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SHOOTING BREEZE: Toronto Caribana

  • Written by  Mike “Raffie Knowles” Mc Quilkin TVOS
SHOOTING BREEZE: Toronto Caribana

They came from near and far arriving on foot, bicycles, automobiles, trains, and aircraft from the ten provinces and three territories across Canada, the USA, and other foreign countries, assembling in Toronto to either participate in or witness the annual Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival, once known as Caribana and still being called just that by the masses. 


Now in its forty-sixth year and third year of sponsorship and guidance under the reign of Scotia Bank, after years of squabbling at the hands of its own Caribbean people, and with fingers being pointed at former members for allegedly possessing more tricks than Houdini and our own Professor Zargo, the operations were placed into the hands of Scotia Bank, and thus far the ship seems to be sailing along in smooth waters with a few ups and downs to be taken cared of.

Unlike their counterparts in St George’s, who are short of day-to-day ideas and vision for expansion into the future, because they are stuck in a cheap liquor and free sunshine dream and being constantly being left on the shores and the gates, the Canadians are not afraid of accepting ideas from others and trying to implement what’s best from the lot in their effort to make the event a success and a better product to sell.

From 1967 to present great strides were made, and more could have been achieved if the previous controllers had only given an ear to the public; but they didn’t and now it has turned into a profit-making bonanza for entrepreneurs - from the souvenirs and newspaper vendors, right up to the multi-million dollar corporations, while they are sitting and grumbling that the thing is “we ting”.

It’s documented that the entire two weeks, right up to the weekend activity, generates more dollars and cents into the local economy than any other event. With twelve bands on parade and members counting from a few hundred to almost five thousand revelers per band, it was a day for you to be present to see and not read or hear about.

After weeks of preparations jogging and hitting the gyms, both male and female especially the females wanted to be sure that they had enough condition to go the distance like the late great Ethiopian Olympian Marathoner Abebe Bikila. With over one million spectators standing and seated with little on sale to eat and drink, there was no holding back as the lovely ladies in their costumes called on their bodies for movements when the pulsating sound and rhythm of the calypso beat filled the atmosphere, and some of them - both male and female definitely went a bit too far with their dancing styles.

At no time did it call for any x-rated, vulgar, lewd, disgusting, and disrespectful performance, but leave it up to us and we would find a way to spoil a good thing. Why should a woman subject herself to spreading her legs open and bending forward and having a male humping on her butt like two dogs having sexual intercourse? It’s a tasteless thing that was started in Trinidad, and now in full bloom across the world wherever there is a Caribbean party or carnival.

Right now it’s woman on woman and man on woman, and the time is coming soon when we are going to see man on man. There is danger looming, because, if a gay or lesbian whines on a straight man or woman on, a fight is guaranteed to erupt, and that’s why we all should be calling for and end to the practice.

The steel bands took to the Lake Shore Boulevard and never bothered to parade in front of the paying seated spectators. Why? The other fault that had plagued the day, was the inability of the organizers to provide enough restrooms knowing very well that over a million spectators are usually on hand to witness the parade.

With no signs to direct one to the location of the restrooms, many women in their tiny skimpy bikini costumes and some in their full one-piece reverted to using the underground entrance to the exhibition building to empty their bladders in full view of spectators granting a free x-rated show again. When the two operating restrooms were found, long lines were jetting out the doors with women standing on line in the men’s room too.

With no food vendors in sight in the vacant parking lot the size of three football fields adjacent to the bleachers were three vendors - one selling Smoothie, another selling Hotdogs, and a large section cordoned off to purchase and drink beers, and when one drinks beers his or her bladder sure goes to work; so why didn’t they think of portable restrooms?

It’s my hope that after reading this article, members of the organization would wise up and do the correct thing for next year, and I’ll leave you taking with me the memories of Scotia Bank 2013 Caribbean Carnival. Correct me if I am wrong, and support me if I am right. I am Mike “Raffie Knowles” Mc Quilkin TVOS.

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