Abdallah Castillo joined fellow Dominicans in putting his best foot forward in downtown Toronto last night (Jan. 15).
Castillo, who oversees the Dominican Republic Tourism Board’s Toronto office, joined Dominicans and non-Dominicans alike in demonstrating his merengue dance footwork skills during the second annual Beat the Winter Blues celebration, hosted by the tourism board and the CBC.
The event offered those in Toronto’s Union Station Dominican cuisine, music, dance performances and dance opportunities, and a chance to try their hand at a golf simulator, along with a chance to win a trip for two to Punta Cana provided by Air Transat and Melia Hotels International.
“This is to cheer you up,” Castillo said of the event. “We want to celebrate. We have a vibrant culture. All the islands have beaches and palm trees, but we have the [fun-loving] people. Our people make the difference.”
All Dominican Republic tourist hotels have entertainment staff offering the likes of merengue, the musical and dance expressions that have built a worldwide following, Castillo said.
Castillo expects this will be a strong winter tourism-wise for his homeland, which, among other things, didn’t see any hurricane damage last year.
The contest for the trip can be found at cbc.ca/beattheblues and runs to Feb. 11.
Pictured at the event are Castillo and one of the elaborately costumed performers.