Island Soul at Harbourfront during Caribana Toronto 2015

The free Island Soul festival at Harbourfront is one of the top annual summer events in Toronto, arriving during the Caribbean Carnival and the Simcoe Day long weekend.

"Tall Ships in Toronto at Harbourfront in 2010" image by Numinosity (Gary J Wood) under CC license.
“Tall Ships in Toronto at Harbourfront in 2010″ image by Numinosity (Gary J Wood) under CC license.

Island Soul at Harbourfront in Toronto for 2015

This year Harbourfront hosts Island Soul from Friday through Monday, July 31 through August 3.

The events focus on the culture and traditions of the Caribbean Islands; not a surprise, since it’s a complement to Caribana in Toronto. You can start with by shopping for clothes or souvenirs, with a stop in the World Cafe, on Friday night from 6-11pm. (Food and fashion remain on sale throughout the weekend). A family-friendly DJ session of soca and calypso music follows from 7pm.

What are some of the surprising attractions? SwizzleStick Theatre presents Moko Jumbie stilt dancers at three shows: Friday night, Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. Your children could learn Oware games; anyone could learn some Djembe drumming too. Did you know the Angolan dance style, kizomba? You can! And Festival Kompa Zouk Ontario presents several dance workshops throughout Island Soul at Harbourfront.

Music performances run throughout the weekend. Check through the whole online schedule for Island Soul at Harbourfront Toronto to see what you can fit into your schedule.

Harbourfront is at 235 Queen’s Quay West. Take a little walk south-west from Union Station on the #1 Yonge/University subway. Road construction is finished, but I personally avoid driving and parking downtown. Cyclists should consider taking the Martin Goodman Trail; just be careful with pedestrians sharing the trail on the newly opened Queen’s Quay.

Other Options for 2015 Simcoe Day Weekend in Toronto

Remember that you can get a free taste of 2015 Caribana Toronto too, so plan your civic holiday long weekend wisely. If you want more of my ideas from 2013, check my “Toronto Attractions for Simcoe Day, the Ontario Civic Holiday” article; most of these are annual summer events in Toronto.

Looking for More Annual Events or a Holiday in Toronto Canada?

My blog tracks many of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting, free or frugal.

CityPASS offers discount tickets to Toronto attractions, including Metro Toronto Zoo coupons. Buy the voucher online, print it and take it to your first destination for a booklet of tickets. Each location removes their discount tickets but you keep and use the rest at the next four attractions. You save about 45% compared to regular admission prices. The voucher is good for almost two years, but you have to use all the discount admission tickets within nine days. This is terrific for tourists looking for multiple things to do in Toronto, or for a hometown stay-cation. The venues are Casa Loma, the CN Tower, the Metro Toronto Zoo, the Ontario Science Centre and the Royal Ontario Museum in a nine day adventure. That’s five things to do while vacationing in Toronto Canada, and at a bargain price thanks to the discount coupons.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article. However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and other online sites. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights those online articles on this site.

Click the “Toronto Events” category at the bottom of the left-hand column for recent articles in this category. Thanks!

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Two Free 2015 Caribana Toronto Events

Toronto Caribana, or the Caribbean Carnival, is already underway for 2015. However, the main event, the Caribana parade, will take place on Saturday August 1st. It’s one of the largest annual summer Toronto events on the entertainment and culture calendar.

Yes, you could pay for a seat or a VIP view of the Mas bands inside the CNE grounds. But I would rather get a free view of the parade, or as much of it as escapes the CNE.

There’s another free event to wrap up the Caribbean Carnival in Toronto; but first, the parade.

"A Serious Adult at Caribana 2010" by Loozrboy under CC license
“A Serious Adult at Caribana 2010″ by Loozrboy under CC license

The 2015 Toronto Caribana Grand Parade

The Caribana parade starts inside the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) grounds. That’s where the Mas bands are judged for their costumes and style; it’s not clear whether these bands will parade very far along Lake Shore Blvd or not.

However, the Caribbean Carnival parade also features cultural and guest (or “sponsored”) bands as well as steel pan bands.

All the bands exit the CNE grounds on Newfoundland Drive, which is just west of Strachan. They head west along Lake Shore Blvd W. The cultural, guest and steel pan bands continue west to Budapest Park, just west of the Palais Royale or Roncesvalles Ave.

However, the Mas bands go back into the CNE on British Columbia Drive, at the west end of the CNE grounds. It’s not clear whether they ever exit the CNE again.

To simply hear the steel pan bands and see the other floats, I’d head along the Martin Goodman Trail to any likely spot between, say, the Boulevard Club or Jameson Ave. and the CNE grounds. It’s never very far from Lake Shore Blvd W. along that stretch, and it should be easy enough to find a place to watch the parade.

To ensure seeing the Mas bands, pick a spot on Lake Shore Blvd directly opposite the CNE and due north of Ontario Place and it’s west channel. The Martin Goodman Trail will probably be pretty busy with onlookers, so don’t expect to make it a bicycle training event.

When is the Toronto Caribana parade? Sat. Aug. 1. They plan to start the parade inside the CNE grounds at 9:45am. If you plan for “island time” on Lake Shore Blvd, you will probably be right, but you might miss something.

Remember: Wear a hat and sunscreen; bring a bottle of water; and expect to buy some more water through the day. The phrase “hot, hot, hot” is not just a catchy song lyric!

Carnival Island for Caribana via the Toronto Island Ferry Service

Olympic Island, one of the Toronto Islands, hosts “Carnival Island” on Sunday Aug. 2nd, 2015. You must buy tickets for this event, although you could probably hear the music from one of the other islands while having a picnic.

You will definitely need to pay for transportation to the islands. The Toronto Island Ferry service has just launched online ticket sales, which may reduce your time waiting at the ferry dock (at Queen’s Quay and Bay Street). You buy the ticket online, and must print it yourself and bring that paper to the ferry dock. See the official Toronto Islands Ferries Schedules and Fees page for details.

I had ranted about the ferry schedule a few years ago; has it improved?

"Toronto Island Ferry in 1978" by Bobolink (Robert Taylor) under CC license
“Toronto Island Ferry in 1978″ by Bobolink (Robert Taylor) under CC license

The Free Event that Wraps Up the Caribbean Carnival in Toronto

Finally, Toronto Caribana wraps up with an interfaith service at St. James Anglican Church on Sunday, Aug. 9 at 4pm. Head for 65 Church Street, just north of King St. It’s only about a block east from Yonge St.

In Addition to Caribana 2015

(Added July 31, 2015) I think “Island Soul at Harbourfront during Caribana Toronto 2015” is the perfect complement to the Caribbean Carnival. Harbourfront hosts its free annual salute to Caribbean culture and music during the Simcoe Day holiday weekend.

Online References for the Caribbean Carnival in Toronto

Here are two links for the 2015 Toronto Caribana Grand Parade and the Toronto Caribbean Festival Parade Route [saying “click here to download (a) high-res” PDF map].

Learn more about the 2015 Carnival Island (Caribana on Olympic Island) event.

This page explains the closing service for Caribana Toronto at St. James Cathedral.

Let me note that I’m surprised that the terms “Caribana” and “Caribbean Carnival” are both in use. Had there not been a problem because the current organizers did not have permission to use one of those phrases? I’m just reporting what is available online, and am not taking sides. I assume that they’ve already straightened out “who sells tickets” and “who gets the revenues”.

Looking for More Annual Events or a Holiday in Toronto Canada?

My blog tracks many of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting, free or frugal.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article. However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and other online sites. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights those online articles on this site.

Click the “Toronto Events” category at the bottom of the left-hand column for recent articles in this category. Thanks!

Thanks for reading about two free Caribana 2015 events in Toronto.

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The Aboriginal Pavilion for the TO2015 PanAm Games in Toronto

The TO2015 PanAm Games are the big summer event in Toronto this year, but one host has not received all the attention it deserves.

The Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation (MNCFN), part of the Ojibway (Anishinabe) Nation, also serve as a host for the PanAm and ParaPan Games in Toronto. The Aboriginal Pavilion at Fort York is their location for TO2015, and the site for their indigenous festival.

"Guarding Fort York in Toronto Ontario" image by Bobolink (Robert Taylor) under CC license
“Guarding Fort York in Toronto Ontario” image by Bobolink (Robert Taylor) under CC license

About the Aboriginal Pavilion at Fort York during TO2015

The Aboriginal Pavilion will be at Fort York during the PanAm and ParaPan festivities, July 10-26 and Aug. 7-9, 2015. Experience life in four “villages” on the Garrison Commons; peruse aboriginal crafts; enjoy the music; and where else will you find First Nations food vendors?

Did we mention the free admission to Fort York while the Aboriginal Pavilion’s active run? Fort York is  one of Toronto’s museums and a national historic site. It’s well worth the time to visit.

This is also a place to escape crowds, based on the Toronto Star articles, “Pan Am First Nations festival too ‘tucked away,’ say exhibitors“.  Sarah-Joyce Battersby’s article indicates this indigenous festival is worth seeing; it just didn’t get enough publicity (amid all the news about the medals – woot! – and the really excellent TO2015 volunteers).

Where is Fort York in Toronto? I’d provided directions near the end of a previous article, “Commemorate the Battle of York in the War of 1812“. During the TO2015 PanAm Games, it’s easier to say that it’s a short walk from the Princes’ Gates of the CNE (at Lake Shore Blvd W. and Strachan Ave.), west and north to Fort York.

Looking for More Annual Events or a Holiday in Toronto Canada?

My blog tracks many of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting, free or frugal. The TO2015 Aboriginal Festival is free to attend!

Tourists: CityPASS offers discount tickets to Toronto attractions, including Metro Toronto Zoo coupons. Buy the voucher online, print it and take it to your first destination; let’s say it’s the zoo. They give you the coupon booklet but remove the Metro Toronto Zoo discount tickets. Visit the next four attractions, where helpful staff relieve your booklet of tickets but leave you with the rest of the information. You save over $40 by spending about $70. The voucher is good for almost two years, but you have to use all the discount admission tickets within nine days. Use discount tickets to Casa Loma, the CN Tower, the Metro Toronto Zoo, the Ontario Science Centre and the Royal Ontario Museum in a nine day adventure. That’s five things to do while vacationing in Toronto Canada, and at a bargain price thanks to the discount coupons.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article. However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and other online sites. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights those online articles on this site.

Click the “Toronto Events” category at the bottom of the left-hand column for recent articles in this category. Thanks!

Thanks for reading about the Aboriginal Pavilion at Fort York for the TO2015 PanAm Games in Toronto.

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