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Peeks Toronto Caribbean Carnival Officially Launches

2017 Carnival will celebrate 50 years of carnival in Toronto

TORONTO, July 11 – The  2017 Peeks Toronto Caribbean Carnival officially launched at Nathan Phillips Square with a day long vibrant cultural celebration of music, art, culture and special guests.  This year’s festival marks 50 years of carnival in Toronto in the year of Canada 150. The theme for this year is Celebrating Our Heritage: From Then to Now  and it will infuse every aspect of the carnival.

“Carnival in Toronto keeps coming back and getting bigger and better every year,” says Denise Herrera Jackson, CEO of the Festival Management Committee. “This year is extra special as we celebrate 50 years of the Carnival Arts in Toronto and look forward to a bright future with renewed vision, energy and excitement.”

There’s plenty in store for this year’s festival which includes three weeks of events around the Toronto area and culminates in the Grand Parade – a spectacle like no other that transforms Exhibition Place and Lakeshore Boulevard into a stage for music, costumed mas bands, art and culture with an audience of over one million spectators and many more watching online and on TV within Canada and around the globe.

The launch was attended by many dignitaries including John Tory, Mayor of Toronto; Kirsty Duncan Member of Parliament, Etobicoke North and Minister of Science; Mark Itwaru Chairman & CEO of Peeks Social Ltd, representatives of the Toronto Mas Bands Association, Organization of Calypso Performing Artists Ontario Steelpan Association and many others.

“”The Caribbean Carnival has deep roots in Toronto,” said John Tory, Mayor of Toronto,  at the official launch event. “What started off as a Centennial project by and from a handful of committed Canadians has grown to be one of Toronto’s signature summer events attracting over a million people to our city. This is a time for thousands of residents and visitors to jump up – for the whole city to jump up!”

“The Government of Canada is proud to continue to support the Peeks Toronto Caribbean Carnival,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. “During its growth over the past fifty years, the Carnival has brought vitality and strength into our community and our economy, with a lively celebration of our heritage, diversity and artistry.”

“Being a native Torontonian of Caribbean decent, I couldn’t be prouder to be the lead sponsor of this iconic Toronto cultural event,” said Mark Itwaru, Chairman & CEO of Peeks Social Ltd.  “We look forward to making this bigger and better in the upcoming years not just for the Caribbean community but for all Torontonians and visitors to our great city.”

In addition to festival favourites such as the the annual Grand Parade, King & Queen Showcase and Junior Carnival new this year:

  • New route and start time: The Mas Bands and Guest Bands will start the parade shortly after 8:30 am at the western end of Lakeshore Blvd at British Columbia Drive and proceed east along Lakeshore Blvd towards the city core. At Newfoundland Drive the parade will turn left and proceed to Princes’ Blvd.

  • New name: The carnival has a new multi-year title sponsor, Peeks Social Ltd. and will now be known as  Peeks Toronto Caribbean Carnival. Peeks social is a Toronto-based technology company.

  • Junior King & Queen: New this year is the Junior King & Queen showcase happening July 16 at Woodbine Centre Mall. More than 2000 young participants will showcase their creative and colourful costumes.

  • Carnival Night Market: For the first time Torontonians were treated to an outdoor night market on July 7, 8 featuring the best in soca, calypso, reggae and more at David Pecaut Square.

Many carnival events are FREE to the public. For full listing of events, info and tickets visit: www.torcarnival.com

Media Contact:
Sarbjit Kaur
Head of Marketing & Public Relations