There is a dark side to the Festival though...
The festival, which is technically called Toronto Caribbean Carnival this year after tortuous negotiations ended in a peace deal between rival organizers, has long been plagued by political infighting and financial problems. And police announced this week that with the blessing of organizers, closed-circuit cameras will keep watch over the informal, late-night weekend street parties along Yonge Street, where violence has broken out in the past.
When I was downtown on Thursday night, there were hundreds of cops patrolling the streets. Groups of 6-8 officers gathered casually and you could see these pods of police on every street corner. There were cops on horses, riding jovially down the main streets. This is the day before the Festival had even begun.
On Friday after I saw a baseball game, there were throngs of partying people. Masses of scantilly clad folks paraded down the sidewalks laughing and cajoling and the police presence was ominent. There were several gangs of Motorcyclers revving down the main drag and there was an eerie tension of excitement in the air.
Apparently, there were no major incidents, but now that Toronto has become Canada's violence capital, it was nice to see our Boys (and Belles) in Blue out in full force.