Author: Stephen Weir | Date: 25 April 2019
The Saldenah family pulled it off. There was too much at stake. Louis Saldenah was able to get a record number of people – 2,800 people into the Scarborough Cinnamon Banquet Hall, He had 120 fancy dressed models on and off the stage before the bar closed at 2 am and didn’t have a heart attack getting the job done!
Saldenah Carnival, the largest and most winning Canadian band in the annual Toronto Caribbean Carnival Grand Parade is taking it all to heart in 2019. Note that their theme is the Heart Beat: the Thrill of Life. And to keep the whole thing beating a record 17 sections were needed to show all the costumes they will have on the road this year.
“ We expect to be making 6,000 costumes this season,” said Hayden Saldenah. “ There will be five trucks on the road with special guest stars on the floats (Caribbean Camera hears that Trinidadian singer Nadia Batson) so we needed, and got, a strong launch on Saturday night.”
“ We are talking large numbers. There were 2,800 people in the Hall,” he continued. “That wasn’t just the ticket holders. We also had 17 sections with at least six models in each. There was the Rhythm Section performing before the show, all the Socasizers, the deputy mayor Michael Thompson and even (Caribbean singer) Iwer George came out on stage at the launch.”
Breathless. Lust. Love. The Heart Theme was carried throughout the long show in the names of the sections, the colours of the costumes (reds and pinks dominated) and the highly choreographed performances.
One doesn't usually see political types attending Toronto Carnival costume launches, especially when they don't get started until after midnight. But, deputy mayor Michael Thompson is the unofficial mayor of Scarborough and did come by to kick-off the costume launch for the Saldenah Carnival. He wasn’t in Mas so no one showed any interest in his clothes (but he did get a few offers for his new black sneakers -- unfortunately not shown in our pictures)
When the speeches ended and the stage was cleared, a non-stop cavalcade of highly skilled models danced and showed their stuff till just before the bars closed down at 2am. It was a fashion show for the ages - these are the costumes that will be worn on the parade route for the Caribana 2019 August 3rd parade.
There was a jarring note to the launch - prior to the start of the show there were messages and pictures flashed on screens around the room – one of the messages? Don’t bring guns and other weapons to the August 3rd grand parade.
“What is next,” asked Hayden? “We were touring a large Scarborough warehouse today. We have to nail down the location of our camp ASAP. Expect an announcement by the weekend!”