Toronto Mas' Bands Association is a non-profit arts organization founded in 2000 to support the development and promotion of the Carnival Arts. It was formed to build on the legacy of mas' creators and producers in Canada, since the Trinidad-styled Carnival was first introduced in 1967.
The TMBA is managed by a committed group of over two dozen artists and arts administrators and whose directors seek support and input from Toronto's large and diverse Caribbean community. With the tradition of making mas' being an integral part of the culture of peoples of Caribbean descent and beyond, the TMBA is one of the most influential arts organizations in contributing to the wealth and appeal of Toronto's cultural calendar of events.
The TMBA is the primary producing partner of the annual Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto, responsible for the spectacular annual parade of bands made up of over 7,000 costumed players, hundreds of musicians and singers, steelbands and DJ's. Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto is the largest Caribbean festival of its kind in North America and attracts over 1.2 million visitors from the world over to its 3.5 kilometre-long street theatre production. Reports estimate the festival generates in excess of $300 million in economic activity in the Province.
TMBA was spearheaded by founding members Frank Ramsaroop (leader of Burrokeet Canada), Louis Saldenah (current TMBA President and one of Canada's most successful mas' producers), and Selwyn "Nip" Davis (TMBA Secretary, top bandleader and founder of Zodiac Inc.). TMBA was entrusted with the responsibility of managing the entire Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto in 2002 and 2006, in response to the demise of the Caribbean Cultural Committee (CCC). Since 2007, the TMBA has partnered with the Festival Management Committee to successfully run the festival's business and TMBA has returned its main focus to masquerade creation and production, all the while working collaboratively with other partners in the festival, such as the Ontario Steelpan Association (OSA) and the Organization of Calypso Performing Artistes (OCPA).
In addition to the huge parade, the TMBA also produces the King & Queen Show, staged at Lamport Stadium on Thursday night before the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto parade. This premiere event is the annual presentation of all the elaborately costumed players who lead the competing bands and whose dazzling costumes represent the themes each band portrays. Over 6,000 faithful spectators attend this unique, open-air evening of fantasy and breath-taking creativity that brings Toronto onto the world stage in Carnival design and technology. The grand parade is preceded by months of preparation activity in mas' camps set up by each band at locations across Toronto. These mas' camps employ hundred of craft persons and volunteers in the design and construction of the thousands of costumes worn in the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival TorontoParade.
The Toronto Mas' Bands Association also organizes the annual Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto Kiddies Carnival parade of over 700 children in twelve costumed bands, accompanied by DJ's. The highly-anticipated, family-focused event serves both as an important community uplifting initiative in Toronto's Jane-Finch community and as a training ground for young mas' designers and costume-makers in the Carnival Arts craft.
The TMBA welcomes public support for the Carnival Arts and continues to play a significant role in the development and promotion of costume design, education of youth and children, and in celebrating the culture of Caribbean people in Canada.