August Spotlight: Caribana 2008

20 August 2008 at 10:14 pm (Entertainment, Interviews, Local Events, Monthly Spotlight) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The number of visitors to Toronto were in the thousands. The numbers of people playing “mas” this year totalled just over 11,000. Toronto was alive and well during Caribana 2008. Lakeshore was alive with spectators, masquaraders, the tantalizing aroma of west indian food, colourful costumes, feathers, flesh (lol) and the beautiful sounds of steel pan. You had to be there to feel the energy. It started out with a bit of rain but ended up a sunny and warm day. Families and friends, young and old, people of every race, culture and ethnicity participated in this year’s parade. And most importantly, there was no violence. A great success, Caribana was definitely the highlight of my summer.
-Corprah Lanfrey

The parade route

The parade route

OK! So Caribana happened earlier this month and now that the hoopla, and the “pawty pawty” atmosphere has died down somewhat (but never for the soca freaks – lol), let’s ask some Caribana participants how it was at Caribana 2008:

Jenell Hylton:
Which band were you performing with this year?
This year I played with Louis Saldenah and our theme was The Deep. The section I participated in was called the Fighting Fish.

Have you always played mas or was this your first time? How was it?!
Growing up I have always gone to Caribana but never participated until two years ago. I also plan on playing again next year. After experiencing Caribana by being in the parade I don’t see it any other way. It’s just a different experience being in the parade with all my friends and having a great time. Its also exciting for my family to come and wait to see me. Being in the parade you are able to meet new people and possibly make new friends like I did this year.

Describe your costume.
My section represented the Fighting Fish. The costume consisted of a bra and shorts (I opted for the shorts and not the panty) with a belt and a head piece. (Not much to it) The colors were purple and blue. We had very big head pieces (which made the costume) that had a lot of feathers (purple and blue). The bra which was blue had purple beads and the beading went on the belt also.

Being that it is Caribana, we know there is dancing so… how scandalous was the dancing? Lol
Very scandalous. A lot of people have no shame. Nothing was left to the imagination but all in good humor.

Why not just attend the parade? Why did you want to participate in mas?
Two years ago it started as something to do and say “hey I did it once”. Now I could never see myself just going to Caribana and watching from the side. I know a lot of families who play mas together, and I can see why they do, because it is that much fun. The competition part is fun. Sizing up other costumes wondering how they are going to place.

Let’s be real: we know that a lot of people attend Caribana from far and wide. If you had to guess, how many accents did you hear in that one day? Including fake American accents 😉
Just at the parade alone I heard about 3 fake accents. The worse was when we went to a party a guy was pretending to be American but had identification that said Nova Scotia. I don’t see the point in pretending.



Amanda Gravesande:
What is your favorite soca song to “get on bad” to?
Truth be told, I am not a ‘soca’ head but when it comes to Caribana you can’t help but to get into the vibe. Its hard to choose just one good ‘wuk up’ song, because they all get your waist moving, but one of my personal favourites are “Party Animal” By Problem Child.

Amanda Gravesande

Amanda Gravesande

Were you nervous about any potential violence at Caribana this year?
Worrying about violence at Caribana is never an issue to me, everyone is there to enjoy the day. Despite past events, you cant let things like that stop you from having fun you have to keep the vibes positive.

Do you think you’ll go next year?
-Most definitely, I try to play mas every year It’s the highlight of my summer.

Do you know that Caribana was started as a celebration of the the abolishment of slavery? How do you feel about that?
-I think it was a great idea, I endorse anything that gets the community together to celebrate. The abolishment of slavery was a big thing for the black community so what better way to celebrate than through dance, food, people.

How was the food?
Since I played in mas, I didn’t really get a chance to eat that much aside from the food off of the mas truck. But the food is delightful and there is a variation to choose from the different carribean countries.

What are the essentials to bring to Caribana?
-Your Flag/Whistle
-Positive Attitude
-Money..Of course
-And some comfy shoes

Let’s be real: we know that a lot of people attend Caribana from far and wide. If you had to guess, how many accents did you hear in that one day? Including fake American accents 😉
LOL too many to count, everyone and their damn grandfather is american caribana weekend, I guess it’s the ‘cool’ thing. It being a predominatly carribean event, you hear many accents, I love it…so ethnic.

Bana 08 Revellers Representing Guyana

Bana '08 Revellers Representing Guyana

 To me, major events are like movies. You cannot fully comment on how you felt until way after the fact, after the hype and after the build up. This year’s Caribana sounded really, really good so if you weren’t there this year, I better see you jumpin’ up in 2009.

Aerial view of the parade

Aerial view of the parade



  1. Bookmarks about Animal said,

    […] – bookmarked by 6 members originally found by icesnow on 2008-11-16 August Spotlight: Caribana 2008 – bookmarked by 2 members originally found by jenka on […]

  2. Gabriela said,


    Great photos!

    ~ Gabriela ~

    • Corprah Lanfrey said,

      Thank you!

  3. 1991 said,

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    This great article has truly peaked my interest.

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    I opted in for your RSS feed as well.

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