Toronto Mas Camps Open for Carnival Costumes and Caribbean Community Celebration

Carnival Nationz Mas Camp
Shantal Otchere for Now Toronto
It's tradition. After the spring launches of the individual Toronto Caribbean Carnival masquerade bands, carnival enthusiasts and participants across the city and beyond can also look forward to the Mas Camp grand openings and the true physical beginning of the carnival season in the city.

The Mas Camp is the hub of activity, construction, design, and camaraderie in the carnival community. It is a dedicated space where costume designers and their teams begin to carefully construct their costumes in preparation for parade day. It is the home for the individual mas bands, working towards the coveted titled of Band of the Year, based on their creativity, adherence to theme, and cohesiveness of their group/band overall.

Carnival Nationz Mas Camp,
Shantal Otchere for Now Toronto
At the mas camp, not only can you witness creatives at work, but you can also take part in the development of the mas band for the season through volunteering, observation, or simply through providing moral support. In addition to hosting most of the Junior Carnival launches for the bands (taking place from now through mid-June), the Mas Camp is the home for registered masqueraders, supporters, and community members eager to take part in a warm Caribbean tradition.

The composition of each Camp is relatively similar: there is a showroom, where costumes available for purchase are set up on display on mannequins, for potential masqueraders to get an up-close look at the fabrics and embellishments that they will wear on the road for parade day. Also in the Camp, there is a point of contact for questions, pricing, and registration, where the best of the band's customer service is put on display to provide information and hospitable enthusiasm towards the band's objectives and brand.

Carnival Nationz Mas Camp,
Shantal Otchere for Now Toronto
Each masquerade band is unique in the events, programs, features, and the overall experience that they provide to their community. Some mas camps are notorious for having late-night limes and excellent DJs to help build the vibe towards Carnival Day in the late summer. Other camps are known for having a strict work environment, top-secret construction, and militant attention to process and formula. Workout programs to get fit for the road, children's activities, and live performances are also staples the Mas Camp life during the summer, where possible.

Most importantly, the Mas Camps are open houses for the Toronto community and participants of all cultures to take a glimpse into this particular Caribbean tradition, and to learn about the various bands and players as well as do their part to sustain this beloved element of summers in Toronto.

In our city, Mas Camps are usually based out of warehouses in industrial areas of the east end of Toronto, Scarborough, and in some cases satellite camps are operated out of the houses or offices of veteran mas makers across the Greater Toronto Area. In other countries, mas camps are setup year round in small houses, storefronts, or at a range of commercial locations that are easy to accommodate participants, materials, and high traffic.

With the conclusion of the last band launch in Toronto this weekend, most of the Mas Camps are now in operation and activity is underway as the bands (competing or otherwise) get ready for another exciting carnival season in the city, counting down the days until Carnival Day which falls on Saturday, August 3 this year.

Here's our unofficial listing of the Mas Camps operating in Toronto this season: please contact the individual bands for details about hours of operation and their registration processes and requirements (click on the band name to be connected to their websites):

TRIBAL CARNIVAL: 3401 McNicoll Avenue, Unit #8

TORONTO REVELLERS: 80 Midwest Road, Unit #13

FANTAZIA CARNIVAL: 2360 Midland Avenue, Unit #5

DREAM CARNIVAL: 875 Milner Avenue, Unit #105

EPIC CARNIVAL: 510 Coronation Drive

SALDENAH CARNIVAL: 1430 Birchmount Road

SUNLIME MAS: 3595 St. Clair Avenue East, Unit #19

CARNIVAL NATIONZ: 730 Military Trail


VENOM CARNIVAL: 1160 Birchmount Road, Unit #4B

ATLANTIC MAS: 2655 Lawrence Avenue East

For photos, videos, and event information throughout the Toronto Carnival season, we invite you to check out our CARNIVAL SPOTLIGHT platform, focused on the presentation and celebration of Toronto Carnival, and Caribbean Carnival at large.

Our novel of the same name, "Carnival Spotlight," is currently available in e-book and paperback format, and can be accessed through our website This book is a fiction account of the Toronto Carnival experience, from the Mas Camp to the road, and captures the energy and vibes of one of the greatest celebrations of Caribbean culture in Canada.

Written by Stacey Marie Robinson for Kya Publishing's "Urban Toronto Tales."


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