ISLAND SOUL: Testimonials about Haiti @ Harbourfront Centre

Two women dressed up for Caribbean carnival outfits with feathers Image by Ahmed Sirry for Mixed Bag Mag. 

One of our most popular festivals! Island Soul celebrates the rich artistic traditions, emerging art forms, innovative expressions and vibrant lifestyles of the Caribbean

It’s time for Carnival again in Toronto. The Caribana Parade can be a bit congested so if you are looking for Caribbean flavour with a more rock steady tempo then check out Island Soul Festival at Harbourfront Centre. Every year, corresponding with the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival (Caribana), Harbourfront focuses its programming on the Caribbean including the Caribbean Diaspora community here in Toronto.

“This four-day festival explores the diverse cultural terrain of the island nations, featuring a rich mix of music, dance, film, art and games, curated for multi-generational audiences. The music and arts of the islands have travelled across physical terrains to influence and inspire cross-cultural expressions. Island Soul offers a platform to share unique traditions, highlight commonalities, explore differences and pass along the soul of the Caribbean from generation to generation.”

This year Festival Kompa Zouk Ontario Presents: Testimonials About Haiti – Témoignages autour d’Haiti

“This group exhibition brings together the best Torontonian artists who have a love for Haiti, and took the time to showcase Haiti in all its forms after the earthquake. This is a gallery of photos and paintings.

Cette exposition collective rassemblera les meilleurs artistes Torontois qui ont un amour pour Haiti, et qui ont pris la peine, de nous peindre Haiti dans toutes ses formes après le tremblement de terre. Ce sera une gallerie de photos et de peintures.”

Artists – Gabriel Osson, Annik Chalifour, & Marie-Cecile Pierre-Jerome and more…

Artistes – Gabriel Osson, Annik Chalifour, & Marie-Cecile Pierre-Jerome et de plus..

Above painting by A. Morancy provided by Harbourfront Centre.

This exhibit runs August 2 – 5 at the Marilyn Brewer Community Space (Harbourfront Centre), 235 Queens Quay West. View map.


Photo courtesy of Annik Chalifour. 


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.

MIXED BAG MAG ON THE STREET: Hitting the pavement at Caribana

Dancer at Caribana.

As if we didn’t see enough colour at Toronto’s Festival of India, when we arrived at this year’s Caribana Parade it looked like a bag of skittles had scattered out onto Lakeshore. Mango yellows, deep maroons and fiery reds cooled by jade greens and watery blues.

Caribbean culture is a truly hybrid culture(s) with each country representing a mix due to the dark side of history – slavery, migrations of indentured workers, and colonialism but Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Festival (Caribana) is the celebration of what can happen when people with diverse music, food, dance and religion end up living together in a new place – a new world emerges.

The opening up of immigration in the 70s attracted many people from places like Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago. The result, 45 years later, is the warming up of Toronto with this hot festival.

For more information on the festival visit or follow on Facebook and twitter @TO_Carnival.

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