Welcome!

Welcome to TorontoMulticulturalCalendar.com/blog, the tell-all blog about Toronto’s free or almost free festivals and events that express this city’s cultural diversity. Here you can learn about events that will stimulate your thinking, broaden your enjoyment of music, and hopefully get you dancing. Hopefully, you will experience the world in our own city.

We regret that we are unable to keep updating our events calendar on a daily basis for the time being. However, we will continue this blog, its reviews and announcements.

If you subscribe to our Newsletter, we will let you know by email when our regular daily calendar will continue. These newsletters will announce some typical events and the posting of new blogs as usual. Notices of these blogs will also be on www.Twitter.com@torontomulticul.

We will only be able to pass on announcements of a small percentage of events. For keeping up to date on those that especially interest you, we suggest you subscribe to newsletters of organizations that host specific gatherings. Check out other calendars. See our Blog with its list of suggestions. It’s at: http://www.torontomulticulturalcalendar.com/2015/05/01/461-how-to-find-free-or-nearly-free-multicultural-events-in-toronto-2015/
Ruth.

Ontario Folk Dance Association – 2015

Folk Dance Association

Ruth writes: This major organization gives information about international folk dancing performances and participation in the province. Anybody interested in promoting their own folk dances, taking part or just watching should at least look at its website.  See: http://www.ofda.ca/index.html. This is one of the many organizations in Toronto that brings together our many cultures.

468. Vietnamese Boat People Museum in Ottawa – 2015

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Ruth writes: I lived in Vietnam for two years in the 1960s, and have been back twice for foreign press reunions since its government changed in 1975. I like going to Tet New Year celebrations in Toronto. They bring back memories of school girls on bicycles in flowing white, long-sleeved ao dais, and the flower markets in Saigon that thrived during Tet in spite of the war.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

I also go to Toronto’s Tet celebrations because I like to find out how people who arrived in a new country with nothing have adapted. After the Vietnam war ended, Canada resettled over 60,000 Vietnamese boat people. I remember those days especially because, like many other Canadians and Americans, we brought a couple of refugees into our home for six months to help them get resettled. But that’s another story.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy.

The Toronto Tet celebrations have been in convention centres. The community is so big, it needs a lot of space. At these, I’ve also found lion dances, performers in traditional opera costumes, and marching bands in spotless white uniforms. Vendors there usually sell food, mutual funds, and real estate. One booth had a contest where the prize was a rental of a BMW.

Last February, Canadian National Junior Figure Skating Champion Nam Nguyen, Vietnamese-Canadian Senator Thanh Hai Ngo and Prime Minster Stephen Harper were among those in attendance.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy.

The Prime Minister apparently felt that Vietnamese-Canadians were important. He personally announced that every year on April 30th, “Canadians will in the future mark the modern beginning of this country’s Vietnamese community.” April 30, has been designated as “Journey to Freedom Day” in honour of Canada’s Vietnamese people. Unlike the other government dignitaries, he did not wear a South Vietnamese scarf around his neck. Was he just hot, or was he planning a trip to Hanoi?

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy.

I learned that day that some of the Vietnamese were working on a Vietnamese Boat People Museum to be located in Ottawa. I had never heard of such a museum. I started looking for information about it but couldn’t find much. So upon arrival in Ottawa earlier this month, my brother and I drove to the site on Preston Street near Chinatown. A big sign with a picture of the proposed building stood on a vacant lot. Canadian and South Vietnamese flags indicated that indeed, we had found the site.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy.

Across the street was a monument of a woman and a baby labelled Vietnamese Commemorative Monument inscribed in three languages “In memory of those who have lost their lives in their quest for freedom.” Two fresh floral wreaths dominated by roses had been recently placed there. One had a big 40, indicating the 40th anniversary of what many consider “the fall of Saigon”.

Dr. Tri Hoang. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy.

Dr. Tri Hoang. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy.

In Ottawa, I was able to meet with some of the people who were working on the museum project. Dr. Tri Hoang is president of the Vietnamese Canadian Federation. He said he had been serving with the South Vietnamese army during the war 40 years ago, and then he was sent to a re-education camp for two and a half years after the Americans fled. He escaped by boat to a camp in Malaysia in 1980 and arrived in Canada three months later. He has been a dentist in Edmonton now for 32 years.

Nam Hoang. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy.

Nam Hoang. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy.

His son Nam Hoang was born in Canada and graduated in architecture from Carleton University. I also met Minh Nguyen who was born in Cholon, the Chinese part of Saigon, now renamed Ho Chi Minh City. Her father was a boat person too. He sponsored her and her mother to Canada after he arrived here.

Pulau Bidong Refugee Camp, Malaysia where Dr. Tri Hoang lived in 1980. He is on the far right. Photo: Dr. Tri Hoang.

Pulau Bidong Refugee Camp, Malaysia where Dr. Tri Hoang lived in 1980. He is on the far right. Photo: Dr. Tri Hoang.

Their committee has now collected enough money to pay for the plot of land on Preston Street. They are, however, hoping to sell that plot and build the museum on land near the new War Museum and the Holocaust Museum. They were expanding their project from just a museum to a museum and a cultural centre. The Preston Street site would be too small for both, they said.

Photo:  K. Gaug;er,  Vietnamese Refugees' Archive

Photo: K. Gauger, Vietnamese Refugees’ Archive

They handed me a brochure. “Currently, we are in the process of developing a new Capital Fundraising Drive, with the aim to launch it in early 2016 to coincide with the 30th Anniversary of People of Canada’s Nansen Medal Award. This award was given in 1986 by the United Nations for Canadian humanitarian efforts with the Vietnamese Boat People, and refugees from Cambodia and Laos.” Canada is the only country that has been given the Nansen Medal.

I liked the enthusiasm and dedication of the committee. I wondered why the museum couldn’t be built in Toronto since we have many more Vietnamese than Ottawa. They said Ottawa was chosen for the project because “it is the capital and because of the Vietnamese community’s deep connection with Marion Dewar, a former mayor who initiated the city-wide sponsorship of over 4000 Indochinese refugees in 1979.”  Dr. Hoang says Toronto has about 45,000 Vietnamese. Ottawa has about 10,000.

They mentioned a joint project in Calgary where Vietnamese were working with other Southeast Asians on a community centre.

In thinking about the Ottawa project afterwards, I wondered about the use of prominent public land near the popular War Museum just for the Vietnamese when there are other immigrant groups with equally tragic stories to preserve like that of the Irish, slaves from the United States, and Vietnam War Draft Dodgers.

While the Museum of History will be devoting two floors to the history of immigrants to Canada, space given to the Vietnamese and other groups will probably be very limited. There are a lot of different groups.

I remembered my own experience when Toronto’s Chinese community was small. Like other cultural groups, the Vietnamese also need a space where they can hang up their pictures. They need a place they can call their own, where their children can go on Saturdays to learn the Vietnamese language, where their young people can look for prospective spouses and where the latest batch of immigrants can learn English. Where else can outsiders learn to cook pho and Vietnamese spring rolls?

I took a special interest in the Vietnamese because I’ve lived in Vietnam and enjoyed the people I met. I wish them all the best in their project. For more information and donations, contact: vbpmcc@gmail.com.

Asian Heritage Month Gala Performance – May 21, 2015

INVITATION | Asian Heritage Month Gala Performance of Asian Canadian Artists
 
TITLE: “SILK ROADS II – MONGOLIA: PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGES, MUSIC AND DANCE FROM MONGOLIA ALONG THE SILK ROAD”
FREE ADMISSION   Please register by e-mail: asianheritagecanadian@yahoo.ca 
Featuring:
Dr. Neville Poy and The Honourable Dr. Vivienne Poy on “Photographic Images of Magnificent Mongolia”
Keynote Address and Performance:
Professor Chan Ka Nin, composer of IRON ROAD, on “A Rare Instrument from China: KongHou 箜篌”
Date: Thursday, May 21, 2015
Time: 7:00 pm. Please be seated by 6:45 pm.
Venue: Innis Town Hall, University of Toronto, 2 Sussex Avenue, Toronto
RECEPTION FOLLOWS
Description: Focusing on the theme “SILK ROADS II – MONGOLIA”, the evening will begin with the featured presentation: “PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGES OF MAGNIFICENT MONGOLIA” by Dr. Neville Poy and The Honourable Dr. Vivienne Poy. Then the performance section will commence with Professor Chan Ka Nin’s keynote talk and performance on “A Rare Instrument from China: KongHou 箜篌.”  This includes an introduction of this instrument and a performance by Liu Xuanyi.  Yvonne Ng, Dora Award winning choreographer and dancer, and her tiger princess dance projects will present the contemporary dance “Magnetic Fields.”  There will be presentations of exotic music along the Silk Road, such as that by award-winning flutist and composer Ron Korb (龍笛), Middle Eastern Music by Yiannis on three different Instruments: Bouzouki, Oud and Saz, and Mongolian Dances for the Grand Feast Event by Chi‐Ping Dance Group & dancers of Chinese Collective Arts Association.
PROGRAMME
 Opening Address:  Mr. Justin Poy, Honorary Patron, Asian Heritage Month‐‐CFACI
“PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGES OF MAGNIFICENT MONGOLIA” 
by Dr. Neville Poy and The Honourable Dr. Vivienne Poy
Performances: An Exotic Journey Along The Silk Road
 
Keynote and Performance:
“A RARE INSTRUMENT FROM CHINA: KONGHOU 箜篌”
by Professor Chan Ka Nin
KONGHOU PERFORMANCE by Liu Xuanyi
Kimberly Chin, choreographer & dancer
Alice Ho, piano
MUSIC ON FLUTES
By Ron Korb (龍笛)
Alice Ho, piano
Chan Ka Nin, Guitar
“MAGNETIC FIELDS” (AN EXCERPT) – CONTEMPORARY DANCE
by Yvonne Ng and tiger princess dance projects
MIDDLE EASTERN MUSIC ON 3 DIFFERENT INSTRUMENTS: BOUZOUKI, OUD AND SAZ
by Yiannis Kapoulas
with keyboardist, percussionist and vocalist
TRADITIONAL DANCE: MONGOLIAN GRAND FEAST
by Chi‐Ping Dance Group & dancers of Chinese Collective Arts Association
LAUNCH |  REVAMPED VIRTUAL MUSEUM OF ASIAN CANADIAN CULTURAL HERITAGE (VMACCH)
RECEPTION FOLLOWS
 Co-organizers:
Asian Heritage Month—Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture (Central Ontario) Inc., ORBIS, Bata Shoe Museum; Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, York University; Canadian Studies Program, University College, University of Toronto; Asian Institute, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, Richard Charles Lee Canada Hong Kong Library, Social Services Network, Acqua Technologies Inc.
Asian Heritage Month Festival is partially funded by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

467. Culturally-Diverse Festivals in Multicultural Ottawa – 2015

Ottawa International Children's Festival.  Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Ottawa International Children’s Festival. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Ruth writes: I mentioned meeting Ryoko Itabashi playing a samisen and wearing a Japanese kimono in my first Blog on Ottawa. How nice it was to have an email from her. I feel I’ve made a new friend in that city. She doesn’t always busk at the Byward Market but look for her there.

Chances of meeting interesting people are usually good at festivals too, especially ethnic ones. You have reasons to ask questions. People are shy, but they do try to answer questions. As promised, here are some festivals in Ottawa you might consider for your next trip there. Our thanks to Jantine Van Kregten of Ottawa Tourism for compiling the following list. Dates marked in yellow have not yet been announced and need to be confirmed (TBC). As the time approaches, consult mentioned websites for dates.

Chinatown Remixed
Somerset Street Chinatown. Businesses throughout Chinatown feature the work of modern and traditional artists and crafts. Whether enjoying dim sum or sipping bubble tea, you’ll be surrounded by a fabulous selection of art. Dates TBC (in the past, it’s been in May or June but they’re going through transition and their website says major announcements are coming in May). www.chinatownremixed.ca

Italian Week
Preston Street. Celebrating its 40th year, Italian Week features a huge religious procession that winds through its streets, a Mardi Gras type celebration and wonderful samples of Italian food and music.  Dates: June 11-21, 2015. www.italianweekottawa.org

 Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Ottawa Lebanese Festival
St. Elias Cathedral and Banquet Centre. Enjoy fabulous food, celebration, Middle Eastern musical entertainment and dance, and plenty of family fun.
July 15-19, 2015. 613-852-2249. www.ottawalebanesefestival.com

Summer Solstice Aboriginal Arts Festival
Vincent Massey Park. In honour of National Aboriginal Day, see some of Canada’s best Aboriginal talent, featuring music, family programming and more! . June 19-21, 2015.
http://www.ottawafestivals.ca/events/summer-solstice-aboriginal-arts-festival-2/

Ottawa Eid Festival
EY Centre. A family-friendly festival with a bazaar, a toddler zone, fun inflatable games for all ages, and of course, delicious food served by various restaurants!  July 17 or 18, 2015. www.macottawaeid.com

Capital Ukrainian Festival.

Ottawa’s first Ukrainian Festival. July 24-26. www.capitalukrainianfestival.com.

Muslim Summer Festival
Britannia Park. Celebrating all cultural and religious backgrounds and representing more than 20 countries, the Muslim Summer Festival offers an exciting array of traditional cuisine, exhibitions, bazaars, and activities for the whole family.  August 1, 2015 . 613-321-5002. www.muslimsummerfestival.com

Ottawa GreekFest
1315 Prince of Wales Drive. This annual 11-day festival showcases live Greek music, traditional dances, excellent Greek cuisine, language lessons, etc.  August 13-23, 2015 . www.ottawagreekfest.com

South Asian Festival
Ottawa City Hall. This free event features non-stop entertainment ranging from Bollywood dance, laughter yoga, bhangra and live vocal performances to culinary delights to health education and screening.  August 14-15, 2015. 613-291-8624. www.southasianfest.net

Ottawa Turkish Festival
335 Michael Cowpland Drive. Turkish art, folk dance, music and gourmet food, where visitors will get an opportunity to celebrate, learn, and savour Turkish hospitality, culture, heritage and cuisine.  September 7-13, 2015. 613-228-1616. www.ottawaturkishfestival.com

Oktoberfest Ottawa
Clarke Fields Park. Home of the biggest Bavarian Beer Hall in Ontario! This traditional Oktoberfest serves up local beer, food, and local performers.  October 2-4, 2015 . 613-769-4800 . www.oktoberfestottawa.com

Robbie Burns Night
January 2016 (exact date and venue TBC) .

The Great Blessing of Water Ceremony
Canadian Museum of History (formerly Canadian Museum of Civilization). Take part in the Ukrainian Feast Day of Theophany, by attending a traditional blessing ceremony near the Ottawa River.  January 2016 (exact date TBC). 819-776-7000 / 800-555-5621. www.historymuseum.ca

CIBC Chinese New Year’s Festival
EY Centre. Welcome in the new year with authentic New Year’s Chinese food, lion dance, live music and a traditional Chinese fashion show.  February 2016 (exact date TBC). 613-822-8800. www.ottawaasianfest.com

Lion Dance – Lunar New Year Celebration
Somerset Street Chinatown
Lions will tour business to business to bring good fortune and ward off evil spirits! Enjoy this cultural experience and have a taste of the celebration.  (See also Night Market July 10-12, 2015). February 2016 (exact date TBC). 613-230-4707. www.ottawachinatown.ca .

In addition to these, look for a pamphlet: 2015 Festival Calendar – Ottawa Festivals d’Ottawa. Published by Employment Ontario, it mentions an Irish Festival in March, www.irishsocietyncr.com; a Latin American Film Festival in April-May, www.cfi.icf.ca/laff; the Ottawa International Children’s Festival in May, http://ottawachildrensfestival.ca/; and of course the Canadian Tulip Festival with multicultural performances daily in May,  www.tulipfestival.ca. There’s also the Festival of India Aug. 7-9, www.festivalofindiaottawa.org and Jamaica Day August 8, www.jamaicanottawaassn.org.  I’m sorry I missed the Vietnamese Exhibition and Cultural Show on May 3, http://www.vietboatpeoplemuseum.ca/en/the-vietnamese-boat-people-a-40-year-journey-comes-to-life. Look for the ones you missed next year.

Who says Ottawa is not a multicultural city?

466. Doors Open May 23 and 24 — 2015

Ruth writes: I look forward every year to the Doors Open opportunities coming up again this weekend. It gives me a chance to just drop into buildings I’m curious about, but not curious enough to make a phone call to book a private visit. Usually Doors Open insures that there’s a warm welcome inside and a chance to talk with people who are prepared to answer questions. And visiting is free.

Indian Fountain at Aga Khan Museum.  Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Indian Fountain at Aga Khan Museum. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

The top on many multicultural lists this year should be the Aga Khan Museum which opened late last year in the Don Mills-Eglinton area. That one sounded so intriguing I couldn’t wait until this year’s Doors Open to see it. I liked it so much I asked my husband for a museum membership for Christmas. If you haven’t inspected it yet, your chance for a free tour of the exotic building is this Saturday or Sunday. The Mughal paintings especially are amazing.

Jin Ling Temple. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Jin Ling Temple. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Last year I visited the new Jing Yin temple in Scarborough, which is on the list for this year. This Buddhist temple had a lion dance (at its opening), offered tea to all visitors as is Chinese custom, and had a demonstration of its rituals. It was very well organized with several guides explaining one of the largest collection of religious statues in the city. More pictures are on my Blog http://bit.ly/1Fn7C5p.

Sufi Cultural Centre. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Sufi Cultural Centre. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Last year I also went to the Canadian Sufi Cultural Centre in Etobicoke, which has opened its door this year too. What fascinates about the Sufi is its tradition of whirling, an attempt to “tame one’s ego.” This year visitors are also invited at 9pm Saturday for the weekly evening of whirling and music.

I like the Native Child and Family Services of Toronto at College and Yonge. It’s got a sweat lodge on its roof top and a ground floor meeting room in the shape of a longhouse. For an exquisite Tibetan temple, there’s the Riwoche Tibetan Buddhist Temple in the Junction.

Islington Mural.

Islington Mural.

This year there are walking tours also. You might want to spend time with the lovely outdoor murals of old Toronto on Dundas Street West in Etobicoke west of Montgomery’s Inn at Islington Ave. You can actually do this on your own as each mural has a description beside it. But you might prefer going with a group and a guide.

Check out the full list of buildings at: http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=0d0bfa2cd4a64410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD.

And among Toronto’s many other events, consider Carassauga weekend too in Mississauga. Its pavilions are showcasing 72 different heritage groups. See: http://www.carassauga.com. Yes, there’s much from which to choose.

We regret that we can no longer list most of the many free or nearly-free multicultural events in Toronto. We can only suggest you visit our Blog that will help you find daily events that might especially interest you. See: http://bit.ly/1Ptpfa4
You might also subscribe to notifications of future Blogs above.

464. Searching for Uniqueness in Multicultural Ottawa – 2015

At a Christmas party last year, I won a $500 “Gift of Ontario”. I hadn’t been sightseeing in Ottawa for decades so I used the money towards two nights in a hotel and tickets on tour buses so I could search for multicultural attractions there. This along with a three-day travel writers’ conference gave me five days in our capital to hunt for unique sights that I can’t find in multicultural Toronto. Our city is considered the most multicultural city in Canada, in the world. I wanted to see if Ottawa had anything we didn’t.

Flags of Philippines and Canada.  Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Flags of Philippines and Canada. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

On my first day there, I couldn’t help but notice the flags – hundreds of flags of the Philippines! What a surprise! The tour guide on our Hop-On-Hop-Off bus thought they were Malaysian. He corrected himself later. He did say that Ottawa puts up flags along the routes used by visiting heads of state. I hoped President Aquino and his huge entourage noticed. I don’t think we put up more than one flag for important guests to Toronto. Or do we?

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

I wanted to compare Ottawa’s Chinese gate to Toronto’s two. I thought it more intricate and a real gate, unlike our doorway to the Broadview-Gerrard Chinatown. That gate is on one side of a parking lot. The Ottawa gate was worth seeing and driving through. Friends told me about the drag queen who does her thing in Chinatown on Saturday evenings. I haven’t found a Chinese drag queen yet in Toronto.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Nearby were huge signs marking the boundaries of Ottawa’s Little Italy. Two of them were lighted up in red after dark. Unlike our street signs in our College Street Little Italy, no one can miss them.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Nor can anyone miss the huge murals on The Pub Italia.

 Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

My visit coincided with the opening of the Tulip Festival. To thank Canada for its help during World War II, the Netherlands gave us 100,000 tulip bulbs. Today, Ottawa’s National Capital Commission plants 100,000 tulip bulbs in 30 different sites. It has fireworks too.

Tulip Festival.  Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Tulip Festival. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Of course we have our cherry blossoms in Toronto, but you have to risk parking fines and traffic jams in our High Park. Tulips are all over Ottawa – great beds of reds, whites, pink and yellows. You don’t have to line up there to take pictures.

Man with Two Hats.  Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Man with Two Hats. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Along Dow’s Lake where masses of tulips were blooming is a statue of The Man with Two Hats. It is by a Dutch artist. A similar statue is in Apeldoorn in the Netherlands, a twin symbol of the special friendship we have with that country from World War II.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Friends told me about the statue of jazz-great Ontario-born Oscar Peterson at the National Arts Centre within walking distance of Parliament Hill. You can hear the sounds of his music there too. Peterson lived in Mississauga where we have Oscar Peterson Square, the Oscar Peterson School, and a U of T student residence named after him. But no prominent lively downtown statue with music!

National Aboriginal Veterans Monument in Confederation Park. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

National Aboriginal Veterans Monument in Confederation Park. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Nearby in Confederation Park is the magnificent National Aboriginal Veterans Monument that “commemorates the contributions of all Aboriginal peoples in war and peacekeeping operations from World War I to the present.” The artist Noel Lloyd Pinay is from the Peepeekisis First Nation in Saskatchewan. Where are Toronto’s First Nations sculptures?

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Another important piece is the War of 1812 monument Triumph Through Diversity, right by the East Block of Parliament. It was unveiled last November. Its figures represent the Metis, First Nations, women, Royal Navy, Canadian militiaman, British army and the French—all of whom fought against the American invasion. Of course we have Fort York and the tin soldiers but no piece of commemorative art as all inclusive as this.

 Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy.

As for Ottawa’s museums, okay, they are national, not provincial. Our Royal Ontario Museum has huge totem poles too, but Ottawa’s Museum of History (formerly named the Museum of Civilization) has a record number of them and huge First Nations art. It is worth taking a trip to Ottawa to see them. In addition, Ottawa’s museum is currently upgrading two floors of exhibits to be opened for Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017. It will include “the contribution of all immigrant groups to our history”.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

The Museum of History is also worth seeing for its architecture. Douglas Cardinal was born of Metis and Blackfoot stock in Calgary. He also worked on the impressive National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. Both buildings have aboriginal features.

Internment of Japanese-Canadian Families.  Photo from Canadian War Museum.

Internment of Japanese-Canadian Families. Photo from Canadian War Museum.

I spent more time at the Canadian War Museum than at the Museum of History. It dealt more with our multicultural heritage, our involvement in foreign wars like South Africa, and the effect of wars on Canadians of Ukrainian, German, Serbians, Croatian, and Japanese backgrounds. Many of these people were locked away, their belongings seized. The architect of the war museum was Japanese-Canadian Raymond Moriyama who was  also the architect of the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo and the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto. Moriyama was interned as a child along with 22,000 Japanese Canadians in British Columbia after Pearl Harbour. His father was sent away to Ontario; his mother was left behind with $34.92 and three children. Thank goodness he’s forgiven the rest of us and built us this magnificent structure. (http://www.magazine.utoronto.ca/all-about-alumni/raymond-moriyama-architect-canada-japanese-pow-camp)/.

Monument "Reconciliation". In the Service of Peace.  Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Monument “Reconciliation”. In the Service of Peace. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

I was thrilled to find the Reconcilation Monument that lists Canada’s peacekeeping activities of which many of us are so proud. I hope it is not a monument to the end of our peacekeeping.

I was delighted to find that the Aga Khan is turning the former War Museum Building at 330 Sussex Drive into the Global Centre for Pluralism. “Advancing respect for diversity as a new global ethic and foundation for inclusive citizenship is the mission of this centre” says its website at: http://www.pluralism.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=157&Itemid=618&lang=en.  I look forward to its opening which our guide said was next year.

But I must say the highlights of my Ottawa trip was interacting with Ottawa’s people. Jantine Van Kregten of Ottawa Tourism and friends of long-standing Chris Dodge and Brenda van Katz helped in my search. In the Byward Market I discovered charming Ryoko Itabashi in a kimono, playing Japanese music. In front of her was a sign “You are helping me share traditional Japanese music with my new home – Canada.”

Ryoko Itabashi. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Ryoko Itabashi. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Then there was the Indian wedding in the driveway of the Westin Hotel. I hadn’t seen an Indian wedding since I lived in India, the groom arriving on a white horse. In spite of all the South Asian bridal shows I’ve been to in Toronto, I’ve never seen any sign of this very Indian tradition. The horse’s handler said he services about four weddings a year in Ottawa, more in Montreal.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

And there it was, right in front of the Westin Hotel. Family and wedding guests were dancing to the beat of drums, laughing as they lifted the groom and dancing with him on their shoulders. The mood was infectious. I found myself dancing with them.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Then there was my meeting with the Vietnamese who were working on a Vietnamese Boat People’s Museum for Ottawa. But that’s another story. Relating to the residents is so important in the enjoyment of a city that I’ll be listing some of Ottawa’s diverse festivals in a blog soon too. Festivals are a good place to meet them. So please stay tuned, and in the meantime, let me know of other multicultural experiences you’ve had in Ottawa that others might enjoy.

My trip was made possible by “Ontario Yours to Travel” at ontariotravel.net, VIA, the Novotel Hotel, Gray Line Ottawa, the Society of American Travel Writers, and my husband. You might win a trip too at: http://www.attractionsontario.ca/summercontest/Home.aspx.

463. Brockville Multicultural Festival 2015

Audience. Copyright ©2015 J.S. Lor

Audience. Copyright ©2015 J.S. Lor

Ruth writes: When I was growing up in Brockville, many decades ago, ours was only one of two Chinese families. Very few of our fellow residents were interested in learning anything about Chinese, or Greek, or Jewish culture. Many people in the town were descendants of United Empire Loyalists, people who moved there from the American colonies after the American Revolution so they could remain under a British flag.

Only British culture was important. I felt like a second class citizen. Chinese people didn’t even have the right to vote in a federal election until 1947.

Today, things are different in this Eastern Ontario town of 21,000 people. Thirty-four years ago, a group of citizens including our mother, Agnes Lor, founded the Brockville Multicultural Festival. In its statement of purpose, it says “We are an organization of cultural groups and individuals who aim to work towards a society that insures and enjoys the viability of a strong Canadian identity firmly grounded in the multicultural nature of the population. Our society should provide all inhabitants with equality of opportunity and full participation in the life of our area.”

Copyright ©2015 J.S. Lor

Copyright ©2015 J.S. Lor

This festival is held annually the first Friday and Saturday in May. This year adult admission was $5, seniors and students $4.50 and children under 5 free. A total of about 36 performances included Spanish, First Nations, Filipino, Venezuelan and Romanian.  Some of these were imported from Kingston, Toronto and Ottawa. See: http://www.brockvillemulticulturalfestival.com/?page_id=327.

Many towns and cities all over Canada have multicultural festivals. Look for them when you travel.

Thanks to Joe Lor of Brockville who sent us some of his pictures.

Brockville Pipes &  Drums. Copyright ©2015 J.S. Lor

Brockville Pipes & Drums. Copyright ©2015 J.S. Lor

Irish Booth. Copyright ©2015 J.S. Lor

Irish Booth. Copyright ©2015 J.S. Lor

Multicultural Menu. Copyright ©2015 J.S. Lor

Multicultural Menu. Copyright ©2015 J.S. Lor

462. Pictures and Thoughts from Dutch Liberation Festival – 2015

Copyright ©2015 Marijke

Copyright ©2015 Marijke

Marijke writes:
It has been an emotional few days for me leading up to my attending the ceremony of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of The Netherlands by the Canadian Armed Forces. Memories from when I was a little girl scrambled in my head. They kept me awake. Tears kept on flowing. The many images of my life in the war included being taken away by my parents to a little island and handed over to a farming family so I would not starve anymore. The actual day of the liberation is engraved in my mind. That day we were told to take the sheets from our bed and wave to the airplanes that had come to free us and drop food. A few days later, there came this beautiful man in a row boat to pick me up and take me home – my father.

I hope that this ceremony will put some closure for me to the haunting thoughts that keep on coming back.

Ruth writes: Marijke spent her time last Saturday “talking to veterans after the ceremony. It was so special to be able to thank the individuals myself”, she wrote. Pictures of this Dutch festival at Yonge-Dundas Square and Nathan Phillips Square follow. For the poster of the event, see: http://www.torontomulticulturalcalendar.com/2015/04/19/457-thank-you-canada-dutch-liberation-festival-2015/ .

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Flag of the Netherlands Flying at Toronto City Hall. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Flag of the Netherlands Flying at Toronto City Hall. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy