This past summer, I had the opportunity to visit one of the most visited places in the world— Toronto, Canada. I must say that it was one of the best experiences of my life being that I was only there for 3 days. My main reason for going there was to attend one of the world’s biggest annual festivals. You guessed it, Caribana.
What is Caribana? The Toronto Caribbean Carnival, now formerly known as Caribana is a festival of Caribbean culture and traditions held each summer in the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is a Caribbean Carnival event that has been recognized as North America’s largest street festival and is attended by over 2 million visitors each year.
With it being my first time in Canada, I could not believe I was at Caribana for a minute as soon as I got to the location. It just so happened to be the weekend leading to Jamaica’s Emancipation Day so I was bound to be in for a great weekend of fun and celebration. It was my second day in Canada and I was ready to head out of the hotel room and make my way there. I came prepared with both my flags– (as you can probably tell, I come from a Jamaican background which I most certainly represent to the fullest!) I was decked out and ready to ‘fete!’ In case you were wondering, ‘fete’ is a another word for party, celebration, holiday, etc. As I’m arriving to the festival, I hear the beautiful and ever so vibrant sounds of steel pan, soca, calypso and reggae resonate through my ears. The beautiful costumes of the dancers in the parade color the entire scene and it is nothing but good vibes seeing all the floats slowly making their way down the street. Every time a favorite Caribbean song of mine played, my sister, brother and I never hesitated to hop up and dance. Usually at events like this, a lot of soca music is played to get people in the audience to get on their feet and dance.
During my time at Caribana, I was able to get some of the traditional authentic caribbean food. To my memory, I believe I had some delicious oxtail and rice and peas– the usual Sunday West Indian dinner. I was even able to capture pictures by some of the notable statues while at Caribana. If you look to the far right in the bottom picture between the letters ‘T’ and ‘O’ you could see me, my mom, and twin sister posing for the camera in the Toronto sign.
All in all, it was a great day and experience. Not only was it a great day but the weather was beautiful and hot, just the way a Caribbean girl like me loves it. I could go on and on but the experience is like no other once you’re there in person. Like I always say, “you have to experience it to feel it.”
I strongly encourage anyone to check out Caribana whenever they are taking a vacation in Canada. It is a must-see for any and everybody. I left Canada happy with one of my destinations crossed off my bucket list and to this day, my pride for my Caribbean culture will always remain at an all-time high. “Give it a visit nuh! Yuh nah guh disappoint yuhself” 🙂