The 46th annual three-week carnival brings together the colours and rhythms of the Caribbean with the parade spectacle as its premiere event.
"All of the Caribbean are supposed to be down there," said Wenell Lampell Scott, who was looking forward to the steady stream of musical talent.
Sheree Long and Mark Williams make the trip from Detroit to Toronto every year to see the bejeweled masqueraders.
“We can never have enough of the Caribbean food, and you know the culture and the festivities," Long said. "The parade is awesome every year and all the floats so it's beautiful."
Last year Ontario's economy got a $480 million boost to the economy as a result of the carnival —considered one of the largest in North America.
On Saturday morning Premiere Kathleen Wynne and newly elected Liberal MPP Mitzie Hunter participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the parade.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was also scheduled to attend but did not appear at the event.