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Plan of Attack: Caribana weekend | Posted Toronto | National Post

In Canada on July 30, 2010 at 08:53

Plan of Attack: Caribana weekend

Postmedia New

Postmedia New

Want to get this close to the Caribana parade? Be there by 10 a.m.!

  July 30, 2010 – 8:18 am

By Ben Kaplan, National Post

We met Marsha Sullivan last year at Nadine’s Hair Salon, a bustling studio at 1562 Eglinton Ave. W. in Little Jamaica that stays open all night on Caribana eve. “I’ll be here until five o’clock in the morning and down at the Lake Shore at 10, but I don’t mind,” Sullivan says. “I’m a party animal — Trini to the bone.” Sullivan, 33, is something of a Caribana expert — she’ll be in the parade again this year — and so we picked her brain for the ultimate insider’s guide to the 43rd running of North America’s largest Caribbean celebration of the year.

Where to stand

Saturday’s parade begins at Exhibition Place and dances west along the Lake Shore to Keele. It begins at 9 a.m., and Sullivan says the parade’s best spots are on the Lake Shore near Dufferin. “It gets crowded right in front of the Ex, but if you move just a little bit east, you can see everything,” she says. There’s paid seating inside the Ex, but Sullivan says if you arrive early, you’ll have no problem seeing the sites. “It’s never too early to party,” she says. “Get there at 10 a.m., and you’re good.”

Where to eat
While there are stands erected all along the parade route — including makeshift barbecues along the Lake Shore — Sullivan recommends the Ritz Café at 606 Yonge St. “Roti, curry, jerk chicken, oxtail, you name it, they have it all.” She also likes Albert’s Real Jamaican Food on Eglinton West and Raps, where original members of the Skatalites still hang out.

Where to rock
Say you’re inspired by the music and want to follow up on your new-found love of Calypso and Soca tunes: Sullivan recommends Play de Record (357 Yonge St.). “They have good mix CDs by local DJs, and the hottest DJ right now is Bad Lad from Scarborough.” Other popular musicians are Trinidad’s Machel Montano, the first Soca artist to sell out Madison Square Garden, and JW & Blaze, a Trinidadian group who will be performing at Caribana this year with the Tribal Knights.

Where to take the kids
Saturday’s parade is the weekend’s biggest event, but Sullivan says the real fun of the long weekend takes place Sunday and Monday on Toronto Island. “They serve authentic Caribbean food and music and there’s performances from all the bands in the parade,” she explains. Sullivan will be taking her daughter to the island both days. There’s also a Caribbean food festival at Ontario Place on Aug. 1 and 2.

Where to party
Tomorrow night, July 31, Wild Water Kingdom, at Finch and the 427, is the spot for the city’s biggest after-hours celebration. Featuring Farmer Nappy and Patrice Roberts, Sullivan says the park’s a great place for kids during the daytime, but at night it’s transformed. “Definitely leave the kids at home,” she advises. In addition, 10,000 people are expected Saturday at Downsview Park where there will be 25 different bands. “Everybody’s going to be there and there’s tons of food,” she says. “You know us Caribbean people love food.”


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