Carifiesta is one of Montreal’s most colourful and exciting parades, featuring everything from steel-pan bands to participants dressed in costumes made of colourful feathers and bouncing fibreglass rods.

Carifiesta is a tradition born of slavery in Trinidad and Tobago, when French colonial masters hosted masquerade balls three days before Ash Wednesday. Slaves got a day off and mimicked their masters at their own parties, a tradition that morphed into Trinidad’s famed Carnival.

That tradition migrated north to such cities as Miami, New York, Toronto and Montreal. This year, Montreal’s competing floats, known as “mas bands,” all “play mas” (as in masquerade). Participants in “mas camps” throughout the city “build mas” (stitch costumes and build floats).

The 2019 festival kicks off with Carifiesta’s 8th annual Junior Kiddies Carnival parade for children on June 29 and culminates with the 44th annual big parade through downtown Montreal on July 6, expected to draw more than 100,000 spectators.

For more information, including the parade route, visit: