Caribana Recap 2019


Caribana Recap


Toronto Carnival Season 2019 was one to remember.

The #SpiceFam was alllllll ova! We hosted a few pop up dance workshops, performed at a few private events, and had tv spots on

both Breakfast Television (view here) and CP24 (view here).

Met Preedy, Kerwin Dubois, and Jillionaire, saw Blaxx, Tallpree and Shal Marshal perform live, won section of the year at Friday Night Mas, and hit the carnival road with the Carnival Spice ladies. Twas a time!

What I loved most:

  • THE STAGE!!! For the first time ever, Toronto Carnival featured an elevated stage. If you followed my blog over the years, you’ll know that I’ve BEEN suggesting this! I didn’t get to see the stage in person, but based on photos and video floating around the net it looked awesome!

  • Meeting the Real Housewives of Atlanta was pretty cool too. In addition to being a huge fan of the show, I’m so happy I could share my culture with them! ...Gahhh! That’s all I can say for now.

  • The King and Queen competition had a great vibe this year. Speeches were LONG, but kudos to MC SKF for keeping the crowd’s energy up. I personally enjoyed the performance by Lil Natty & Thunda but the audience was tough. Lol. Twas clearly a trini crowd. Congratulations to all the winners. My favourite was this year’s queen from Toronto Revellers! Her costumed radiated the moment the lights hit it on the stage.

  • Big up Cantu Beauty for giving away full sized products from their hair care line on the road!!! They had a tent set up and offered hair tips, products, and more.

Least favourite moments:

  • The same day I was on Breakfast Television dozens of people forwarded me a CBC article where my photo was used to promote a campaign that I had no affiliation with. I suspect a band who I modelled previously for submitted the photo without my knowledge. This is SUPER frustrating considering they could and SHOULD have used photos from their 2019 season! Plus I personally don’t support the campaign in relation to carnival. Apparently topless masqueraders were to appear at the parade this year - cool, do your thing but leave me out of it. I advocate for cultural arts and the history of mas… which in my opinion doesn’t correlate with being nude.

  • Although I commend Shea Moisture Canada for hosting a fun filled & educational event surrounding black women and black hair, I’m quite disappointed that the featured Caribbean Carnival models/dancers they used didn’t reflect their audience! In my opinion, if you are hosting a Caribbean Carnival event hiring samba performers as the entertainment is a miss. An even bigger bonus would have been if they used black models. They had photo booth activations at some of the costume launches earlier in the year - why not hire one of the models from the show??? There were so many models/dancers to choose from… And nooo, I’m not salty that Carnival Spice wasn’t called - lololol. I’m simply mentioning this so they can do better next time around.

  • Lack of attractions along the parade route was a big miss by the festival organizers. I understand that the Grand Parade is suppose to have masqueraders and spectators - HOWEVER, sadly the mentality in Toronto is that Caribana is a street party and the issue of “storming” exists year after year. I feel like if their were more attractions along the route it would redirect people out of the parade. I commend initiatives like the Winedown Festival and Island Mix for hosting limes along the sidelines; those events visibly made an impact on the amount of congestion on the route.

Now that we finally have a stage I may consider playing mas again in Toronto… I would only be open to partnering with a section leader or band who is trying to push the culture forward and respects their masqueraders. When I play, I roll DEEP; so I’m especially mindful that everyone who plays with me has a great time.

It has been heartbreaking seeing all the recent press regarding poor masquerader experiences! Negative media attention doesn’t just affect the band in fire it effects the entire festival and carnival community.

Let’s all vow to do better.


Did you play mas? How’d you like your costume? The band? The new route?

Did you just fete? What was your fave party?

Did you escape and go to the cottage?

Let me know in the comments?

Toronto Carnival Guide 2019


The Toronto Guide 2019

For Masqueraders

In case your wondering - yes that’s me in the photo above! Living out my glory in one of my favourite Toronto Carnival moments EVER! It was 2011, crossing the judging stage to ADVANTAGE by Machel Montano. Never saw that white rag again, popped the strap on that cute matching purse, and one of my lashes floated off into the horizon. Best moment ever… but it gets better… after parading with meh friends, going home to relax and sleep… I woke to the news that this photo was on the FRONT COVER OF THE TORONTO STAR!!!!!!!! THE FRONT COVER OF THE TORONTO STAR YALLL! Magic captured in real time.

It’s carnival season in Toronto so the city is buzzing with the Grand Parade only 10 days away! I am asked daily where to find this and that so I’ve compiled a list of a few Carnival - related business in the GTA that may help you, the masquerader, get ready for the road.

Back in the day most of these companies were unheard of leaving masqueraders to fend for themselves so I am proud to see how the carnival world is evolving. To the artists and business owners listed - I see you! Keep pushing doing what you love and keeping the culture alive. Enjoy the rest of your Toronto Carnival season.


READERS, If you enjoy this post, please leave a comment below and share share share. 

If tagging, you can find me on social @simplyshakera 

… and definitely let the vendors know Simply Shakera sent ya! Xo


  • @werkdatdennis offers dance fitness in Brampton Saturday mornings and Thursday evenings.

  • @carnivalcurves offers carnival bootcamps and more across the GTA.

  • @CarnivalSpice offers Caribbean Dance Fitness and Carnival Choreography year round with a pop up dance work Friday, July 26th. Be sure to also visit to learn about their Caribbean Carnival entertainment services and child youth programs.

  • @islandwukout present #WukoutWednesday July 31st in Mississauga

  • The Fitlife Bootcamp; a dance fitness event featuring soca star FayAnn Lyons Aug. 1st in Scarborough


@thecollabovibe is a local distributor of @carnivalista products including fishnets, tights and pasties. Their main service is providing mas coverage of band launches and carnival - look out for them on the road.  

@carnival_queens_accessories offers bedazzled water bottles, flasks, cups, and more. See page for designs

@cleoluxe offers fanny packs, fishnets in all shades, sunglasses, and lashes

@mas.vlstockings are advertising fishnets with low waistbands. These are good for those of you wearing spider pants!

@carnivaldepot offers glitter fishnets and miles tights.

A few of the bands have fishnet and tight vendors at their mas camps too.


  • If taking the fishnet or tights approach, try to find a color to match your skin tone. It should blend!

  • The pantyhose you wear to the office or church is not the same. Carnival tights/fishnets don’t have seams and are a much thicker material.

  • You don’t have to wear fishnets by the way - it’s not mandatory. Many feel more comfortable in them or want to give their costume a little extra sparkle.

  • AND PLEASE STOP PULLING UP YOUR FISHNETS TOWARD YOUR BRA. That trend has passed and it has never been cute. The waistband of your fishnets should be covered either with your belt, costume panty or if applicable.

  • The masquerader (@bahayogi) on the left models exactly how the fishnets should be worn!

  • The model on the right is a NO!!!!!!!! The band needs to be lowered and the fishnet color is wrong. Black would only work if the costume was black or had black accents.



Carnival purses designed and handmade by Suzanna

She offers a variety of colors and currently has a sale going on. They are super cute.



Stylish hydration packs for carnival or music festivals. (So you don’t have to get the hideous ones from Canada Tire)


Fanny packs are the trend for the road

Locally, take a look at places like ardent, urban behaviour, stitches, or forever 21; the quality isn’t the best tho!

Make Up


Provide professionally-selected carnival makeup designed to match your costume in a compact kit!

Each kit is customized to your costume and includes:

  1. Glitter (x2 jars)

  2. Jewels (x2 sheets)

  3. Waterproof Cellphone Pouch

  4. Lash + Glue OR Glitter Primer

You can check out a recent interview they did we CP24:


Make Up Artists:


The photo is of some of Nikki’s work. She will be taking appointments on a first come first serve basis - connect with her to determine location.

@PreciselyYourPassion are providing carnival make up experiences including breakfast, photoshoot and more.

book online:

The accounts below I have never personally used before but they had quite attractive ads on IG. Nonetheless, sharing is caring:

@sholaseraphinabeauty offers brow styling and Caribana make up for Saldenah and Carnival Nationz

@facecandystudio limite slots remain.


Carnival Beauty Lounge at the Radisson Hotel @honeybeautyinc - cool idea!

  • They’re promoting a variety of things such Makeup application, photoshoot, and shuttle to parade.


  • If adding gems to your face from Dollarama; please place them INDIVIDUALLY not as the strip. Cute > Laziness.

  • Don’t forget to apply sunscreen on your face!!!


  • Unfortunately there aren’t many local boot vendors but with a quick google you’ll see a bunch of vendors pop up that sell online. Hopefully you have a friend with Amazon prime.

  • Running shoes or sneakers are always your best bet.

  • Unless you’ve done it before avoid sandals, heels, and flats.

  • ANY footwear you pick Comfort IS KEY! It should also match your costume. 

  • PS: Carnival is a time to be larger than life! Bedazzling your shoes is welcomed - dohhh hold back!

  • Designer and Carnival Beauty @fon_rose some great footwear style below:


Carnival Day Camp

Child Care Service For Masqueraders aged 4-12 years.

I believe registration deadline is July 26th - inquire ASAP.



A body positive movement to showcase and celebrate diversity in Caribbean Carnivals.

Use the hashtag #EverybodyPlayAhMas in your social posts to be a part of change.



Enjoy some of the best carnival coverage from this true masquerader.

She will more likely take your picture.

Couple More Tips Before I Go.

  • EAT BEFORE YOU GO ON THE ROAD - don’t rely on your band to feed you.

  • Leave the cards at home - cash is ideal

  • Invest in a battery pack for your phone. Reception is terrible along the route which quickly drains your battery.

  • Ensure you’re wearing good sunblock - costumes make for ugly tan lines


If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment below and share share share. 

If tagging, you can find me on social @simplyshakera 

… and definitely let the vendors know Simply Shakera sent ya! Xo