Caribbean Festival on the Lakeshore

Summer walking the Toronto lakeshore with Toronto Power Walkers offers plenty of diversion. Aside from deeply interesting conversations with other walkers, there are dragon boat races, fundraising walks, wildlife and lots of other waterside sights to see. But my favourite is what used to be called Caribana and is now called the Caribbean Festival. (Nope, I don’t why they changed the name.) It’s held on the Saturday of the Simcoe holiday weekend. So the dozen of us who started walking east at 7AM and returned shortly after 10, were able to watch the vendors setting up their stalls and families staking out a tree for their camp for the day.
There are three things that make this festival my favourite to walk by on a Saturday morning:

The first are the smells. The smell of real burning charcoal (and some propane), the meat grilling, the curry spices in the air, are true “island? smells and seem so appropriate on a hot summer day. I considered giving up breakfast and stopping for roti instead, but our gathering on the Grenadier patio is an important tradition so I kept going, mouth watering.

The second is the music. Blasting out of speakers and tinkling out of small devices, the plinking of steel drums and the persistent, reggae beat speak of a unique culture that has helped shape Toronto’s ethnic mix.

The third is less romantic. It’s the bathrooms. Usually, I have to pay attention to each bathroom I pass and assess if I’m in good shape to get to the next one. But on Caribana Saturday, there are a plethora of portapotties, every 500 metres. And at this time of day, they are still pristine. I stop, even though I could go on, just to enjoy the luxury of it.

Maybe next year, we should join a parade band and dance part of our distance?

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