It seems as if 2018 is flying and with Jamaica Carnival which recently came and went, the summer carnivals are the next up in regards to large carnivals. Falling on August 4 this year, plan to visit Toronto from August 1 to August 7 for the most fun and best fetes. A long weekend trip (Thursday to Monday) will suffice as well.
DRIVE – If you live in the continental US, depending on the state, you have the option of driving to Toronto. Personally, I couldn’t handle longer than a 9 hour drive but for folks in the Michigan, Buffalo, NYC, DMV and Tri-state area, it’s definitely achievable.
FLY – Flying into Toronto or Buffalo (then driving to Toronto) is also an option. Flights are currently in the $230usd – $400 range depending on your location and when you book.
There are plenty hotel options during Caribana, some hotels are stricter than others. *Hotels like the Sheraton downtown will give you a wristband for the weekend to ensure you’re supposed to be there after 9pm.
Caribana Toronto also coordinates hotel packages and May 7 is the last day for the early bird pricing. Hotels are currently in the $300 – $600 range for a group of 4. AirBnB is another affordable option if you prefer. Rental cars are also necessary should you stay 20 – 30 minutes outside of the downtown area.
Carnival takes place on Saturday, August 4th at 10 am. The parade is free unless you’d like entrance to the party at Exhibition Place where Masquerade Bands, better known as Mas Bands, will play until 8 pm.
Most bands have already launched so now it’s registration time. Here are the Caribana bands you should check out. I have played mas with Carnival Nationz twice, check out my reviews for 2015 and 2016.
- Saldenah Carnival
- Toronto Revellers
- York Mas
- Island Vybz Mas
- Tribal Carnival
- Durham Mas
- Venom Mas
- Fantazia Band
- Sunlime Canada
Caribana’s party scene is different from other northern American carnivals like Miami and New York but still a great time. We can look forward to events like Shine, Suits and Scorch Duck Work! Check back with us in June for a full fete list!
Yours in Mas