THE SCOTIABANK TORONTO CARIBBEAN CARNIVAL AND ISLAND SOUL FESTIVAL ADD SOME SPIRIT TO SUMMER IN THE CITY
Dance in the Streets
The always colourful Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival—affectionately known as Caribana—is one of summer’s liveliest street parties. More than 15,000 people are expected to take part in the August 1 parade, which wends its westerly way along Lake Shore Boulevard from Exhibition Place. Donning extravagant, and yes, sometimes barely-there costumes, revelers march and dance to the sounds of steel drums and Calypso singers. This year, in the spirit of the Pan Am Games, a number of floats celebrate the cultural heritage of such nations as the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica and Trinidad.
Head to the Lake
The rich and colourful tapestry of Caribbean nations is also honoured until August 3 as Harbourfront Centre presents Island Soul. A diverse program of music, dance, food, film and more features interactive steel pan workshops for kids, as well as lessons on Cuban dancing and moki jumbie, a stilt dance native to Trinidad. If you’d prefer to leave it to the professionals, Edwin Yearwood & Krosfyah bring their unique soca sounds to the waterside venue, while Ballet Creole presents a poetic fusion of Caribbean, Latin American and African traditions through dance and song.
Feed a Fiery Appetite
Craving a taste of the Caribbean? Laid-back Rhum Corner, from Toronto restaurateur Jen Agg and her island-born husband Roland Jean, is a hot spot for Haitian fare like oxtail and bean sauce, rice ‘n’ beans, and the oft talked about spicy coleslaw, pikliz. Of course there’s also lots of rum—many hard-to-get bottles line the bar. Over at Harlem, the modern takes on traditional Afro-Caribbean dishes include candied plaintains, deep-fried catfish morsels and a Caribbean curried vegetable stew. —Linda Luong