Carnival Comes Alive Again

By Ron Fanfair

Ron Fanfair


Community Partnerships and Engagement Unit
Office of the Chief

It was a rebirth of the Toronto Caribbean Carvnival at police headquarters courtyard on July 29 as the organization launched its carnival celebration with colourful costumes, dancing and music.

Since 1991, the Service’s float has been part of the annual celebration.

“This is a time to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the Caribbean and to recognize how that spirit contributes to Canadian culture,” Chief James Ramer said. “Like the rest of the city, we are thrilled to be celebrating in person once again and to have the opportunity to recognize Toronto’s Caribbean community, including our own members who make such important contributions to our city.”

“The theme of the celebration was ‘Nations United.’

The Service collaborated with the Children’s Breakfast Club and the Carpenters Union Local 27 to design a unique Toronto Police float that was in the grand parade on July 30.

“We always enjoy rejoicing at the Caribbean Carnival alongside the community, our members and the young participants of our Youths in Policing Initiative (YIPI) program,” added Ramer, of the YIPI students, who work with police over the summer and have the great opportunity to join in the parade each year.

The Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) has supported the Service’s participation in the festival from the inception nearly three decades ago.

“The Caribbean carnival festival is a celebration of the cultural heritage of people from the Caribbean,” said Board member Lisa Kostakis. “But it is also a celebration of the vitality, richness and colorfulness of the kaleidoscope that is our city and our country today. During this time, the incredible essence of this festival can be felt all over the city, reverberating through our neighbourhoods , through pulsing music, lively gatherings and, most of all, a powerful spirit of unity. The fantastic steel pan and calypso performances today give us a true flavor of what Carnival represents.

“But as a community and as partners, we are constantly evolving, mindful of the past, including our successes as well as our challenges while looking forward towards the future with optimism, fresh ideas and renewed energy. We acknowledge that over the years, there have been a number of challenges, with the gulf between police and community, especially our young people, sometimes quite considerable. Significant objectives still remain, but we are inspired to achieve them, moving forward in partnership and marked by mutual respect and a genuine desire to listen to one another and build a Toronto that is better for everyone and especially the next generation. This is how we must evolve and celebrations like this one remind us of the importance of this endeavor.”

Over the years, the YIPIs have been actively involved in the festivities as part of their summer internship at TPS.

“From creating the float to participating in the launch to the actual parade, many of the students have had opportunities to interact with police on a personal level, strengthening our connections to the community that they represent,” said Superintendent LeeAnn Papizewski. “Working together with youths helps build unique relationships and trust while embracing our diverse cultures in the city.”

Group of people cutting a ribbon
Chief James Ramer and Mayor John Tory helped unveil the Toronto Police Carnival float at headquarters July 29 Photo: Brent Smyth

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