The Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto (SCCT) chidren’s parade has been moved to a new location. It will now be held at Downsview Park.
There is no admission charge to Saturday’s event that allows families to picnic in the park after the parade.
“The park is much bigger and we wanted to add the Family Day component to this event,” said Festival Management Committee chief executive officer, Denise Herrera-Jackson. “The day will be full of activities with many performers, including representatives from Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago because those countries are celebrating their independence this year.”
She also said this year’s annual parade on Lakeshore Blvd. will be enhanced by two carnival village tents to be set up at Exhibition Place and Marilyn Bell Park.
“Patrons will have the opportunity to visit these tents and learn more about the festival and Caribbean art and culture while waiting for the bands to come along,” Herrera-Jackson said.
The theme of this year’s carnival is “Caring for Community.”
SCTT organizers will work with several local charities to help them raise funds, their profile and awareness in their community campaigns. The charities include the Children’s Breakfast Club, the Caribbean Children’s Foundation, Prostate Cancer Canada and the Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario.
Toronto city councillor, Joe Mihevc, said the city fully supports the festival that generates almost $450 million for the province and draws about 1.2 million party-goers from Toronto and around the world.
“We are 120 per cent behind the festival and it’s not just for money,” said Mihevc who has been the city’s liaison for the past 15 years. “We do it because it really is about figuring out how we honour diversity and heritage in a cultural way and how we make sure that each and every Torontonian feels that they have a place in this city. We don’t make any money.”
Mihevc said the city has approved $494,000 in cash for this year’s festival.
“This is in addition to the police, ambulance, garbage, public health and other services we provide,” he added.
Mihevc called on the federal government to do more to support the festival.
“I would be remiss, but I think at the same time we have to say it but the federal government needs to become a larger player,” he said. “They make a lot of cash from the festival and, frankly, in years gone by, they have not put in enough to make the festival happen.”
The federal government’s contribution this year is expected to be around $40,000. The festival will get $350,000 under the Celebrate Ontario initiative, which is $50,000 less than it received for last year’s event.
BY RON FANFAIR