Colorful, feathered costumes and booming soca music engulfed Toronto’s Exhibition Place and Lake Shore Boulevard Saturday, July 30 as carnival lovers celebrated the return of the Caribbean Carnival’s grand parade amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Canadian Press.
It said the carnival is also a large tourist attraction for Toronto, with many attendees traveling to the city from across North America.
The Canadian Press said that crowds stretched for kilometers along the parade route, with spectators setting up lawn chairs and enjoying food from vendors, waiting to catch a glimpse of the glittering costumes and parade floats.
It said Toronto Mayor John Tory and federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh were among parade participants.
“We’re just excited to be able to get back ‘on de road,’” Chair of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival Board, Laverne Garcia told CP24.com.
It said that, after a two-year pandemic hiatus, the 55th anniversary of the parade was one of the bigger ones, with over 10,000 masqueraders.
CP24.com said the parade is held annually during the August long weekend, which is also recognized as Canada’s Emancipation Day weekend.
“The parade was gifted to Canada by the Caribbean community during the country’s centennial celebrations,” it said.
Garcia said it’s an amazing feeling to celebrate carnival in-person once again, according to CP24.com.
“After two-and-a-half years of lockdown and people having been mandated to separate and not be in community, it’s amazing to see people coming out again and just be so excited to participate in carnival,” she said.
“It’s interesting to me how Toronto as a whole has really embraced carnival,” she added. “And for a lot of people, it’s just part of what summer means for them in Toronto.”