Toronto City Hall

In 1967 a group of visionaries from the Caribbean community formed the Caribbean Cultural Committee(CCC) and created, organized and presented the internationally recognized festival CARIBANA™ in Toronto Canada.

This festival has developed into the largest street festival in North America injecting over $400 million into the local economy annually. In 2006 the City of Toronto withheld funding for the festival from the CCC and transferred the funding to the Toronto Mas Bands Association(TMBA) and appointed Joe Halstead as head of a Festival Management Committee(FMC) to oversee the governance and finances of the annual festival.

An agreement was made between the CCC, the TMBA and the FMC for the FMC to manage the festival for one year ending December 31st 2006 under the guise of Joe Mihevic. Since then the FMC nor the City has returned the funding of the festival to the creators and operators for 39 years the CCC now the CARIBANA™ Arts Group(CAG). Negotiations have been going on for over 3 years for an official licencing agreement with the FMC to manage the festival however they would not agree to the CAG's terms.

The FMC has chosen to call the CARIBANA™ festival by a different name and operate it without a licencing agreement after the CAG was forced to take the matter to Ontario Superior Court to protect its trademark and stop unauthorized use of the name CARIBANA™. Appeals have been made to Toronto City Councillors to address the issue yet there has been no response. This community event has been transferred to another organization and has put a halt to 43 years of cultural tradition that the CARIBANA™ festival brings to Toronto. Give Back CARIBANA™ to the Community, it's rightful owners. The CARIBANA™ festival is the cultural, social and economic medium that the Caribbean's in Canada created to express their cultural heritage and affect positive change within the Caribbean community.

Scotiabank became title sponsor of the festival in 2008 through the FMC and is aware of the history and significance of the CARIBANA™ Festival, as it was called Scotiabank CARIBANA™ from 2008-2010. The City of Toronto, the FMC and Scotiabank should have assisted the CARIBANA™ Arts Group in expanding the CARIBANA™ festival. What has happened now is that the parent body of the CARIBANA™ festival has been left out to dry after creating a festival that has injected over $20 billion in economic activity during it's existence to the City of Toronto, the Province of Ontario and the Country of Canada.

Give the CARIBANA™ festival back to it's rightful owners.

We the community want the annual festival back in the hands of the creators the CARIBANA™ Arts Group. The CARIBANA™ Arts Group provides a public membership where community members can participate and become directly involved in the governance of the festival.

The CARIBANA™ festival is the corner stone of Caribbean culture in the City of Toronto and is part of 43 years of Cultural history.

We, the undersigned call on Toronto City Councillors, The Mayor of Toronto, Ontario Provincial Members of Parliament, and our Premier to return the annual CARIBANA™ festivals funding, permits and management back to the creators of the CARIBANA™ festival the CARIBANA™ Arts Group.

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The Give Caribana Back to the Community petition to Toronto City Hall was written by Knia George Singh and is in the category Culture at GoPetition.