Chief Mark Saunders joined Mayor John Tory in a dance-off to jump in to the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival weekend.
Tory and Saunders weren’t the only ones grooving to beats of the steelpan band, over 100 Youth In Policing Initiative students, professional dancers from the Island Fusion group and Service members stopped by to join in the fun in the front courtyard of police headquarters on College St. where Sergeant Chris Gordon dee-jayed.
“This is such an important event because it shows the world that the city of Toronto understands diversity and what makes a city a city,” said Chief Saunders, who kept his speech short in order to “get the party started.”
The Chief thanked citizens for being themselves in order to make Toronto what it is.
For Toronto Police Services Board Chair Alok Mukherjee, it was his last event as Chair and he couldn’t have chosen a better one, he said.
“This has been my favourite event for the longest time,” said Mukherjee. “The Carnival Festival has become a major international event and the largest cultural festival of its kind in North America.”
Mayor John Tory added he always looks for forward to the festival as it is one of the city’s showcase events annually.
“No matter where you come from, no matter what your faith, no matter what your sexual orientation, no matter what your skin colour, no matter what your nationality is – you are celebrated in Toronto, you are embraced in what this city is all about. And, even more than any of that, it is just plain fun,” said the Mayor.
Along with performances by dancers from the Island Fusion group, there were also two singers from Island Melody who sang for cheering crowds.
This is the 24th year that the Service has hosted the kick-off. The Service, along with the Children’s Breakfast Club, has been participating in the event since 1991, and have their own float in the Parade.
The theme of this year’s parade is ‘The People’s Carnival,’ with the official parade starting tomorrow at the Exhibition grounds with the Toronto Police among the first of many floats in the Grand Parade starting at 9:30 a.m. until sundown.