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Caribana Helps Toronto Economy To Jump Up

Today saw the end of yet another successful and joyous Caribana. “De Caribana Lime” that took place today at Ontario Place saw 7,000 revellers participate in the last available opportunity to “jump up” offered by Toronto's annual Caribbean festival.

This past Saturday's Caribana Parade – the main event of the festival – drew more than 1.2 million people to Lakeshore Boulevard. As reported last week, Caribana is one of Toronto's greatest tourist attractions and economy boosters each and every year.

Toronto Sun's Jenny Yuen reports today that “this year’s Caribana raked in $300-to-$350 million on events, hotels, restaurants and overall tourism.” Yuen also notes that festival spokesman Alicia Sealey found that the recession did not seem to have much of an impact on what she calls “the power of Caribana”.

“Organizers said attendance wasn’t up this year over last, but it wasn’t down, either. Given the slumping economy, that’s a good thing,” writes Toronto Sun's Brett Clarkson.

On the day of the parade, CTV caught up with Caribana organizer Stephen Weir who discussed the numerous ways in which Caribana provides a boost to the local economy. “They come here for a long period of time and spend money on bars, supplies (and) costumes,” said Weir, “It's a lot more than just paying for a hotel room.”

Tourists travel from all over the world –especially from the U.S. and the Caribbean – to Toronto for Caribana each and every year. This is a fact not at all lost on the tourism industry in Ontario's capital. According to a report on CTV's website, “Toronto Tourism has made promoting Caribana a priority this year, spending $417,000 to market the event in the U.S.”

Evidently, Caribana continues to be more and more successful with each passing year. This has been helped greatly by the increase of corporate sponsors for the event. Scotiabank is currently the event's title sponsor while Research In Motion Ltd. – makers of the Blackberry – is another noted sponsor. Clearly, what is arguably the city's biggest event of the year is only getting bigger.

It is hopeful that the well-needed strengthening of the local economy, as well as the sunshine, brought on by Caribana will be mainstays for the rest of Toronto's summer. That would certainly be worth “jumping up” for.

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