Monday, 20 June 2011

Move over Mas Men


The winds of change are blowing through the Toronto Mas Bands Association (TMBA). The association that actually recruits and trains the 17,000 or so people who perform in the Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival (Caribana) have set up their Mas Camps and begun to beat the drums for this year's festival. There are 16 Mas Camps in Toronto this year, 30% that are being run by a woman (five camps). Last year only 2 of the 16 camps were controlled by females.

For the past two weeks I have been escorting journalist William Doyle Marshall around the city to visit the Mas Camps. Four of the camps - 1 in Scarborough and 3 in Etobicoke are where the groundbreaking camps are located this year.

Pictured above are four of the five Mas Women.

Top Left: Narissa Ali has set up her Renaissance Mas Productions camp in a small warehouse on Howdon Avenue (back of the building). Her theme? Time after Time. When we visited her camp she was preparing for an upcoming Internet broadcast with a Trinidad based company.
Top Right: Whitney Doldron took over Mas Players International from her father Courtney, two years ago. This year she has a very large, modern camp in Etobicoke adjacent to Highway 427 (beside a banquet hall). William Doyle Marshall is shown above taking her picture. The theme this year is Fairytale Fantasies.
Bottom Right: Thea Jackson is expecting at least 1,000 men and women to join her Tru DYNASTY camp this year. She has a big space in Etobicoke - 246 Brockport Drive - bring you GPS!
Bottom Left: Kathleen Hughes believes that running a Mas Camp is a family affair. When we visited her Renaissance Mas Productions in Etobicoke, she had her father (and former Mas Man), her aunts, nieces and children making costumes for this year's festival. The camp is located at 175 The Westway (The Westway & Islington) in a city community centre next to an outdoor tennis court. There is a lot of free parking!
NOT VISITED YET: Calypso singer Susan Grogan (Susan G)has set up her new Spirits of the Caribbean Mas Camp at 1720 Midland Avenue, Unit 15. Doyle and I will visit that camp this week.

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