North America’s biggest street party is back, with music, mas and more! Here are the top festival-weekend events of Toronto Caribbean Carnival 2022.
We’re #OnDeRoadAgain as Toronto Caribbean Carnival (July 7–30, 2022) returns this summer after a two-year hiatus! Now in its 55th year, locals and visitors alike flock to the annual celebration of freedom and culture, which is also known as Caribana, its original name. While events fill the month, the big festival weekend takes place July 28–31, 2022, when over a million participants and spectators are expected to attend the historic Grand Parade.
Looking to plan your own Caribbean getaway in Toronto? Here’s how to make the most of the four-day festival weekend’s music, dance, costumes and celebration.
King & Queen Showcase
The King & Queen Showcase (July 28, 2022) is a vibrant display of creativity and pageantry. This event features over 50 elaborate and large costumes centred around different themes. Competitors are judged on the intricate details of their costumes and by how well they reference their carnival Mas Band’s theme. The King and Queen are crowned towards the end of the night, which will be filled with live soca and calypso music, cultural performances and food.
Where: Lamport Stadium in the Liberty Village neighbourhood
Oasis Pool Party
Bask in the sun and sounds at the Oasis Pool Party (July 29, 2022). Held at the Toronto Event Centre, this chic poolside event features an all-white dress code, three infinity pools and over 6,200 sq m (67,000 sq ft) of outdoor patio fun. Expect sunny city views with a lively musical backdrop of hip hop, soca, reggae and R&B tunes. Bottle service? Absolutely.
Where: Toronto Event Centre, Liberty Village
Guest DJs and musical performers take centre stage at Cabana Pool Bar’s DayLit (July 29, 2022) party. Previous musical artists have included French Montana, DJ Khaled and more. Cabana’s “all-Canadian-by-the-lakeside wonderland” vibe turns it into a summer hotspot that can accommodate up to 2,500 partiers. But you can beat the crowds by booking a private pool cabana or deluxe chaise lounge.
Where: Cabana Pool Bar, in the Waterfront neighbourhood
Pan Alive showcase
The Ontario Steel Pan Association’s (OSA) Pan Alive (July 29, 2022) promises a vibrant evening of live steel pan renditions, sounds, tone and rhythm. This one-night showcase features Toronto’s professional steel pan community, which works to preserve and promote this dynamic cultural and musical art form.
In this year’s showcase, steel bands will perform two songs each—including a “bomb tune.” This non-competitive event is all about shining a light on the creativity of the arrangers in a celebratory environment.
Where: Lamport Stadium in Liberty Village
The Grand Parade
North America’s largest carnival returns in 2022 with an all-new, performance-filled Grand Parade Central (July 30, 2022) hosted at Exhibition Place and Hotel X Toronto, near the parade staging grounds.
The Grande Parade itself draws a crowd of 1 million people from all over the world, who line Lake Shore Boulevard West to watch the carnival’s main event with its 10,000+ masqueraders, live steel pan performers, floats and more. Revellers can fuel up for hours of spectacle and celebration by digging into delicious Caribbean food and drinks along the route.
Where: Lake Shore Boulevard West, westbound from Exhibition Place, through the Sunnyside neighbourhood
Promising “the most turnt up event of the summer,” the Champagne Trilogy (July 30, 2022) party takes place at historic Roy Thomson Hall. It features two rooms with two different sounds, with DJ C-LO, Kast One and Superstart J from New York spinning the best in hip hop, soca, R&B and reggae.
Sunday Carnival Flavours
New this year is the foodie-focused Sunday Carnival Flavours (July 31, 2022). The afternoon event features food trucks and vendors serving mouthwatering faves from the Caribbean. The air will be thick with the scent of island-cuisine classics like roti and jerk, as well as an extensive selection of beverages.
Where: Stanley Barracks, Hotel X Toronto
Another sleek all-white dress code event, Soca Sensation (July 31, 2022), features the best of soca and reggae at The Pint, a cozy bar just steps away from Toronto’s most iconic landmarks (the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium and The Rogers Centre). Sneak in some sightseeing before attending the event!
Where: The Pint in the Entertainment District
Get set for the hottest block party of carnival weekend—Sunday Blocko (July 31, 2022), at Rebel nightclub. Festival Sunday’s only daytime event, this breezy lakeside party is the perfect afternoon escape, with authentic Caribbean cuisine, music and possible star sightings. Previously featured performers have included R&B singer Mario, rapper Fabolous and DJ Khaled.
Where: Rebel, in the Waterfront neighbourhood
Hot 97/ BET Allstar Celebrity Party
The 21st Annual Hot 97/BET AllStar Celebrity Party (July 31, 2022) returns with over 20 of North America’s hottest hip hop, R&B, soca, calypso and reggae artists and DJs. This iconic collab is a huge success every year, and rumour has it that surprise big-name acts will be performing. Past guests at the carnival’s biggest indoor-outdoor event have included J.Cole, Meek Mill, Roy Woods and more, so it’s worth the commute out west.
Where: Rogue Nightclub in Mississauga