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Toronto Carnival cancelled for the first time in 52 years

TORONTO — The Toronto Caribbean Carnival, originally scheduled to run through July and August, has been cancelled for the first time in over five decades.

The Board of Directors of the Festival Management Committee says that due to the continued developments concerning the spread of COVID-19, cancelling the event is in the public’s best interest.

The cancelled events include the Festival Launch, Junior King and Queen Show, Junior Parade, Adult King and Queen Show, Pan Alive, and Grand Parade.

The committee says it came to its decision in consultation with its stakeholders, including the Bandleaders, Ontario Steelpan Association (OSA), Organization of Calypso Performing Artists (OCPA) as well as its partners and other related cultural organizations. Taking into consideration the crowds that attend the events, the committee says the decision to cancel this year’s festival was unanimous, adding that the priority was the health and safety of its patrons.

For the past 52 years, the Toronto Caribbean Carnival (formerly Caribana) has delivered an exciting summer festival featuring elaborate costumes, Caribbean music, and food in its Grand Parade. Stakeholders, participants and volunteers typically begin preparation for the King and Queen Show and the Grand Parade six months in advance of the scheduled events.

Given the importance and economic value of this festival to the city, the province, the federal government, the tourism industry, and the Caribbean community, organizers say they will work with stakeholders to assist the city with recovery efforts.

Should the circumstances change, and permit restrictions lifted by July 1, 2020, organizers say they will seek to celebrate together in a non-traditional format the weekend of Aug. 1, 2020.

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