Caribbean festival hits the streets

More than a million people are expected to soak up the sun and the fun of Toronto's Caribbean Carnival parade on Saturday.

A million people are expected to crowd the Toronto waterfront on Saturday to watch, listen and dance in the city's annual Caribbean festival.

The Caribbean Carnival Parade is the city's premier tourist attraction — something Toronto's Caribbean community plans for all year long. 

For Shannan Hayden the parade can't come soon enough.

"It will all be better .... when we're tripping down the road," she said.  "The dancing ... and just the fun. I love it." 

There will be about 18,000 dancers and musicians in the parade — most of them wearing elaborate costumes that took months to finish. 

And the parade organizers are trying to make sure the participants get a lot of attention from the crowds.

"What we did this year was to try and extend the route so we get a better pageantry and a better parade," said Denise Herrera Jackson, the CEO of the Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival.

It means an extra half kilometre of parade route.

The Grand Parade begins at 10 a.m. from Exhibition Place, then snakes along Lake Shore Boulevard West for 3.5 kilometres from Strachan Avenue to Colborne Lodge Drive. 

The parade lasts until 6 p.m.

For costume designer Kenny Coombs his greatest pleasure is seeing the enjoyment on the spectators faces.

"When the music starts and the spectacle starts," said Coombs, "you know you sit in your seat — but not for long."