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Caribana 2019: Things To Do & Events You Cannot Miss

By Kelsey Marie

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It’s that time of the year in Toronto where it’s appropriate to whine and wok up ya waist. From August 1-5, if you’re in Toronto, you’ll be able to experience the Toronto Caribbean Carnival.

This carnival, known as Caribana, is the largest street festival in North America. Attending will expose you to the people, food, music, and culture of people across the Caribbean diaspora.

Caribana started out as a three-day event but has now expanded into three weeks of celebrations. The days surrounding the Grand Parade are filled with events.

To get the most out of your Caribana experience, check out these events and experiences:

August 1

Kings And Queens Showcase

One of the carnivals most talked about events, the showcase is where mas bands compete for top prizes for their costumes. Each band put their all into their King and Queen costume.

Attend this event and you’ll see the intricacies of costume-making while learning about the importance of mas costumes throughout the Caribbean.

Shea Moisture Pop-Up

This hair brand is loved by many and they’re sharing the love with a masterclass! Shea Moisture kicked off their 4-day pop-up shop on Wednesday with this masterclass being their main event. Sister Scientist, a chemical engineer, and product junkie will be sharing tips and important hair information over Caribbean-themed food and drinks.

Toronto Botanical Garden

Back for its second year, with an entirely new collection just for the Toronto Botanical Garden, the ZimSculpt team will be back with a spectacular display of sculptures made by hand from stone brought from the Zimbabwean mountains. The exhibition runs from June 28 through September 8, 2019. Admission is free.

Live-Sculpting

Throughout the exhibition, artists-in-residence, Brighton Layson and Passmore Mupindiko will be live-sculpting, demonstrating their carving techniques and intricate handiwork. You can watch them work under the Marketplace tent in the Perennial Border.
Daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

August 2

Pan Alive

The steelpan is the only acoustic instrument to be invented in the 20th century. Although it was invented in Trinidad, the musical instrument is played all around the Caribbean.

Enjoy the sounds of the steelpan at the Pan Alive steelpan competition which has all of the best steelpan bands vying for the title of Best Band.

Island Soul Comedy Night

Some of the funniest comedians come together to bring you the Island Soul Comedy Night. This event is located in Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre during the Island Soul Festival, running alongside Toronto Caribbean Carnival events.

Free Weekend Zimsculpt Tours

Meet the ZimSculpt curators, and take a behind-the-scenes tour of the exhibition while learning more about Shona sculptures. 
Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

August 3

The Grand Parade

This is the highly anticipated main event. If you’ve picked a mas band and costume, then you’re officially ready for de road! Masqueraders dance down the Lakeshore in a sea of beautiful costumes. If you want to go to observe instead of dancing with a mas band, you’ll experience music, dancing, amazing food and the true essence of Caribbean culture.

Afiwi Dance Workshop

If you’d rather stay away from the parade, you can still have fun at the Afiwi Dance Workshop. this dance school teaches AFro-Caribbean and West African dance styles. It doesn’t matter if you’re a shy dancer — just get in, have fun and move your waist!

August 4

Summer Love

You can purchase a regular or all-inclusive ticket to the Summer Love party which is guaranteed to be lit. There will be food, drink and musical performances by West Indian stars such as Kes The Band and Ravi B.

OVO Fest

Drake brings this fest to ‘the 6’ on August 4 and 5. There will be performances by B2K, Mario and The Ying Yang Twins. Drake performs on night two of the festival.

August 5

Family Carnival Crafts

Spend quality time with your family at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre. There will be afternoon craft making and Karen Bell Higgins, a visual arts instructor, will teach you how to make cultural masks and Afro-Caribbean inspired necklaces. You’ll even be able to take home the crats you make!

Summer Wave

This boat cruise is the perfect way to close out Caribana festivities. Toronto’s top DJ’s will be playing a mix of reggae, soca, dancehall, and hip-hop. Dance the night away on this beautiful boat.

With so much to do and see, we doubt you’ll have a dull moment during Caribana.

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Kelsey Marie

Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @kelseydashmarie

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