|Colourful costumes are a big part of the Caribbean Carnival Grand Parade on Lake Shore Blvd. in Toronto Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012. (VERONICA HENRI/QMI Agency)
The scorching heat didn’t stop thousands of people from heading to Exhibition Place to catch a glimpse of the colourful costumes and elaborate floats at the Caribbean Carnival on Saturday.
“I came to celebrate my culture in Toronto,” said Annie Shwartz, who was excited to see the Grand Parade that began at Exhibition Place and continued onto the 4-km route along Lakeshore Blvd. W. to Parkside Dr.
The parade this year was estimated to draw up to one million people, many enjoying the sights from the stands at Exhibition Place where the parade began with masqueraders flaunting their bejeweled outfits and floats.
The music was thumping, the sequins on the costumes were shimmering in the sun and performers and spectators alike were snapping photos of the spectacle with their cell phones.
Bjorn McCree,28, and Jennifer Paul, 27, both originally from Trinidad, said the carnival is an opportunity to show their pride in where they’re from. They were both performing in the parade for the first time and were wearing turquoise costumes with huge yellow jewels sewn into their ensembles.
“We’ve performed in Trinidad before but never here. This is a chance for us to show we’re proud Torontonians but also members of the Caribbean public,” McCree said.
John Lee, 30, said there was no way he was performing but was happy to stand along the parade route and enjoy the afternoon.
“I came for the party, the music and the women,” he said, grinning.
Alicia Spencer, 10, who came with her mother and sister, said looking at the costumes was her favourite part.
“It’s so much fun because you get to see all kinds of outfits,” she said.
The Grand Parade was scheduled to close Lakeshore Blvd. W., between Colbourne Lodge Dr. and Stachan Ave., from Saturday at 1 p.m. to Sunday at 6 a.m.
The carnival officially wraps up next weekend with a closing festival church service at St. James Cathedral.