…..or as it is more commonly known, Caribana Toronto
Today my husband and I got on our bikes and headed east toward the city. Trust me when I say that there was no better way to get around today than on your bike. The Gardiner is still under construction and Lakeshore Blvd. was closed for the Caribana Parade.
We decided to make a number of stops on our journey today. First, we parked our bikes at the Humber Bay Farmers’ Market and picked up some kale, flowers for my aunt and the best samosas in the city.
We continued along the bike path, heading east and turned north on Windemere and then east again along the Queensway. Traffic was already backing up and we passed numerous cars as we sailed through on the bike lanes. When the bike lanes ended we were at our destination anyway so our trip to the hospital was smooth sailing all the way.
Our second stop was at St. Joe’s to visit my aunt. We gave her the small bouquet of flowers that we picked up at the market and we spent about an hour with her. I’ve really been enjoying these chats with her. Outside the hospital the sounds from the Carnival were bouncing off the walls but inside, especially in her room it was very quiet.
When we returned to our bikes after the visit my husband was having second thoughts about going to the parade. I convinced him to humour me for at least a 30 minute stay down by the parade. We headed west and then south towards Sunnyside Park. Lakeshore Blvd. was like a parking lot as people waited to get onto the Queensway.
As soon as we hit the park I suggested that we sit in the shade and eat our lunch of samosas and mango chutney. They were delicious. After cleaning up we got back on the bikes but now even moving on the bikes was slowed down by the pedestrian traffic heading toward the parade. To my husband’s credit (he hates crowds) he offered to park the bikes and sit with them while I made my way to the parade so that I could get some photographs.
I didn’t have to walk far but I do think that most of the parade had already passed by but there were still some interesting floats and sights to be seen. At one point I found myself on the other side of the fence where most people were standing. There were other people there as well and I was able to get pretty close to the floats. On my way back I realized that I had walked into a secure area, which the police were barring people from entering. Like I said earlier I wasn’t the only one and no one said anything to me or for that matter anyone else about being where I was.
The place was jumping and the music was so loud that when I stood in front of the speakers I could feel the sound bouncing off my chest. It was a party and the women of all ages, shapes and sizes were scantily dressed in feathery, glittery and shiny bits of fabric. The colours were amazing.
Along the parade route people were selling souvenirs, consisting of Caribbean flags, umbrellas with flag motifs, and t-shirts. Vendors were also selling island food and a couple of men were peeling stalks of sugar cane with large knives for people to purchase and eat.
The parade is only one of many events that happen this weekend. The real party starts later today. As for me I’m happy to have finally experienced a little bit of Caribana and I won’t be fighting my way through traffic to participate in any of the remaining festivities. According to Strava, we rode for 20k today and supposedly I burned off 2300 calories. Is that even possible?????
Caribbean Bike Ride