Fetes, shows, pop-ups and a parade

Models wear costumes designed for the Toronto Caribbean Carnival on Lakeshore
Samuel Engelking

Carnival Portal

After picking up what you need at Michael Kors and Nordstrom, stop in at Yorkdale’s ArtworxTO PopUp Hub and check out the innovative work (in fabric and VR form) by Toronto Carnival’s newest mas camp SugaCayne, whose costumes have ended up on our cover twice.

Runs to September 3. Free. Yorkdale Shopping Centre, 3401 Dufferin. yorkdale.com

Mashup Pon Di Road

Who knew Toronto Carnival would bounce back from the pandemic with an outdoor vaudeville-style show that has a thing to say about the patriarchy and the ruling class? The musical comedy written by The Handmaid’s Tale actor Bahia Watson will be touring the town (from Little Jamaica to the Bentway) and bringing laughs and snacks. And it’s free.

Previews July 19 at Assembly Park (Vaughan). Runs July 21-23 in Little Jamaica at the Green P Lot (1531 Eglinton West). July 27 at the Bentway, 250 Fort York. welcometodicircus.com

The [Clinic] – Pool Party Edition

The towels typically wrapped around your waist at Cabana Poolbar might end up in the air thanks to T.O. soca royalty. Dr. Jay de Soca Prince, the radio personality who kept soca culture thriving on our airwaves is hosting a Carnival Wednesday outdoor bashment where the Caribbean vibes meet the Toronto skyline.

July 27 at 3 pm. $30. Cabana Poolbar, 11 Polson. ticketgateway.com

A masquerader at the Toronto Carnival launch
Nick Lachance

Toronto Caribbean Carnival

The mas camps had two years during the pandemic to focus their energy and creativity on this year’s official events, which include the King & Queen (Thursday) and Pan Alive (Friday) showcases, the Grand Parade (Saturday) on a new route along Lakeshore. This year includes a remnant from the pandemic era: the Carnival Flavours food festival that hopefully has more goat, roti, ducana and roadside soup on the menu.

July 28-31. Various venues and prices. torontocarnival.ca

Island Soul 

Canadian singers Exco Levi, Ammoye, Elaine Shepherd and Jay Douglas bring the reggae vibes to Carnival weekend. They’re part of Harbourfront’s Centre’s programming, which also includes pan and calypso performances, a comedy night hosted by Trixx and more.

July 29-August 1. Free and ticketed events. Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West. harbourfrontcentre.com

Nailah Blackman is attending Toronto Carnival events according to our guide
Courtesy of Nailah Blackman

Soca Village

“Princess of soca” and friend of NOW Nailah Blackman is mixing it with Shurwayne Winchester and Afrobeat star Nomcebo (the voice of the massive hit Jerusalema) at Soca Village, the way-east outdoor fete hosted by NOW cover star Lateisha Williams aka Carnival Bae.

July 29 at 4 pm . $40 and up. 320 Audley, Ajax. ticketgateway.com

Shea Be Your Beautiful Pop Up

SheaMoisture is bringing carnival flavours to Stackt Market. Their event includes performances from reggae singer Ammoye Evans, a TBA appearance by a soca star who has graced NOW’s pages over the years, DJ sets by Killa Kels, Rose Gold and Fly Lady along with local art, fashion and a drumming performance by Carnival Nationz, one of Toronto Carnival’s biggest bands.

July 29-August 1. Free. Stackt Market, 28 Bathurst. eventbrite.com

Colours J’ouvert Night

Liki Tiki artist Kes the Band headlines the big outdoor fete where powder and water collide, and the colours will leave you looking like you wrestled with Troll dolls.

July 29 at 8 pm. $65 and up. Location TBA. ticketgateway.com 

Carnival Kingdom

The outdoor fete bounced back bigger than ever after being shut down by the City of Vaughan (it was a whole thing). We expect a similar return post-pandemic, with regular headliner (and former NOW cover boy) Machel Montano and The Monk Band taking the stage alongside Patrice Roberts with Ricardo Drue, Skinny Fabulous, Ravi B and Karma.

July 30 at 7 pm. $95 and up. Markham Fairgrounds, 10801 McCowan. ticketgateway.com 

Krave – The Karnival Rave

Nessa Preppy is going to show you how di tingo by the stripper pole at Her. Krave will be the first fete we know of hosted at a gentlemen’s club. Exotic dancers bubbling with us to soca courtesy of performances from Preppy, Skinny Fabulous and more is a whole new vibe.

July 31 at 10 pm. $35 and up. Her., 1325 Eglinton East, Mississauga. ticketgateway.com 

Read More:

Toronto Caribbean Carnival: Pon di road again

In photos: The road to Toronto Caribbean Carnival 2022

White people are more afraid of Carnival than coronavirus


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