Monday, May 26, 2014

Carnival Revolution

On Saturday May 24th, Carnival Revolution launched their 2014 presentation "Visions In the Night" for the Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival. The launch was held at the SVG Lounge, in the city's west end. 

Unfortunately I was unable to attend the launch due to a family commitment, however a special thanks goes to W.K for attending the launch and providing us with pictures. 

Carnival Revolution's band launch of Visions in the Night displayed sections including:

Midnight Robber
Passion in the night
Angels in the Night
Aliens in the Night

For more pictures from Carnival Revolution's Band Launch, check out fellow bloggers Karabana and Trini-In-Toronto post.

Are you interested in playing mas with Carnival Revolution? For more information on registration, contact

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival Media Launch

On Thursday May 22nd, the 2014 media launch for the Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival was held at the Ontario Science Centre. The launch was an opportunity for media to join community leaders, Caribbean performers, Federal and Civic politicians to acquire key information about this year's carnival. This year, costumes were also showcased by models from Tribal Carnival and Saldenah. 

The MC for the afternoon launch was CP24 Pooja Handa, who highlighted the longstanding partnership between CTV and CP24 in covering the parade. This year Virgin Radio, was also announced as being a new supporter and sponsor of the carnival festivities.

 Key speakers at the media launch also included Finance Minister the Honourable Joe Oliver, representatives from the Festival Management Committee (FMC), The Toronto Star, Scotiabank and the Province of Ontario. Furthermore representatives from the Ontario Science Centre also spoke candidly about the science behind the creation of Mas, and look forward to presenting the 5th annual Innovation in Mas Award.

With respect to the information provided by the FMC on this year's carnival, some of the highlights included: 
  •  Expanding the length of the parade within Exhibition Place
  • The Junior Carnival Parade location is moving from Downsview Park to the Malvern community in Scarborough
  • The Island Lime is returning to Toronto Island after almost a ten-year absence
The media launch ended with a lovely performance by reigning Toronto Calypso Monarch Macomere Fifi.
Interested to see more from the media launch? Check out our Facebook album

For more information on the Toronto Caribbean Carnival check out their website at

Also check out the official press releases: 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Toronto Revellers- Warriors

On Saturday May 17th, Toronto Revellers held their 2014 Band Launch presentation of “Warriors”. 


Upon arriving at the Armenian Cultural Centre, the warrior theme was definitely evident. Toronto Revellers did a great job creating a band launch ambience that was both visually appealing and entertaining. Upon entering into the hall patrons were greeted by warriors goddesses, armed with sword and shield.  Heading towards the stage area, one could see warrior images and a projector screen that displayed references to epic battle movies such as 300.  Additionally, prior to the launch show time, the audience was treated to a performance from drummers and dancers donned in warrior body wear, who danced and engaged in a short fight sequence to the rhythmic beat.  

Music for Toronto Reveller’s launch was provided by De Jay doc, Dj styles and Jason Chambers. The MCs for the costume presentation were Brenton B and Gissel D’Wassi One from Miami. The band launch presentation officially began at approximately 11:30, with a speech from band leader Jamaal Magloire. The early start time was definitely well received, as it gave time for models to mingle within the crowd after the stage show, as well provide amble amount of time to enjoy the after party. 

In case you missed the presentation, the sections included: 
Fight of the Eagle

Ghazi Warrior

Ice Warrior

Soul of Africa

Zulu Warrior

Asian Dynasty


Cosmic Warrior

Carnival Warrior
Native Warrior

Wrath of the Barbarians

Plan of Attack

In total, the 13 sections portrayed the Warrior theme really well. The incorporation of spikes, shoulder pads, armor leg pieces, tribal print, swords, and elaborate headpieces, reinforced the warrior theme. Furthermore, out of all the launches this season, I believe Toronto Revellers did a great job in the execution and detail within their male costumes. 

I also really liked Toronto Reveller’s use of a multi-level stage, which added dimension and levels when seeing an entire section together.  It was noted though, some sections did not use this or the center stage to their full advantage by posing together as a group, but instead walked quickly off stage.  The section Warhawk did an excellent job utilizing the entire stage.

Overall good job Toronto Revellers with your 2014 presentation Warriors! All the best during the carnival season. 
Do You Want to Play with Toronto Revellers this year? For more information on Toronto Revellers check out their website at

For more pictures check out our album.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Connections 2014 Band Launch- Forces of Nature

On Friday May 9th, Connections Mastumes Band held their 2014 Band Launch Presentation Forces of Nature.

The band launch was held at Twlight Restaurant and Bar. The launch started at approximately 12:00am,with seven sections gracing the runway. Showcasing the Forces of Nature, Connections incorporated color combinations and design elements that coincided well with the theme.

In case you missed the presentation, here are the sections: 

Aurora Borealis

Winds of Discord

Volcanic Eruption

Sand Storm

Ice Storm


For more pictures from the launch click here for our Facebook album.
 Are you interested in playing with Connections this year? For more information check out their website at
Connections Mas Camp is located at 1720 Midland Ave Unit 10,  Scarborough ON.
Contact #647-854-5584

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Q&A: Why Blog?

Hey Readers,
Here is a post with the Writer of The Collabo Blog, as she shares some of her experiences of what inspired her to write as well as some of the highlights and challenges to blogging and social media. 

Photo credit:

One of the driving forces behind starting The Collabo blog three years ago, was due to the array of questions I would receive from friends and family regarding carnival. Ranging from questions on the date of the next upcoming band launch, or my thoughts on themes and costumes; it was no secret to my family and friends how much I loved playing, reading and talking about mas.  Although participating in Toronto Carnival may be viewed as simply buying a costume and heading down the lakeshore, I viewed participation in the parade a culmination of various events- such as the launches, interactions- such as the experience while in the mas camp, as well as activities and services- such as the act of adding personal touches to items such as footwear or makeup to complete one’s look on the big day. It was my hope to create a blog that would be a source of information that was helpful, and hopefully minimize the time one had to take to navigate how to play mas in Toronto. The inspiration behind calling the blog The Collabo was rooted in the viewpoint that although an individual may generate an idea, it is often through the help, support and collaboration with others that is the driving force behind turning an idea, into something that is tangible and a reality. Additionally, I wanted also the Collabo to be a space where individuals and initiatives could be highlighted, and readers could share their unique experiences and perspectives. 

Throughout my blogging trajectory, the journey has been marked with many highlights and of course a few setbacks along the way. One of my very first highlights I can remember was being featured on Trinidad Carnival Diary within the new Blog on the Block post. Given that I am an avid reader of TCD and admire the hard work and dedication that has been put into it the blog over the years, this was a moment I was extremely appreciative of. Another experience that has been a highlight was writing articles for the CarnivalChaser magazine in 2012. Overall, as someone who is somewhat of an introvert, the opportunity to blog, has been one of personal growth that has enabled me to connect, share and learn from others. It is an experience that has been enriching and one that I am grateful for.  

Now that I have touched briefly on the highlights/positives of blogging, to be fair I think it is also important to discuss a few of the negatives. Anyone who read my caribana newbie series, knows about my trusty disclaimer (lol), which I have decided to resurrect for the tail end of this post:

(Disclaimer: The below comments are some of my reflections and observations while blogging. If you were to ask someone else you may get a different response and that is ok. The intention of the post is to provide information in addition to encourage discussion of ideas, views and opinions.)

Thoughts on Media Passes
When it comes to launches, I think it is important to try to have an inclusive coverage of launches ranging from bands that are big, small, new or established. Although this is easier said than done, I think the social media sites and bloggers in Toronto do their best to provide information and pictures that is timely and positive. Along the way of covering launches, one thing that is extremely helpful is to obtain a media pass. Not only does it help facilitate a way for photographers and bloggers to get up close pictures and glimpse of costumes, it also helps to minimize the monetary expense to attend all of the launches. IMO it is also a nice way to show media sources that their contribution to help promote the band and costumes is recognized. Although some may feel that bloggers are not the traditional form of media and as such do not warrant a media pass, it is important to keep in mind most blogs share both pictures and written information. As a source of information which people access, often times this may lead to inquires such as “which band is this”, “what is the website” to more complex questions such as “can you tell me about the vibe of the different bands.”  As such, often times bloggers and media sites are answering various questions whether on Facebook, through email or verbally about launches, bands, and playing mas in general in Toronto. Although this year has gone relatively smoothly, we did encounter one discrepancy with obtaining a media pass for a launch despite already having received and shown the email notification that granted permission. Although this was disappointing, as an optimist I try to look at the positive side of situations and viewed it as an oversight or the result of miscommunication that was provided at the door. In believing the best approach to resolve and receive clarification about the situation was to send an email, I was surprised to note the email was unanswered. In general, although the team and I were still enjoyed the launch, experiences like this make the blogging experience not as pleasant.  

Thoughts on Launch Start Times
Launch start time, which may come as a bit of a surprise, is a large factor that can impact the experience of attending a launch both positively or negatively. This is particularly true for those who attend with the sole purpose to provide coverage of the launch. The reason being is because although the launch may start anywhere between 12:30am to 2am, the time that is often overlooked is the time prior to the official start time. Often media representatives, photographers and bloggers will arrive at the venue 1-2 hours prior to the launch start time to secure a good/prime spot to see and capture the launch. Also keeping in mind, that since the official band launch time is a guestimate by the audience as well as media, that could mean being at the launch as early as 10pm, and thereafter staying up hours after the launch to edit photos because they know their readers as well as those who are unable to attend on the launch depend on them to see their first look at the costumes.   Although I can’t speak for everyone, I think early band launch start times are appreciated, because it gives the option for people who want to stay and fete afterwards the costume presentation that opportunity, as well as the photographers, bloggers, and media representative the opportunity to leave early and get a head start on the editing and writing process. 

Last but not least, watermarking is an important topic that I would like to discuss briefly from the perspective of a blogger. Although I can’t speak for all media sites or blogs, often the pictures that are displayed on sites went through an editing process, such as cropping, color correction or fine tuning. (Imagine doing that for 300+ photos) What is disheartening to see, is the hours spent after the launch to edit photos and place a watermark to ensure the photo credit is visible as well as to direct views as to where they could go to see more, is later cropped out or removed. If the roles were reversed and you were a photographer that attended a launch that started at 1:30, and stayed up until 3am or 4am to edit, and later see your photo shared without the watermark, how would you feel? Or an alternative situation, you are a designer that spent hours designing a costume, provided the name of the band for viewers to see who to register with, and then later saw that that information was removed. Although it is like comparing apples to oranges, the concept remains the same in that a designer would take their time to craft something they are proud of to share with an audience, which is similar to how some photographers and bloggers may feel about their work and inclusion of the watermark.  

Overall, I hope this post has been an interesting read and provided some insight regarding the writer of The Collabo as well as some things to keep in mind regarding media and content sharing.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Carnival Nationz Band Launch 2014- Havana

On Saturday May 3rd, Carnival Nationz held their band launch presentation for their 2014 theme Havana. This year’s launch presentation was particularly special for Carnival Nationz as it marks their 10 year anniversary. Leading up to showtime, music was provided by New York based djs Close Connections and Riggo Suave. During the costume presentation Toronto’s  dj Kold Fusion was on deck playing the tunes as the models hit the stage. 

Described as a story of love, war, revolution, sex, rum, scandal, music, dance and sublime beauty, Carnival Nationz presentation of Havana displayed sections representing elements of Cuba. The launch officially started quite late, with nine sections hitting the runway at 2am. 

The sections included:


Playa Boca Ciega


Playa Boca Ciega
Tropicana Caberet

Quizas Quizas

Perroquet De La Havane

La Guarachera De Cuba

The sections ranged from costumes that displayed bright color combinations, as well as soft pastel feathers and lace. Nationz also displayed several sections that incorporated the spider panty, a popular style of bottom used in Trinidad Carnival this year. Additionally, a few sections had elements that reminded me of costumes from previous years, such as the black sleek material in Flamingo and blue and green fringe in Perroquet. Nationz’s frontline costumes made a bold statement while on stage, with elaborate feathered backpacks, leg pieces and large headpieces. Overall, the 2014 presentation of Havana, added some Cuban sizzle with various options for Toronto masqueraders to choose from.
For more pictures from the presentation, check out our Facebook album.

Do You Want to Play with Carnival Nationz this year? Carnival Nationz Loyalty registration begins on Thursday May 8th and their general registration starts on Saturday May 10th. For more information on Carnival Nationz check out their website at