That is the message we will
like to send this weekend as we prepare to celebrate the wonderful festival that is
year's celebration of Caribbean culture is made even more wonderful by the new spirit
which seems to surround it.
It is also the first time in recent years
that we are entering the festival on such a positive note, with new management at the
helm, news of funding coming from the federal government and heightened corporate
involvement which will automatically bring increased Canadian interest.
It is also the first time that we in the
Caribbean community can be confident that at last, 31 years into the festival, Caribana is
getting due recognition from society as a valuable cultural showpiece as well as a major
It took last year's fiasco, no doubt, to
bring this to the fore. But last year is past, this weekend is the present and the party
is on. And yes, this is our time to show-off our creativity in art and song, to continue
to set an example of harmony in diversity.
And as we welcome the tens of thousand of
visitors to our shores for Caribana, we ask that not only do they enjoy the parade and the
shows that we're staging, but that they recognized the efforts of the Caribbean community
by showing their support, whether through the simple purchase of a t-shirt and a piece of
art from a community member or a visit to one of our many fine West Indian restaurants,
night clubs or stores.
After all, every dollar
spent with the community during this time adds to its economic power which in turn
translates to a bigger and better festival next year.
It is no secret, too, that the business
which usually benefit from the visitors that Caribana brings in do not spend any of it
back through sponsorship of the festival. So while we can't tell anyone where to shop, all
we're asking is that intelligent choices are made.
Business aside, we now turn
the focus inward to remind members of our community that while they are going forth in
their numbers to enjoy the summer's biggest weekend, remember that we are the hosts; and
that as good hosts, we should ensure that those visitor us are comfortable and safe in our
We must continue doing our
utmost to ensure that this entity, our biggest show in North America, maintains its
reputation as one of the safest carnivals in the world. The bottom line, however, is that
Caribana is for all of us, black, white and in between, to have a good time. And that is
what we wish for all as we enter the summer's greatest weekend to celebrate the 31st
staging of the Toronto Caribana festival.
play yuhself. JULY 30
-AUGUST 5, 1998