exhibition Place & Lakeshore BoulevardThe Caribana parties and events are great but the main attraction of Toronto's Caribbean Carnival is the Grand Parade (North America's largest Caribbean Parade). With over a million people set to attend, this year's Caribbean Carnival Parade will start off inside Exhibition Place as the competing Masquerade Bands (also known as Mas Bands) will fill the stadium with live Soca, Calypso and Steeplan music! The elaborate costumes, props and lively dancers bring everything to life and add to this incredible experience that happens only once a year.
You can of course catch the Parade free of charge by lining up along the Lakeshore Parade route. However, if you want a comfortable seat within Exhibition Place (200 Princes' Blvd.) where you can catch the whole performance up close, tickets are affordable ($20 before tax) and considering the parade's length (approx 4-6 hours), it is definitely worth it.
The Caribbean calypso beat has been a staple at the Toronto Caribbean Carnival Parade since the festival's debut in 1967. Soca is newer to the scene, popping up about 15 years ago. For those not familiar with this sexier cousin of Calypso, its sound is faster and lyrically can be sexually charged or just plain comedic, depending on the song. Steelpans will be all over the parade route and Toronto's Caribana attracts some of North America's most skilful players.
The most important and biggest event of the the Caribana weekend is the Caribbean Carnival Parade and it kicks off August 2nd, 2014 starting at 9am and ends at 6pm (just enough time to get ready for one of Saturday's many Caribana nightlife celebrations). The Parade route begins at Exhibition Place, travelling down Lakeshore Blvd West and ends at Lakeshore and Parkside Drive (approximately 4.5 kilometres).