Toronto, get ready. The annual Caribbean Carnival is happening this weekend. Whether you’re going out with friends, family or to party, there will be something fun for everyone to enjoy.
Here’s everything you need to know about this weekend’s festivities:
The Grand Parade
After two years of pandemic-related cancellations, Toronto Caribbean Carnival’s Grand Parade is back this year at Exhibition Place.
The Grand Parade will run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. An opening ceremony will kick the day off at 9:30 a.m. and the parade will begin at 10 a.m. Most of the parade will take place along Lake Shore Boulevard. Only registered participants and masqueraders are allowed on the parade route itself, but it’s free for spectators along Lake Shore. You won’t be able to get to the Lake Shore through Exhibition Place, so plan accordingly.
Depending on which side of Lake Shore you plan to watch from, parks will offer amenities like washrooms and emergency services — on the east side, at Ontario Place; on the west side turn to Marilyn Bell Park where there will also be food vendors.
At Exhibition Place, there is ticketed bleacher seating for viewing the parade. The grounds also offer live music, food vendors highlighting Caribbean cuisine and a beer garden.
Tickets and more information are available online at torontocarnival.ca.
Plan to take GO Transit or the TTC as parking will be scarce.
Some roads will be closed for Carnival from 2 a.m. on Saturday to 8 a.m. on Sunday:
• Lake Shore Boulevard West from Colborne Lodge Drive to Bathurst Street
• Strachan Avenue from Fleet Street to Lake Shore Boulevard West
• Jameson Avenue from Springhurst Avenue to Lake Shore Boulevard West
• Dunn Avenue at Springhurst Avenue
• Dufferin Street at Springhurst Avenue
• Fort York Boulevard between Fleet Street and Lake Shore Boulevard West
• The westbound Gardiner Expressway off-ramp to Dunn and Jameson Avenues (Exit 149)
Pan Alive Steel Pan Showcase
Steel pan is traditionally associated with the Caribbean islands and is a cornerstone of calypso and soca music. Pan Alive, put on by the Ontario Steel Pan Association, will showcase the bright and vibrant sounds of the steel pan at Lamport Stadium on Friday. Tickets are available at torontocarnival.ca.
Party with basketball legends
Toronto, this weekend is your chance to party with two NBA legends.
On Friday, American basketball superstar LeBron James is kicking off Carnival weekend hosting the sixth annual DAYLIGHT party at Lavelle’s rooftop pool and lounge bar. Tickets for the event are available on Ticket Gateway for $200. The event is organized by Toronto Caribbean Carnival and James’ tequila brand, Lobos. The party is from 1 to 7 p.m. at 627 King St. W.
And, fresh off the Warriors’ NBA championship, all-star basketball player Andrew Wiggins is in town hosting a party at Arcane nightclub on Saturday celebrating Carnival weekend. This is the official parade after-party and will go from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. at 461 King St. W. Tickets are available on Ticket Gateway for $60.
Drake’s “Road to OVO Fest Tour”
Drake is putting on shows featuring various hip hop and R&B artists in Toronto all weekend as a part of his “October World Weekend Road to OVO Fest Tour.” On Friday, see Chris Brown and Lil Baby perform at Budweiser Stage.
Also at Budweiser Stage, Drake is performing with Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj for a Young Money reunion show on Monday. Tickets are available online at LiveNation.com.
Argonauts Caribbean Carnival Night
BMO Field will be decked out in colourful Carnival decorations for Caribbean Carnival Night. The pre-game party will start at 3:30 p.m. and feature masqueraders, a steel pan band, DJ and lots of soca music to match the vibe.
The Argonauts will take on the Ottawa Redblacks Sunday at 5 p.m. Tickets and more information are available online at argonauts.ca/tickets.
Bringing island vibes, music and family-friendly events to the Harbourfront Centre, Island Soul has something in store for everybody. Most of the events are free and run Friday through Monday. Dance at the silent disco in the South Lawn featuring soca, dancehall and reggae, learn dance styles from across the African diaspora at a dance workshop with Afiwi Groove Dance, and enjoy live music from reggae to soca to jazz. Learn more and explore the full program online at harbourfrontcentre.com.
Carnival City at Ajax Downs
Celebrate Carnival in Durham at Ajax Downs. Carnival City’s 12 days of programming runs until Aug. 7. On Monday, celebrate Emancipation Day at Carnival City with live traditional and cultural performances to entertain the whole family. A calypso music showcase is scheduled for 2 p.m. At 4 p.m. take in a theatrical production telling the story of emancipation and the history of Caribbean Carnival through dance and music. And, dance all night to a tribute performance for the late great soca artist Blaxx. Get tickets and more information online at houseofculture.ca.
Bob Marley One Love Experience
In sync with Toronto’s Caribbean Carnival season this month, “Bob Marley One Love Experience” is open at the Lighthouse ArtSpace in Toronto. The show features six rooms that showcase art, music, photos, memorabilia and immersive displays. Listen to Marley’s music in a virtual concert experience, view a huge portrait of Marley by artist Mr. Brainwash, and delve into Marley’s personal interests, including his family and football. The exhibit was organized in collaboration with the musician’s family and will run through Aug. 14. Timed-entry tickets start at $20 and are available at bobmarleyexp.com