In the mid-1960s, Canada's pending centennial anniversary fostered much excitement. Funding was offered and many groups began to think of ways to mark Canada's 100th year. Within Toronto's Black community, those having long roots in Canada, as well as those who had more recently arrived, joined together to plan. African liberation celebrations in May were uneasy gatherings. August 1st had been celebrated as Emancipation Day, the date reflecting the time of the legal end of African enslavement in British-controlled Canada and the Caribbean (August 1, 1834).
A new entity to reflect both the long-term and the more recent arrivals of the African diaspora in Canada was created to mark Canada's centennial, the abolition of enslavement and the potential for African independence, using the model of "carnival." Caribana was born, introducing new audiences to an interactive parade and raising the profile of African/Black/Caribbean foods, arts, culture, music and dance.
While it has grown to become the largest such event in the world, bringing in thousands of people to share in the experience, the goal of creating a Black community centre from the profits of Caribana has yet to be realized.
Caribana exhibit toasts African-Canadian achievement
A CBC news story about an art exhibit showcasing accomplishments of African Canadians that runs in conjunction with Toronto's annual Caribana festival.
An article about the history of Toronto's Caribana cultural festival. From the canadianimmigrant.ca website.
A photograph of performers taking part in the Caribana parade in Toronto. From the website ...and still I rise: A history of African Canadian Workers in Ontario 1900 to Present.
CBC and Caribana
An interactive timeline depicting the history of Toronto's Caribana celebration. Also check out the audio clips on the right side of the page. From the CBC Toronto website.
A 2008 press release about Scotiabank's partnership with the Festival Management Committee of Caribana to form Scotiabank Caribana. From scotiabank.com.
The website for Scotiabank Caribana features photos, stories and program info for this enormously popular annual Caribbean cultural festival in Toronto.
This article about Toronto’s Caribana festival is from the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.