When one thinks of visiting Canada the first things that come to mind are hockey and Niagara Falls. This is exactly what Diane Carter and her girlfriends were thinking after something on television sparked their interest to see Niagara Falls. When Diane called to book their yearly girlfriend getaway, their Almeda Travel representative suggested that they push their trip back a couple of weeks to attend Caribana. Every year in the month of August Toronto hosts North America’s largest street caribbean festival, Caribana officially called the Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival.
According to Diane, the carnival has a very diverse atmosphere. “The carnival is where all the Canadian African/Caribbean descent population gathered to celebrate. You had people from Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad; it was just a smorgasbord of people.”
The ladies watched the parade on Lakes Shore Drive Blvd, which was only a short ten minute walk from their hotel the Fairmont Royal York. “Everything about the parade was great! The scenery is beautiful with the lake in the background and the street is decorated with tons of unique floats. Everyone participating in the parade (as well as people watching) danced the entire time, waved their country flag and talked about the island they represented.”
While visiting Toronto the ladies got a chance to try some of the local restaurants. “We didn’t want to eat food that you could get in the US; we wanted to experience Canadian food. Our favorite restaurant was Jack Astors, which served a popular dish called poutien and it is very delicious.” Poutien is a Canadian dish made with french fries, topped with brown gravy, and curd cheese.
Outside of Caribana Diane and her friends got to visit Niagara Falls, where the atmosphere changed to a family oriented setting. “The set up around Niagara Falls is really nice with a ferris wheel, other rides, restaurants, casinos and shopping boutiques. While being at the landmark, we saw a lot of things that we would like to share with our children on a return visit.”