This year’s Toronto Caribbean Carnival kicked off at city hall on Tuesday morning.

Mayor John Tory was joined by federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, MP Adam Vaughan and a host of dignitaries to launch the four-week festival of Caribbean music, cuisine and culture.

A steel pan band and beautifully adorned dancers kept the crowd entertained as guests spoke about unity.

“In the most diverse city in the world you have to find reasons to bring people together and that is towards the goal of making sure we’re not only the most diverse city in the world but the most inclusive. The Caribbean Carnival is and always has been something that does that,” said Tory.

At the centre of the festival is the Grand Parade, which has been billed as “the largest street performance parade of its kind in North America.” The massive parade, which will run along Toronto’s Lakeshore Boulevard, is expected to attract more than 2 million people from all over the world.

“For new Canadians, often people feel like they don’t belong, but coming to a festival where you hear the music you grew up with and seeing people in the streets in big numbers is a way of saying ‘yes we belong’,” said Singh.

This year’s parade includes more mass bands and a longer parade route.

Special viewing zones have also been set-up to help keep the parade from being “rushed” by the crowd.