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A Virtual Timeline Of Toronto Carnival

by Soraya Alcalá

In celebration of Black History Month, the Festival Management Committee, producers of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival (formerly Caribana), presents an interactive timeline documenting the history of Carnival and the celebration of Caribbean heritage in Canada.

Carnival: The Caribbean Experience, is a rich tapestry of artistic expressions from the Carnival Arts, which also highlights other aspects of Caribbean Culture and the achievements of persons of Caribbean ancestry in Canada.

The Caribbean shines brightly among Canada’s diverse cultures, reflecting an extraordinary blend of unity and community building. Starting with hundreds of pioneering producers, performers and revelers on University Avenue and evolving into the spectacle of a million people on Lakeshore Boulevard, the timeline showcases the richness, growth, and beauty of Caribbean culture.

The Virtual Timeline project aims to be the most comprehensive, collaborative, and accessible resource available. The collection includes an abundance of images, articles, and videos, all telling a story. Understanding that continued engagement with history is vital as it provides context for the present, the timeline memorializes and commemorates what was, educating current and future generations of our Carnival Community on their ancestral roots.

Experiencing the dreams that became achievements deserves a moment of reflection. During Black History Month, the Toronto Caribbean Carnival reflects on the past, to celebrate Canadian-Caribbean heritage, looking towards the future of Carnival Arts post Covid-19.

Visitors are encouraged to explore, engage, and contribute to the timeline, making it an interactive and living history of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival.

“Whether you’ve built a costume, played in a band, made corn soup, or watched from the stands, we live this adventure together, keeping this tradition alive,” says Joe Halstead, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Festival Management Committee. “We want you to share those memories with us.”

To contribute to the timeline project, our virtual visitors can go online to www.torontocarnival.ca/history to upload their photos, videos, journal entries, and other multi-media materials, which will be selectively reviewed by the archive team for inclusion.

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