The Toronto Caribbean Festival is back. This year’s festivities kicked off on July 11 at Nathan Phillips Square, promising attendees a “showcase of freedom and pageantry” at the 56th annual festival. Starting on Aug. 3 and continuing through Aug. 7, this cultural carnival in Toronto will feature a dazzling display of elaborate costumes and musical performances.
The Caribbean street festival takes place annually to commemorate the abolition of slavery in Canada, making it a fitting celebration for the Canadian weekend, known as Emancipation Day, according to the organizers.
The monthlong festival boasts a packed schedule of events, including the grand parade on Aug. 5 along Lake Shore Boulevard. Here are some of the other events.
The Junior King and Queen Showcase
On July 16, this showcase will display elaborate and brightly colored works of art. Adult tickets will cost $20, seniors at $15 and children aged 12 and under can enter for free. The Junior Carnival Parade will take place at Center and Neilson Park, where participants can march along Neilson Road in support of future revelers.
OCPA Calypso Competition
Scheduled for Saturday, July 30, at 5:30 p.m., both well-known and up-and-coming Calypso singers are welcome to participate and showcase their skills.
The King and Queen Showcase
On Aug. 3, from 5 p.m. to midnight, the King and Queen Showcase will be held, featuring the King and Queen costumes and performances by Mas Bands. Admission prices range from $50 for seniors and children under 12 to $60 for adults and teens with a VIP ticket option available at $140 for those aged 19 and up.
PAN LIVE Panorama
Taking place at Lamport Stadium on Aug. 4 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. with doors opening at 5:30 p.m., this event will showcase steel pan players from Toronto. Admission costs $40 for adults, $25 for seniors and $15 for children.
The Grand Parade
Returning to Lakeshore Boulevard and Exhibition Place on Aug. 5 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., the Grand Parade will feature thousands of masqueraders and Toronto’s best DJs spinning Soca music. While a paid area with plenty of food and beverages will be available, spectators can view the parade along Lakeshore Boulevard for free. Tickets for the paid area are priced at $20 for older adults and children under 12, $40 for teens and adults and $180 for VIP tickets for those 19 and older.
Pan in D’Park
Scheduled for Aug. 6 from 2 to 9 p.m. at Malvern Park/Malvern Recreation Centre, Pan in D’Park will feature the best steel bands and steel pan performers from Toronto. In addition to Old Mas characters, DJs, Calypso/Soca artists and other entertainment, this family event will include a marketplace and an amusement area.