Internal chaos, in-fighting and ridiculous name changes aside, Toronto's Caribbean long weekend perseveres regardless of the obstacles it throws in its own path.Whether it's called Caribana or the Toronto International Carnival, this weekend's jump-up is, the Pope aside, the city's biggest party of the year and an international phenomenon.
Online, there's no shortage of Caribana/Carnival-related material, though most of it is not time-sensitive. Planning for parties and dances is often only finalized in the last few days before the event, but if you're looking for background information on the festival, the music and what this kind of throwdown means to the rest of the world, the Web is the place to go.
The festival's official site -- www.coconutpalmz.com/Caribana -- is a surprisingly solid primer, offering detailed listings of events, clubs across the city, hotels, roti-friendly restaurants and a guide to getting around town. For those not up on the name changes, www.caribana.com offers a similar though less comprehensive slate of events.
A better read are the hundreds of sites dedicated to Caribbean music, fashion, food and dance. If you're having trouble distinguishing between soca, calypso, chutney and zouk, need to find out who is the 2002 Road King or want to know how to make the perfect goat dinner, these are the places to go.
A quick read and you can jump an' wave in style and confidence.
A heady essay on the roots of Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago, stretching back to the 1700s.
A solid home for calypso online, and one of the places you can download this year's smash Carnival hit, Osama Say.
A British site dedicated to soca and the news around the music. Features an Internet broadcasting station so you can listen to the hottest jams.
Internet broadcasting is under fire in the U.S., but this station continues to play soca oldies 24-7.
Home of the massive Toronto sound system Kingdom of Soca. Check here to get a preview of the tunes the crew will be spinning incessantly over the next few days.
Official site of the Swedish (!) soca band Soca Rebels.
Creators of some of the most extravagant Caribana costumes. You're a bit late if you want to dress up like a peacock for this year's festival, but there's always next firstname.lastname@example.org