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Monday, July 13, 2009

Same story ... two spins

Strike may affect location of three major Caribana events

Web Staff, cp24.com

Revelers dance on Lakeshore Boulevard during the Caribana Parade in Toronto on Saturday, Aug. 2, 2008. (Aaron Harris  / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Scotiabank Caribana organizers are waiting to find out if three major festival events have to be moved due to conflicts related to Toronto's civic workers strike.

The large Saturday parade along Lake Shore Boulevard will proceed, and the city has assured Caribana organizers that there will be garbage pick-up and EMS on hand, much like it did for the Pride Festival in June.

That's not the case for the King and Queen competition and Pan Alive events scheduled for July 30 and 31 at Lamport Stadium, located near King and Dufferin Streets.

The stadium is owned by the city, which may prove to be a sticking point in the ongoing dispute between the city and the union.

Caribana spokesperson Stephen Weir says that festival organizers are capable of executing the event without city staff help, but adds they don't want to get between the city and the union.

He says both events will go ahead even if they have to move locations.

The festival's annual Island Weekend concert on the Toronto Islands may also be in trouble, as ferries are out of service since the strike began. The concert is scheduled for Olympic Island on Aug, 2. but may end up moving to Ontario Place, says Weir.

Tuesday's official Caribana launch party was supposed to be a Nathan Phillips Square, but has been moved to Yonge-Dundas Square instead.

Now we get to the same story as reported by ctvtoronto.ca

And it begs the question of cancellation Vs new venues.

Or maybe it raises the issue of editorial slant, and its affect on public perception

Strike threatens to cancel Caribana festivities

Updated: Sun Jul. 12 2009 6:35:55 PM


Organizers of Toronto's Caribana festival say they are nervous the city's civic strike will ruin this year's celebrations as several events are now facing cancellation.

The strike has frozen city services for the past three weeks including garbage pickup. The Caribana festival weekend draws about a million people to the city but organizers say they don't have the money to hire private contractors.

Joe Halstead, the chair of the festival management committee, told CTV Toronto that organizers will do what they can to manage the garbage situation.

"The parade will go on," he said. "What we will do is arrange with the city to hopefully help us with some management staff and we will get a host of volunteers from our community to help us with garbage pickup after the festival."

The city's management was called in to help pick up trash after Toronto's popular Pride parade in June. The streets were clean by the next morning.

However, garbage isn't the issue that is posing the biggest threat to the festivities.

The much-anticipated Caribana launch party -- which has been held at Nathan Phillips Square for the past 42 years -- had to be moved so that picketers would not interfere with the party.

The launch party will now be held at Yonge-Dundas Square at the cost of $10,000.

Caribana's king and queen competition and the Pan Alive competition could be cancelled, as they are both held at Lamport Stadium -- a city-owned facility that is being regularly picketed by striking city workers.

"If we don't find an alternative venue that works for us logistically and financially then it won't happen," said Falstead.

The Olympic Island party is also in jeopardy as the strike has halted all ferry services to the Toronto Islands.

Falstead say Ontario Place is the first choice for an alternative venue.

Toronto's business community stands to lose millions of dollars in revenue if the events are cancelled. Caribana, which always takes place on the first weekend of August, typically draws in visitors from all over the U.S. and Canada.

With a report from CTV Toronto's Karlene Nation

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