end July
Toronto, Ontario (ON)

The Scotiabank Caribana Festival is an exciting three-week cultural explosion of Caribbean music, cuisine, revelry and visual and performing arts culminating in the spectacle of Parade Day on the Lakeshore with a kaleidoscope of music, colourful costumes, theatrical masquerade band displays, steel bands, and mouth-watering feasts of Caribbean cuisine.

Now over 43 years old, Caribana attracts over 1.4 million visitors each year and has become a major international event and is the largest cultural festival of its kind in North America. In fact, Caribana was one of the first Caribbean carnivals, along with those in New York and Boston, USA, and Notting HIll in London, England to be celebrated away from the Caribbean.

Visitors no longer have to be in the Caribbean to feel the pulse, rhythms and melodies of Calypso, Soca, Reggae, Chutney, Steel Pan and Brass Bands.

Originally modeled after the Trinidad and Tobago carnival, Caribana offers many of the same features, such such as a King and Queen of the Bands Competition, and a two-day Caribbean art festival on Toronto's Olympic Island.

At the climax of the festival, the Scotiabank Caribana Parade begins mid-morning with several guest bands followed by more than 10,000 costumed players from over 14 competing masquerade bands who parade in front of the judges before they head out onto Lakeshore Boulevard.

A large Caribbean population spends months preparing elaborate masquerade costumes to take part in the 1.5km (1 mile) procession of floats.

Each band must portray a theme suitable of the Carnival masquerade tradition, and a panel of volunteer judges adjudicate each band based on the following criteria

Visual Impact (max. 20 marks)
Authenticity (10)
Creativity (20)
Mas on the Move (10)
Clarity of Theme (10)
Presentation (20) and
Craftsmanship (10) for a total of 100 marks.

The judges’ decision is announced at the end of the parade.

The best way to view the Caribana parade is via the conveniently-located bleachers positioned on either side of the judges’ tent. General seating tickets are $20 for adults and $17 for children and seniors; general seating. There is also access from the bleachers to Caribbean food, licensed bars and bathrooms.

Travelling to the Caribana Festival is best done by public transit. By bus, the best routes are the 511 bus from Bathurst Station, the LRT from Union Station to Exhibition Place, or the 29 bus south from Dufferin Station. By rail, the Lakeshore GO train goes straight to Exhibition Place, the main hub of activity.

For more information about Caribana visit the official Caribana web site at

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