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Bag searches for some Caribbean Carnival parade-goers this year

Some visitors at this year’s Caribbean Carnival parade, formerly known as Caribana, will have to undergo bag searches before heading into the bleachers to watch the massive event.

The colourful celebration of Caribbean culture will take over Lake Shore Boulevard on Sat., Aug. 4. The event usually draws a crowd of about one million. Event spokesman Stephen Weir said the security searches will only apply to the 20,000 or so people who’ll be watching the parade from ticketed seats in the bleachers.

Security guards will be searching visitors’ bags for alcohol, drugs and weapons.

Weir said the people who usually purchase bleacher seats are seniors, families with young children and tourists. He doesn’t expect pat-downs will be part of the screening process.

Weir said the recent shooting on Danzig Street in Scarborough played a part in the decision to increase security.

“Caribana and now the carnival, we get tagged any time there’s any black-on-black crime in Toronto — The media’s all over us,” he said.

“People are unfairly linking us with an event in another part of the city that was really tragic, but we should be doing this.”

Weir said the bag checks being done at this year’s event will be similar to what you’d see at a Blue Jays game.

“If you’ve brought in food and non-alcoholic beverages, we don’t care. But if someone tries to bring in drugs or alcohol or projectiles and the worst-case scenario, a weapon, we have police standing by.”

Weir said there has been security at Caribana events in the past, particularly those where alcohol was served, precautions he described as “normal bar security.”

Police officers and paid-duty officers will also be on hand for the parade.