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Caribana to Niagara: Turn up and wind (or whine) down in Canada

Updated: Apr 5, 2020

It's that time a year again and Caribana is around the corner. Although we associate our neighbors up North with Drake or Raptors, they're also home to what was once North America's largest Caribbean Carnival. The turn up has evolved over the years, but it's still a nice intro to carnival. My girls and I hit Caribana last year to #whine up/down, but after all the bacchanal, we decided to wind down at the beautiful #NiagaraFalls. So here's your Caribana checklist:

1) Choose a squad | Caribana (or any carnival for that matter) is best enjoyed with friends.

2) Get accommodations and flights | We got an #airbnb almost 6 months before and our flights 1 month before.

3) Choose a band | We played mas with #saldenah because frankly, they had the best costumes. Yes, we wanted to turn up, but we also wanted to look beautiful!

4) Get your party tickets | This is one area where we messed up. We waited until the last minute to get party ticket, so we missed the major parties. Get your tickets early!!! Let me say it one more time for the people in the back, GET YOUR TICKETS EARLY! You can find most of the major parties here. We missed it, but I highly recommend Soca Kingdom!

5) Get your carnival gear (This one is SUPER important and a little lengthy!) |

  • You are on your feet all day when you play mas (participate in carnival). Comfortable shoes are a MUST. My girls and I all had variations of this shoe. We ripped out the insoles and put in these insoles that my girl, ShaVonne recommended.

  • For my ladies, you'll also need some carnival tights. It helps keep your leg accessories in place.

  • Your choice of bag is very important too; we got this fanny pack that converts into a purse. We used it all weekend, and it worked well with every outfit.

  • Bonus: For me, masquerading (root word for playing mas) is all about transformation. My goal during Caribana was all about serving a different look EVERY SINGLE DAY! So, I stepped into that #wiglife with Perry the Pink Wig (Yes friends, she has a name!). I also had Olivia the Orange Wig, but my friends told me she was not a good look, so I sent her back to the land of Wigs-sania, a place where wigs get matched with new homes. I still think about her sometimes!

6) Make the most of your trip | Since we were already in Toronto, we decided to hit up Niagara Falls, and it did not disappoint. It surprising has a ton of cool wineries, restaurants and even casinos. There's something there for everyone. My friends and I spent time at the Butterfly Conservatory. (I might dedicate another post to all things Niagara.)

7) Turn up one last time | After our relaxing day at Niagara, we needed one more turn up. We hit the Carnival Rehab Pool Party. The people were beautiful, the music was great, and the vibes were right!

For those of you hitting Caribana this year, enjoy yourself and be safe!

If you want to learn more about that carnival life, I recommend following Sokatribe and Globalcarnivalist. I know both of these ladies personally, and they are your premier carnival experts!

Stay Inspired,

Shedisha Abby

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To those reading this who intend to play mass, a few pro tips: 1) bring super glue for the gems on your costume 2) bring waterproof lash glue for lashes 3) wear sweat-proof makeup 4) bring protein bars and quick, but filling snacks!

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