Seventh straight win for Carnival Queen
August 10, 2017
Joella Crichton is a boss.
For the seventh straight year, the York University graduate and actress was crowned Queen of the Band at the 50th annual Toronto Caribbean Carnival King & Queen showcase at Lamport stadium last week.
It was her ninth title in the last decade and she said the goal is to win 10 before considering retirement.
“A lot of people have been asking why I am still going on,” she said. “I am getting close to 10 and if I attain that milestone next year, I might just walk away.”
Crichton, who has been playing mas’ since she was three years old, says she still enjoys the challenge of competing every year.
“It never gets old for me,” the Carnival Nationz band representative pointed out. “I get very excited and motivated when this time of year comes around and also nervous when I am about to go on stage. I know the hard work that’s done behind the scene to produce these brilliant costumes and I have a duty to go out there and parade in it to the best of my ability. That’s on my shoulders and I take that responsibility extremely seriously.”
Designed and built by Kenny Coombs, Crichton’s stunning costume depicted the Empress of the Frozen North in her winter fortress.
“This was the second heaviest costume I have worn and it was not easy to carry because it was a bit windy,” the 30-year-old said. “It was a bit tricky maneuvering it, but I am happy that everything went well.”
In 2007, her costume bent and toppled.
Crichton, who competed with Mervyn Skeete and his Toronto Caribbean Connection organization before joining Carnival Nationz, is unsure what she will do once she stops competing.
“I just can’t walk away from mas’,” she said. “I have to be involved in some manner.”
It was a night of celebration for the Crichton family as older sister Mischka Crichton won the Female Individual title.
Her costume, which was also designed and built by Coombs, showed off the glorious colours of autumn leaves.
The sisters’ mother, Lou-Ann Crichton, plays a pivotal role annually in helping to prepare the costumes for her daughters to parade in.
“Mom is so amazing and it really means a lot to her,” said Joella Crichton who plays Lysandra in Shakespeare in the Ruff ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ that runs from August 15 to September 3 at Wiithrow Park, 725 Logan Ave. “She aspired to play Queen of the Band but a really bad back prevented her from doing that. She just gets a lot of joy from seeing us perform and does everything she can to ensure we put on a good show for the audience and judges.”
Shane Reid Mungal captured his seventh straight King of the Band title since joining Carnival Nationz in 2011 while Shawn Nicholson of Louis Saldenah’s Mas-K Club clinched the Male Individual Award for his portrayal of ‘Devil of Winter’.
Sunlime Canada, led by Dwayne Gunness, won the Ontario Science Centre (OSC) ‘Innovation in Mas’ Award for their portrayal of ‘Journey to Valhalla’ in the Queen of the Band competition.
“David Amow’s design truly represents the intersection of art and science and engaged the jury with his innovative approach and dedication to developing mas’ culture,” said OSC chief science officer Maurice Bitran.
The award was created in 2010 to highlight the innovation involved in costume-making. It honours the designer whose creation best exemplifies the application of principles and practices of innovation that include risk-taking, problem-solving and daring perspectives in material use, mechanics and engineering.