THE ORIGINAL TRICKSTA!: Scotiabank Buskerfest in Toronto

Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.

Lighting a fire under our collective keisters!

Why Buskerfest? Because all cultures have a history of trickster characters who offer social commentary via entertainment!

Traditionally buskers are transmigratory, crossing borders mixing into weird and wonderful clusters that gather around at the fringe of societies. When they exit the edge to come out onto centre stage they reflect back to us a little something about who we are. More than just transcending barriers with their daredevil feats they crack social barriers bringing the community together for a little fun. They use wit to break the ice with the crowd and aren’t afraid to be playful provocateurs heckling the audience to shake them up.

The joke de rigueur this year was that “Toronto is the most diverse city on the planet so it would really suck to be a racist here!”  Undoubtedly, yes. But if your mind is open and barrier free Toronto is the perfect place to be!

Thanks to Nile and his mommy Jamie, Rebecca and her daddy Antony, Aisha, Farrah, Nazira and  Bushra, Yamoussa and Maccie for all your smiles!

For more information on Scotiabank Buskerfest visit their >website, friend them on >facebook or follow on twitter >@BuskerfestTO.

Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Yamoussa Bangoura, Artistic Director of www.kalabante.org & Maccie Paquette, www.macciepaquette.com.

Photography by Leah Snyder & Ahmed Sirry for Mixed Bag Mag.

MIXED BAG MAG ON THE STREET: Breaking down barriers by making new friends

Celebrating at Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival, Caribana 2012. Woman holding I LOVED JAMAICA flag

Over our lasts few posts MIXED BAG MAG has been getting into the thick of it. We allowed ourselves to get fully absorbed into the beautiful chaos of the crowd at the Festival of India and Caribana.

What we have love about parades is that they give us the opportunity to get up close and personal. As we walked along with the parade goers we became part of the collective experience. And when that experience is a celebratory one then we all have the opportunity to find ourselves enjoying the company of strangers who start to feel more like friends.

Along with the thanking all the many staff and volunteers at Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Festival (Caribana) who created a most stunning event MIXED BAG MAG would also like to thank Toronto Police who helped make this year’s carnival a success!

Collection of souvenirs for sale.
Older woman selling souvenirs for Caribana.
Little boy with dreads wearing I LOVE JAMAICA shirt standing with his mom.
Three little girls with the flag of Guyana.
Dancers waving a flag.
Young woman waving the flag of Grenada
Two dancers walking by.
Group of guys wearing I LOVE TO shirts.
Two young women wearing I LOVE TO shirts.
Two men dressed up in costume and dancing.
Cute toddler smiling and being held by her older sister.
Two pretty girls in green costumes.
Good-looking male dancer participating in the parade.
Image of cute young man on float and two pretty dancers.
Adorable little girl wearing the feather headdress.
Good looking man stopping to smile for the camera.
A woman playing the steel pans.
Young guys dancing to the music on the floats.

Another woman playing the steel pans.
Young boy being doused in water to keep cool.
Beautiful woman standing in full costume in front of the entrance to the CNE.
Man dressed up for his float beside a woman dressed up for her float. Lots of colour.
Woman all in green attached to her large float.
Beautiful woman in white bikini striking a pose at the end of the parade.
Photography by Leah Snyder & Ahmed Sirry for Mixed Bag Mag.

FESTIVAL OF INDIA PT 2: Food for The Soul

Festival of India 2012

In its 40th year in the City of Toronto, the Festival of India “stems from thousands of years of tradition and heritage…and echoes an annual procession that has occurred for centuries in the ancient city of Puri, India.” (Sited from www.festivalofindia.ca)

For the parade, devotees of Krishna pulled ropes attached to large chariots from just north of Bloor down Yonge to Queen’s Quay.

“Seated on each float (chariot) are beautifully bedecked Deities of Jagannatha (another name for Krishna or God), Baladeva (Krishna’s brother), and Subhadra (Krishna’s sister). The procession itself symbolizes the pulling of the Lord into our hearts and thus is done with great pomp and grandeur.” (Sited from www.festivalofindia.ca)

Along the way there was singing, dancing and displays of devotion with devotees chanting the prayer to Krishna:

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare;
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

The energy arising around the spectators that lined Yonge was upbeat and charged with the celebratory spirit.

The weekend long event included:

  • Pre-festival launch party at Yonge-Dundas Square
  • Free vegetarian feast
  • Award-winning arts and culture show
  • Yoga Meltdown – a spiritual yoga festival
  • South Asian Bazaar

The festival is organized by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON Toronto). Along with the mandate to share with the Toronto community what it means to be a devotee of Krishna ISKCON “also regularly conducts programs for youth empowerment, community care and a “Food for Life” program involving regular outreach to the underprivileged via the distribution of hot vegetarian meals.”  (cited from www.festivalofindia.ca)

For more on the festival visit www.festivalofindia.ca or follow on Facebook & Twitter.

More about the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) on www.torontokrishna.com.

Festival of India 2012
Festival of India 2012
Festival of India 2012
Festival of India 2012
Festival of India 2012
Festival of India 2012
Festival of India 2012
Festival of India 2012
Festival of India 2012
Festival of India 2012
Festival of India 2012
Festival of India 2012
Festival of India 2012
Festival of India 2012
Festival of India 2012
Festival of India 2012
Festival of India 2012
Festival of India 2012
Festival of India 2012
Festival of India 2012
Photography by Leah Snyder & Ahmed Sirry for Mixed Bag Mag.

FESTIVAL OF INDIA PART 1: Feast for The Eyes

Dancers getting ready before the Festival of India Parade, Toronto.

Everywhere we looked our eyes landed on the most stunning of scenes. The air seemed to shimmer from the vibrancy of so many juicy colours.

This was our first Festival of India Parade and it did not disappoint. We were greeted by lovely people sharing water, fruit, nuts and smiles.

With so much to take in, the challenge in covering the event was the final task of narrowing down the best images to best showcase the narrative of the day. In the end we decided two posts are better than one! Today’s post is all about the behind the scenes.

Mixed Bag Mag thanks everyone who graciously posed for us and made our memories of the experience memorable and warm.

For more on the festival visit www.festivalofindia.ca or follow on Facebook & Twitter.

More about the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) on www.torontokrishna.com.

Dancers getting ready before the Festival of India Parade, Toronto.
Dancers getting ready before the Festival of India Parade, Toronto.
Dancers getting ready before the Festival of India Parade, Toronto.
Dancers getting ready before the Festival of India Parade, Toronto.
Dancers getting ready before the Festival of India Parade, Toronto.
Dancers getting ready before the Festival of India Parade, Toronto.
Dancers getting ready before the Festival of India Parade, Toronto.
Dancers getting ready before the Festival of India Parade, Toronto.
Dancers getting ready before the Festival of India Parade, Toronto.
Dancers getting ready before the Festival of India Parade, Toronto.
Dancers getting ready before the Festival of India Parade, Toronto.
Photography by Leah Snyder & Ahmed Sirry for Mixed Bag Mag.