Lakeshore Boulevard exploded in a sea of people, flamboyant costumes, rhythmic music, and cultural pride as the Toronto Caribbean Festival climaxed with its annual parade on Saturday August 5, 2006. It was the 39th year for the festival which has a new name this year, but is still more popularly known as Caribana.
No one seemed to mind that the parade actually started close to 4 hours late. The smiling faces and gyrating hips were contagious as scantily-clad dancers in Vegas showgirl-like sequined costumes paraded alongside trucks pounding out soca music.
The music itself is a fusion of traditional calypso music with Indian rhythms. The parade had once featured the best soca bands. Disappointingly, each year the parade relies more and more on pre-recorded music spun by disc jockeys, rather than live bands. This year even when there were live bands, they often played along to prerecorded tracks. The exceptions were the steel pan drum bands that were interspersed throughout the parade and struggled to match the volume of the larger trucks with their large power amps and stacks upon stacks of speakers.
Despite the lack of live music, the parade attracted close to a million revelers, many of whom traveled hundreds, or even thousands of kilometers to attend the annual event. None of them left disappointed.