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A Celebration of Oshawa's Legendary Club Carib

Club Carib of Oshawa has been a fixture of the city’s cultural activities for over 50 years. Their

pavillion on Wentworth Street has been a favourite feature for the Folk Art Council’s annual Fiesta

Week celebrations.


This month, Club Carib will be the focus of the Local History Speaker Series, presented in partnership

with the Oshawa Historical Society and the Oshawa Public Libraries.


The Local History Speaker Series takes place Tuesday, February 21 at 6 p.m. at the McLaughlin

Branch of the Oshawa Public Libraries, in the lower level auditorium, located at 65 Bagot Street,

Oshawa.


Club Carib of Oshawa Inc. was founded in January 1966 as a way for Oshawa’s Caribbean

community to gather and support one another and to ensure cultural traditions continue to thrive.

Sharing food and music traditions with other communities has also been part of the club’s

continuance. By way of the Sounds of Steel and Caribbean dancing, Club Carib participates in the

popular Fiesta activities and other celebrations throughout the city and the year.


During the Local History Speaker Series, members of Club Carib will share stories and songs from

their history in Oshawa. They will be bringing with them the very first steel pan, which was donated to

the Oshawa Museum five years ago. The museum also has a collection of photographs from the

club’s beginnings which will be displayed.


The steel pan, the National Instrument of Trinidad and Tobago, was created by Carlyle Julal in 1971

from an empty steel drum rescued from the city’s dump. Carlyle, steel band tuner, tutor and musical

arranger, had recently immigrated from Trinidad. He was asked by then president George

Kissoondath if he could form a steel band to celebrate Caribbean culture and share it with the Oshawa community. Carlyle tuned all the instruments for the orchestra at home, and the ‘Oshawa Caribs’ played their first show in the '71 Fiesta Parade. The parade stopped in front of Parkwood Estate, where the steelband played Happy Birthday for Col. Sam in celebration of his centenary. A second steel band,

Oshawa Sounds of Steel formed in 1996.


One could make an evening of it by taking in dinner at one of the many Caribbean restaurants

in the downtown core, and as its the Library, taking home a book or two by authors of Caribbean

heritage.


The Oshawa Historical Society was established in 1957 to maintain and preserve the history of

Oshawa. The original name was the Oshawa and District Historical Society, and their task was to

found a museum for the city.


Upcoming events in the Local History Speaker Series include:

  • March 21, Dan Buchanan, ‘Murder in the Family: The Dr. King Story'

  • April 18, Doris Cherkas & Irene Chromej-Johnston, ‘Finally Finding Home in Oshawa’

  • May 16 Melissa Cole, Curator of the Oshawa Museum, ‘Summer in the City’


Ah yes Summer, perfect time for some steel bands too.

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