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Every summer, Toronto blazes with the excitement of calypso, steel pan and elaborate masquerade costumes during the annual Toronto Caribbean Carnival Festival held during the beginning of August.
Toronto Caribbean Carnival is celebrating its 44th anniversary in 2011, and it is the largest Caribbean festival in North America. Presented by the Festival Management Committee, in collaboration with the Toronto Mas Band Association (TMBA), the three week festival attracts over a million participants annually, including hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world. Among the highlights is the Parade, featuring thousands of brilliantly costumed masqueraders and dozens of trucks carrying live soca, calypso, steel pan, reggae and salsa artists. Participants jam the 1.5 km parade route all day, to the delight of hundreds of thousands of spectators.
The Toronto Carnival was created in 1967 as a community heritage project for Canada’s Centennial year. Based on Trinidad Carnival, the Festival now also includes the music, dance, food and costumes of Jamaica, Guyana, the Bahamas, Brazil and many other cultures represented in Toronto. To raise awareness that racialized workers are also public sector workers and to continue to organize within racialized communities, our Union – the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) –is continuing its participation in Carnival. CUPE is emphasizing team building and engaging Racialized workers to build their capacity as members and engage with the community to profile the Union in a positive manner.
In conjunction with band leader Whitfield Belasco, CUPE is organizing a presence in the Carnival and is actively involved with a Mass Camp workshop. Through our involvement CUPE will also use this as an important opportunity to showcase racialized workers in Ontario as public sector workers who play a vital role in making Ontario a better place.
CUPE’s Carnival Theme for 2011 is “CELEBRATIONS”
As union members and members of the community we are celebrating through art, music and theatre all important aspects to BUILD A BETTER ONTARIO.