Friday 8 March 2019

It Happened In North Toronto - Caribana Iced

King Cosmos on Ice

Last Saturday at Mel Lastman Square. Caribana Iced – Small Crowd. Warm Response
By Stephen Weir

There were no Triple Axels or Salchows from Calypsonian King Cosmos (Henry Gomez) as he gingerly skated out onto the ice at Mel Lastman Square last Saturday.  What he lacked in skating finesse he made up for with his singing and his warm and friendly greeting to the people who came out Saturday to watch Caribana on Ice.
Wearing all black except a colourful feathered headdress with matching wristlets and ankle splashes.  Master of Ceremonies, King Cosmos told the family audience they were watching a first – a professional presentation of the Carnival Arts on Ice.

Dance Skaters steps on ice

“This is the first time this has been done in Toronto, “ he said to a cheering and clapping crowd standing on the edge of the large outdoor rink.  “I think it has to be the first time in North America.  We usually do this sort of thing on the street in the summer, but, what is more Canadian than being here (outdoors in winter)?”
In the past, the group has held other CaribanaOn Ice events, albeit with a more informal approach. “This year we have designed what one could describe as a ‘mini’ Caribana on the Ice presentation,” said Event Programmer Amah Harris.
The previous Caribana on Ice family skate days at the outdoor rink at the downtown City Hall's Nathan Phillips Square. Saturday’s two plus hour show was on the ice in front of the old North York City Hall (south of the Yonge Finch intersection).

Mas Skater At Center Ice
The ice rink was centre stage. People stayed on the boardwalk that surrounded the stage and clapped and cheered on a non-stop parade of performers.  As this reporter discovered clapping was the preferred method to keep warm. As well there was a wood fire stove heating a patio. Vendors sold hot chocolate and freshly cooked Caribbean food. People were also welcomed inside the nearby civic building to thaw out.
Dance Caribe Stay Warm Waiting Their Turn

Over the course of the afternoon skaters in costume, Dance Caribe dancers, Pan performers and singers, took their turn on the ice, or on solid ground at the edge of rink. Even though there was a light snow and below freezing temperatures, the conditions were perfect for an on-ice skating show.
Although no formal statement was made by the CAG if there will be a 2020 Caribana On Ice, one of the Mas costumed skater on told me that  it was so much fun she is ready to perform again. "Hey, I will sharpen my blades and break out the feathers - just say the word!"


Second Canadian Screening For HERO

A Trio of Heroes. Solomon, Williams and Anang
Special screening of the Trinidadian / Ghanian / Canadian movie HERO - Inspired by the Extraordinary Life and Times of Mr. Ulric Cross. Only second showing in Canada, last night was in honour of Ghana Independence Day. Film was shown at the recently renovated, 80 year old Westdale Theatre. Movie producer Frances-Anne Solomon and co-stars Canada’s Peter Williams (Stargate SG-1) and Ghanian movie star Adjetey Anang walked the red carpet and stayed after the movie to answer fan questions

Recently restored 80-year old theatre

Filmed in Trinidad, Ghana, the United Kingdom and Canada, HERO is the full-length docudrama about Ulric Cross (played by Trinidad and Tobago singer Nickolai Salcedo), the famed Trinidadian World War II airman. This is a big vision film that tells the story of the West Indies’ most decorated war veteran. 

Cross was a squadron leader in the Royal Air Force and went on after the war to become a jurist and an African diplomat. His life spanned key events of the 20th century when several African and Caribbean countries were on the road to independence.