The History of FESTIVAL CITY Festival City is a territory which holds a very significant place in Guyana’s history. Festival City was built specifically to house the delegates of the first ever Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA) in 1972. Visiting guests and artists were accommodated at Festival City. A total of 250 houses were constructed out of Guyana’s world renowned Greenheart timber, in North Ruimveldt, Georgetown. The houses were furnished with Nibbee living room suites woven by Guyana’s Amerindians.
The entire decor is local, aking use of Guyana’s woods and her flowers, etc. The Festival City Territory is comprised of 13 Streets which all have unique significance to the citys history. Its border spans 5 vertically parallel streets namely, Unity Place Road, Blue Mountain Road, Mittelholzer Street, Flying Fish Street and Spring View Avenue and 8 horizontally parallel streets namely, Nutmeg Street, Willemstad Street, E. R Borrowes Street, Hummingbird Street, Soufriere Street, Cul de Sac Street, Ozama Street and Layou Street. of the 13 streets were named after historic people and places in the Caribbean. Blue Mountain Road obtained its name from a historical landmark in Jamaica. Blue Mountain peak is the highest mountain in Jamaica and one of the highest peaks in the Caribbean, its name is indeed plausible and appropriate enough to be used as the name of a street in a city with such rich Caribbean culture. Mittelholzer Street obtained its name from a famous Guyanese novelist, Edgar Austin Mittelholzer. He was considered as the first professional novelist to come out of the English-speaking Caribbean.
His novels include characters and situations from a ariety of places within the Caribbean, and range in time from the early period of European settlement to the twentieth century. They feature a cross-section of ethnic groups and social classes, dealing with subjects of historical, political, psychological, and moral interest. Mittelholzer is certainly the most prolific novelist to be produced by the Caribbean; hence it was indeed an appropriate gesture to have one of the streets in Festival City named after such a historic icon.
Flying Fish Street, as funny as its name may seem, was named after a fish which still originates from Barbados. Barbados is well known in the Caribbean as the “Land of The Flying Fish” and it is no surprise that today The Flying Fish is its official national fish. It is also no surprise that its name is used as a street name in one of Guyana’s most bragged about cities. Nutmeg Street, which also has a funny name, inherited its name from a popular spice found in Grenada, a Caribbean country referred to as “The Spice Islands”. The nutmeg tree has a rich legacy and is closely related to Christmas.
It puts Grenada on the map because Grenada is one of the only places in the world that the nutmeg rees are found. Its rarity made it appropriate to have a street named after it. E. R. Borrowes Street obtained its name from a renowned artist and art teacher who founded the Working People’s Art Class (WPAC), the first established art institution in Guyana. Borrowes was born in Barbados in 1903, of African origin. He arrived in Guyana as a young child. His father worked for the privately owned Daily Chronicle. After his father’s death, the family had little money to live on.
When Borrowes left primary school he became a tailor’s apprentice. He continued to study from books, and passed examinations in English Language and Literature, English History, and Scripture. The E R Borrowes School of Art, an undergraduate institution accredited by the University of Guyana, is named after him. It was indeed plausible to name a street after someone who has made such a huge contribution to art in Guyana and furthermore a large impact on Guyana’s history. Soufriere Street, Soufriere is a word with many historical landmarks attached to it. Soufriere is a town on the West Coast of Saint Lucia.
The town and the surrounding district has a population of 7,935. Originally founded by the French it was the original capital of the island. La Soufri?©re (“The Sulfurer”) or Soufriere Saint Vincent is an active volcano on the island of Saint Vincent in the Windward Islands of the Caribbean. Many volcanoes in the Caribbean are named Soufriere (French: “sulphur outlet”). These include Soufriere Hills on Montserrat and La Grande Soufriere on Guadeloupe. It is no surprise that a street in Festival City is named Soufriere, its name is legendary, has great weights attached it nd is indeed appropriate enough to be used as a street name.
Ozama Street obtained its name from the famous Ozama River (Spanish: Rio Ozama) found in the Dominican Republic. We can trace its source to the Loma Siete Cabezas in the Sierra de Yamas?¤ close to Villa Altagracia. The river flows 148 kilometers before emptying into the Caribbean Sea. At the end of the Journey it bisects the capital, Santo Domingo, into eastern and western halves. The three main tributaries of the Ozama are the Isabela River, the Sabita River and the Yabacao River. Christopher Columbus s said to have moored his ship in the river when he first arrived in Santo Domingo.
With such a fascinating history it is doesn’t come by surprise that this river’s name was used to name a street in Festival City. Layou Street, Layou is a small town located on the island of Saint Vincent, in Saint Andrew Parish. Layou is located on the western coast of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and was one of the first areas of settlement by the French, who were the first Europeans to settle in St. Vincent and The Grenadines in the early part of the eighteenth century. Even before then the
Caribs used it as one of their settlements, as it is evident from the petroglyphs which are found in the area. Saint Vincent surely has the right to boast when it comes to its countrys culture and Guyana indeed made a very wise decision when it chose to name one of its streets in Festival City after this small town found in Saint Vincent. This name is indeed suitable and fits in perfectly with all the other streets which have names attached to significant people and places in the Caribbean. Festival City had its own Bank and Post Office, Resident Doctor and nurses on duty, Police Station,
Fire Service, Laundry, restaurants, shops and a transportation pool but after many years many of these facilities have become non-functional, however the Library, Clinic and Community Centre still play very important roles in the lives of residents. Festival City has always been and forever will be the home of CARIFESTA, it is one of Guyana’s most prized communities and is that one other aspect of Guyanese culture that puts Guyana on the world map, it sets Guyana aside from the many other countries which have hosted CARIFESTA and will in the near or distant future host CARIFESTA.