Caribana 1976 (Toronto's Caribbean Carnival)
|Photo by John Mahler, Toronto|
|Photo by Jack Dobson|
|Calypsonian Lord Kitchener|
|P. Mills McGibbon with D. Crombie|
Parliament had voted to abolish the death penalty that year, Canada was hosting their inaugural Olympic games that summer in Montreal, and everyone's favourite morning snack--The Timbit--was first introduced to the world.
|P. Trudeau with F. Castro|
In Jamaica, the native land of the Caribana 1976 filmographer Earl W.L. Robinson, things were not so celebratory. In 1976 there was a National State of Emergency declared by Prime Minister Michael Manley, in the midst of great political turmoil, violence, and unrest. The Prime Minister feared the government would be overthrown, and thus the State of Emergency lasted for a full year. Tourism on the island was impacted, as many suspected that Jamaica was being "destabilized by foreign and domestic conspirators." It was arguably the worst crisis on the island in their 14 years of independence, and a matter of deep concern for those, like Robinson, who had recently emigrated to Canada, the U.S., and the U.K.
|"Smile Jamaica" concert 1976|
footage, from the 1976 Caribana parade on University Avenue, was captured by Earl W.L. Robinson on 8mm film. In the ten minute clip, you can see the exuberance, the joy, the rhythm, and the inclusiveness of the Caribana parade as young West Indian immigrants and their friends party alongside their new Canadian peers and neighbours.
Here is a brief glimpse of that joyous moment in time, and a window into the Caribbean Canadian heritage, that remains an influential part of Toronto's annual summer celebrations:
(direct link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5QqvzfYFdM&feature=youtu.be)
Written by Stacey Marie Robinson for Kya Publishing's "Urban Toronto Tales" blog.