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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Our visiter blogger friends' take on Toronto and Caribana - Toronto Caribbean Carnival

  • We have been venting too much lately, so here is a nice feel good post from a tourist.
     
    This review is from our carnival friend Caiso Queen who lives in the US and visited Toronto for the first time to attend Caribana. We met her through the blogger community surrounding Trinidad Carnival Diary.

     
    Toronto is an absolutely beautiful city. Extremely clean and well manicured. Obviously the economy in Ontario is booming as there was so much construction going on everywhere. I stayed in downtown Toronto and spent most of my time walking through the city observing the sites, eating at different restaurants and drinking at different pubs. Food and drinks are reasonably priced, however shopping for clothes and shoes is a huge NO NO.....way more expensive than in the U.S. I did very minimal souvenir shopping too.
    Toronto has the BEST and YUMMIEST hotdogs I have ever eaten. For $2.50 the hot dog meat was nice and plump and grilled and the hot dog bun lightly toasted. I must have eaten at least 4 hotdogs.... 1 a day.
    I went to the local liquor store LBCO I think. Umm Johnny Walker was ridiculously expensive. $54.95 for a small bottle. So we ended up drinking sky vodka. (our booze taxes are around 50%, it's how we pay for healthcare)
    The parade:
    I really, really appreciate the effort and expert design of the costumes. I was expecting to see mediocre designs at best, but the majority of the costumes were of great quality, very well made, color combinations on point, lots of back packs and collars and uniquely shaped headpieces. Bravo to all the designers!!
    What I did not like on most costumes was that frilly feathered butt piece that's used I guess to give coverage to butt area. I thought it looked tacky, like a tail.... very ugly. (oops, them is some fighting words)
    I also noticed that lots of sections within bands were chipping to NO music. That would have surely pissed me off.
    The parade itself I felt was not very organized. I think it would have made more sense to have the judging point located further into the route instead of at the stadium. Because once the masqueraders crossed the stage early on it seemed as though everything just went chaotic after that.
    I also wish that paying spectators were able to line the streets instead of being separated by high fences. Luckily we were smart enough to stay inside the barriers and followed the bands from the inside.
    Because of the high fenced barriers I noticed it was very difficult for emergency personnel to transport the sick and drunk out of the band and to the ambulance. Not a cool idea at all to have such high fences on both sides of the route like that.
    All in all I give the parade a 7 out of 10. Mostly because the costumes were all so beautiful. It was tough being a spectator as I'm used to being a masquerader. Would I play mas in Toronto... Sure! And definitely with Carnival Nationz because I loved their costumes the best.

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