Though we’ve had an unusually rainy July, one of Toronto’s largest tourist attractions – and by far our biggest party – is practically synonymous with sunshine. Caribana has those of Caribbean descent – and those who just wish they were – jumping up all over the downtown.
And they’re praying the warm weather lasts.
A festival preview at the Jane Finch Mall had revelers bending over backwards to have a good time – check out the picture above.
Onlookers decked out in colourful outfits couldn’t wait to show off their threads:
“I’m going to be jumping up in my costume. It’s a lot of fun. I love to dance,” beamed Lasasha.
It’s the 41st year for the parade, and putting such a spectacle on year after year requires a lot more than dedication.
“I spent well over $830,000 already, just for the music,” admits bandleader Courtney Doldron. “The music alone runs you about eight or nine thousand [dollars.]“
And it’s not an investment.
“You try to break even,” he laughs.
One seamstress was busy assembling the glitzy dresses, and didn’t have time to put down her needle to chat.
“It’s coming up to crunch time, and everything has to be ready, and we still have a lot more work to do,” Gloria Whitney panted.
Hotels, too, are prepping for the event that generates more than $300 million for the city.
“Caribana’s been a fantastic festival every single year. I think it’s so many people want to come to this festival,” explains Margaret Reading of the Westin Harbour Castle.
She only has one complaint: ”If we see anything, it’s that we don’t have enough rooms for them for this weekend!”
As it is, all her rooms will be booked for ten days straight.
So what can first-timers expect?
“This city is going to explode,” promises Bobby Adore, Caribana’s marketing manager.
About 15,000 people participate in the parade alone, and a further million are expected to watch.