Truck - errr Stormers on de Road - Caribana Parade Recap

Toronto’s Caribbean Carnival, formerly known as Caribana, is an annual event in Toronto, Canada celebrating Caribbean culture. This celebration showcases the heritage and traditions of Caribbean people through the music and mas. The Grand Parade features masqueraders dancing to the beat of soca music at Exhibition Place and Lakeshore Boulevard while spectators purchase food and drinks from local vendors. Toronto Caribbean Carnival attracts millions of visitors worldwide, making it North America’s largest Caribbean carnival.

Caribana 2014 is over, and I enjoyed playing mas in Canada for the second year in a row, BUT the Stormers have got to go! Even though I didn’t have my fete partner most of the weekend, I still had a great time. Here’s my full Caribana 2014 recap of my experience on the road.

Truck - errr Stormers on de Road - Caribana Parade Recap
Caribana 2014 – Toronto PD
Caribana 2014 Masqueaders
Caribana 2014 Masqueaders
Truck - errr Stormers on de Road - Caribana Parade Recap

Caribana Fetes

Like last year, the first event I attended for Caribana weekend was King and Queen. I loved the band’s mas displays, and it was pure joy to know that Carnival Nationz won. I also went to Shine, which wasn’t very memorable.

The BEST fete I visited was the Main Event: HD Edition, which included top artistes like the King of Soca: Machel Montano, Bunji Garlin, Fay-Ann Lyons, and Kerwin DuBois. Two words: PURE VIBES.

You can check out highlights from The Main Event in my video below

Carnival Nationz Band Launch and Registration

This year, my cousin and I decided to play with Carnival Nationz. Their theme for 2014 was Havana, and our section was Timba, which had pink and blue costume options. I initially wanted to buy the blue option, but it was sold out when registration was open.

A disadvantage of purchasing online was that past masqueraders and paying in full were not given first priority. However, due to the US Dollar being stronger than the Canadian Dollar, I paid less for my costume.

Carnival Nationz Costume Pickup

Due to my late arrival to Canada, my cousin picked up my costume after I sent a photocopy of my ID and written authorization. When ordering my costume, I didn’t realize how big my butt was, so my bottom was snug. This left me a bit self-conscious, but that went away once I was on the road.

*Pro Tip* Try on your costume before leaving the mas camp to ensure all items are included. Reach out to your section leader for any sizing issues.

On the Road with Carnival Nationz

I was NOT going to hear my aunt sing Iwer George’s “Bottom on de Road” all day, so I wore regular pantyhose under my costume bottom. I WISH I had worn flesh-toned tights, but this is what happens when you don’t plan accordingly.

Playing with Carnival Nationz was great, but the Stormers kept killing the vibes. For lunch, I had a chicken meal, which was pretty good. Below are some pics of us on the road with Carnival Nationz.

 
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? #caribana #carnivalnationz #joannaetravels

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King #caribana #carnivalnationz #joannaetravels

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Male Individual #caribana #carnivalnationz #joannaetravels

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Neeks n I #Timba #caribana #carnivalnationz @cnzinc #joannaetravels

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Caribana 2014 Overall Experience

Based on conversations with previous masqueraders this year, Stormers in the Caribana parade have been a problem for years. The main reason is likely the lack of knowledge of the purpose of playing mas. Masqueraders pay money to play mas and should be respected and protected.

Having played mas in Trinidad, I know Stormers are common. The biggest difference I’ve seen is their respect for the bands when crossing the stage. Carnival, in general, is a fun event, but it is also a COMPETITION. Despite the Stormer invasion, I tried my best to enjoy the day based on my understanding of the carnival culture.

Band of the Year?

Caribbean Vibrations TV posted a “no band of the year” photo on Instagram for Caribana 2014. This decision was apparently due to the lack of all bands crossing the second stage and the massive number of stormers along the parade route.

A few days later, it was announced that Carnival Nationz won the Band of The Year title.┬áStormers were my biggest pet peeve last year, and although Caribana is a more cost-effective alternative to Trinidad Carnival, I’m unsure if I will play again.

Read More Carnival Reviews and Tips

The Ultimate Trinidad Carnival Packing List + Free Printable

Carnival Makeup Inspiration for the Road

The Best Caribbean Carnival Hairstyles for Women

Have you attended the Caribana Parade in Toronto?

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