Carimas Festival: Big party for Caribbean communities in downtown Montreal

Carimas Festival: Big party for Caribbean communities in downtown Montreal
Carimas Festival: Big party for Caribbean communities in downtown Montreal

Thousands of people took part in the grand return of the parade celebrating Caribbean cultures on Saturday afternoon in downtown Montreal.

Dancing, music, flags, rum, cannabis: René-Lévesque Boulevard took on the appearance of a big party as the humidex reached 34 degrees Celsius.

“It’s a very beautiful tradition in Montreal. It’s the first Caribbean holiday to be celebrated in Canada,” rejoices Andre Dipchansignh, originally from Trinidad and Tobago.


Andre Dipchansignh, originally from Trinidad and Tobago.

Photo Olivier Faucher

It was a return for this carnival, first organized in 1974 and formerly known as the “Carifête.” Last year, the event was cancelled due to lack of funding from the City of Montreal.

A coalition of associations representing different communities were given the mandate to bring back the festivities this summer, under the name of the “Festival Carimas”.

“A very beautiful tradition”

These changes of guard and name did not deter the participants who came out in their thousands. Gathered at the intersection of René-Lévesque and Saint-Laurent boulevards, they marched to Place du Canada, where a stage and Caribbean food kiosks awaited them.


Photo Olivier Faucher

“It’s a new beginning. Before the pandemic, it was even bigger and there were even more people. We hope that in the next few years, it will be even better and even bigger. But for now, I’m having a lot of fun,” said Rita Daniel, a member of a dance troupe dressed in her spectacular costume.


Rita Daniel, originally from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Photo Olivier Faucher

The latter argues that Carnival “is the culture” of many Caribbean countries, which explains why so many communities like to come together around a single event.

“I grew up in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and for me the Caribbean is a people and a nation,” says Ms. Daniel.

Coming from far away

Jason Williams, originally from Guyana, drove six hours from his home in Hamilton, Ontario, so as not to miss the party.

“I love music, the party atmosphere in the street. I eat good food and I have fun.”

Evens Marc, a Quebecer of Haitian origin, said he came above all to represent his community, while Haitian flags were everywhere during the parade.

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