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Caribbean festival kicks off in Toronto


Caribana Festival 2012 kicked off in Toronto on Tuesday
Caribana Festival 2012 kicked off in Toronto on Tuesday

Staff writers

July 18, 2012 — Despite it being the hottest day of the year so far, hundreds of people gathered to celebrate Toronto's Carribean Festival Tuesday.

Staying hydrated and cool at outdoor festivals is crucial
Staying hydrated and cool at outdoor festivals is crucial

What was once a three day event, has grown into three weeks of Caribbean inspired events.

The annual Caribbean Festival kicked off at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto on Tuesday.

Temperatures soared to 36.8 degrees, making it the hottest day of the year so far, but that didn't stop hundreds from joining the celebrations.

The festival runs until August 5 and with the summer only expected to get hotter, officials recommend taking certain precautions to avoid things like heat exhaustion or related illnesses.

"Stay really hydrated and keep cool...Bring a hat, sunblock is good, 30 SPF or more is great," says Leighanne Dunlop with Toronto EMS.

17 sent to hospital after lightning hit Whitby's Ribfest Sunday
17 sent to hospital after lightning hit Whitby's Ribfest Sunday

Storms can also disrupt outdoor festivals in the summer and this past weekend was a reminder of what could go wrong when thunderstorms roll through.

17 people were sent to hospital with non-life threatening injuries after lightning struck at Whitby's Ribfest.

Officials say checking the forecast before heading to an outdoor event can help you prepare incase storms do hit.

"We fully understand that at this time of year every Canadian wants to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather at things like Ribfest, concerts, camping, and hiking, but it's important, both in extreme situations like thunderstorms and in high heat, to take health and safety into account," says Geoff Coulson, a warning preparedness meteorologist at Environment Canada.

With files from The Canadian Press

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