So Long Caribana, Hello Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto
Photo by PierreD. from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.
Back in our university days, there was an on-campus bar officially named The Brass Taps. Everyone called it the Keg, which was the watering hole’s original name until the restaurant chain sued and won. The lawsuit happened a quarter of a century before we arrived, but the name was so ingrained that it never lost its currency among succeeding generations of students.
We suspect the same thing will happen with the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto, a.k.a. the festival formerly known as Caribana. Thanks to an Ontario Supreme Court ruling last week the Festival Management Committee, which has run the festival since 2006, cannot use the traditional name. An agreement couldn’t be reached with Caribana trademark holder Caribana Arts Group (CAG), the successor to Caribbean Cultural Committee that ran the festival from its inception in 1967 until major sponsors and various levels of government pulled funding due to accountability issues. During this morning’s press conference to unveil the new name, you could sense slight irritation in FMC chief administrative officer Chris Alexander’s voice as he presented a short version of his organization’s battle with the CAG over control of the festival.
Early web feedback indicates that regardless of the legalities involved, most people are still going to call the festival Caribana in the way we tell friends we’re going to the SkyDome. (The new name also proves Scotiabank’s commitment to slowly gaining the naming rights to all major cultural events in the city.) Regardless of what anyone calls it, we suspect those attending this year’s festivities will ignore the legal battles and follow the advice Eglinton-Lawrence MPP Mike Colle repeated this morning: “keep on jumping.”