TORONTO, Canada — Toronto Pearson was full of bright colours, upbeat music and tropical island delights for arriving and departing guests to enjoy as the airport officially kicked off the 45th Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival on Tuesday in Terminals 1 and 3.
Traditional island music and steel pan drumbeats made their way through the airport during a parade featuring the world renowned Bahamian Junkanoo Legends and Canadian calypso pioneer and Juno winner, the legendary "Pan Man Pat."
"Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival has become the largest cultural festival of its kind in North America, and Toronto Pearson is thrilled to be a part of the kick-off celebrations for an amazing fifth straight year," said Jennifer Larson, Manager, Guest Experience Marketing, Toronto Pearson. "Today's parade of Caribbean talent was a fun way to welcome visitors to the GTA. It's always exciting to be able to surprise and delight our guests by bringing a unique, Toronto experience to life at the airport."
In addition to the musical talent, colourful masqueraders paraded their way through both terminals as a pre-show to the city's exciting three-week cultural explosion of Caribbean music, dance and food.
Just as has been happening for the past 45 years, last minute preparations are underway for this weekend's Caribbean Carnival. Thursday night the king and queen werel be chosen amidst a colourful ceremony at Lamport Stadium but that's just a taste of what to expect during the extravaganza.
For Marcus Eustace the work has been going on for what seems like forever. Eustace is the band leader of Carnival Nationz Mas Cap and more than 2,300 band members need outfits. "For the last four months we have been in this warehouse working 16 to 18 hour days," he said. But the work pays off. In the seven years they've been competing, they've won four times.
The festival's organizers are also going all out. "This is crunch time, show time, panic time, for the next two or three days," said Carnival spokesperson Stephen Weir. He says everything will be ready for the big parade on Saturday. The events run throughout the weekend.