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.

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

461. How to find free or nearly-free multicultural events in Toronto – 2015

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Ruth writes: People frequently ask me where I find the culturally-diverse events mentioned in our events calendar. Well, there’s no one complete list anywhere, especially for those of the smaller but very interesting communities we have in Toronto like Goans, Bengali  Hindus, and Hakka. You should be able to get a lot of information on websites like NOW Toronto at https://nowtoronto.com/search/event/all/#, and http://events.seetorontonow.com/. But for many of the other events, you have to do some digging.   There must be several thousand events each year. I have tried in the last four years to give you some indication of what is available and it hasn’t been easy; for example, Toronto’s religious institutions have some very special programs. We have almost a hundred film festivals, some of them unique to one nationality like Brazilian, Punjabi or Japanese.

 Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

So here’s how you can find events like those we’ve listed up to now.  This is important for you because I won’t be mentioning them for a while any more. Here are my sources, and I must warn you, it’s taken a lot of work to find them.  When you do succeed in finding events that interest you, please put the  dates in your own personal calendar now so you won’t forget.

The following is for people who want to make a serious effort to keep up with what’s going on in their own city.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy, Aug. 4, 2014.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy, Aug. 4, 2014.

First of all get yourself a new email address.  This is so you won’t get your personal events calendar mixed up with your regular email.  Then, go to the blank above between “Contact” and “Go”.  Sometimes this says “Search Keywords”. Then type in what you are interested in, like “Ukrainian” or “British Isles”, for example. The results will be out of date, but it will give you some idea of what’s available in this city – and hopefully there’ll be a website that is up to date for you to click on. Many of the events like Afrofest, the Khalsa Parade and national day celebrations are annual and are repeated each year.

 Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Then use your new email address to get on mailing lists of event organizers. These can give you information about upcoming occasions. You may end up with a lot of spam, but you will learn about programs, like pow wows, religious events, and  ethnic bridal shows you might otherwise miss.

Toronto has a very active Public Library, many museums and galleries, and places like Harbourfront that give us opportunities to experience world music, art, films, books, sports, and dances. We have programs like Doors Open where we can visit mosques, churches and temples and this year it is offering tours as well. Heritage Toronto organizes guided tours to many ethnic neighbourhoods like Chinatown, Koreatown, and St. James Town (with its large Filipino population).

Armenian Church. Copyright ©2014 Ruth Lor Malloy

Armenian Church. Copyright ©2014 Ruth Lor Malloy

Yes, many of these events are free or almost free. And yes many of their organizers have mailing lists you can join to learn about their programs. Or you can telephone them. Our universities have programs where students from around the world share their cultures. You don’t have to be a student to enjoy them. The Small Music Society performs music from abroad. The Four Seasons Centre has a series of free noon-hour concerts with a wide variety of international shows.

Copyright ©2014 Ruth Lor Malloy.

Copyright ©2014 Ruth Lor Malloy.

The Welsh and Armenian churches are among those whose members have put on superb cultural performances as well as religious rituals.   We have Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh temples, mosques, and churches whose buildings and services can make you feel like you are in Laos,  China, Sri Lanka, or wherever.  The Tibetan-Canadian Community Centre website lists many Tibetan programs. For events expressive of Muslim culture, see websites like http://dawanet.ca/ with its links to Understanding Islam Academy, TorontoMuslims.com, and MuslimFest. To learn about and sample Halal food, there’s an annual Halal festival. To experience Muslim art, visit the Aga Khan Museum, the only Muslim art museum in North America. It’s ours too.

Copyright ©2014 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2014 Ruth Lor Malloy

National groups organize outdoor festivals and/or parades annually. These include those organized by our Chinatowns, Ethiopians, First Nations (Pow Wows), Greeks, Indians, Iranians, Irish, Italians, Koreans,  Portuguese, Poles, Sikhs, and Ukrainians. Among our festivals with performers from a variety of cultural backgrounds are: Afrofest, Caribbean Carnival, Carassauga, Carabram, CNE International Stage, and the CHIN Picnic.

Copyright ©2014 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2014 Ruth Lor Malloy

To find what’s on, you can also try contacting consulates in Toronto about their events here. You can get on the mailing list of the Alliance Française, Mexican Consulate, Goethe Institute, Heritage Toronto, Japanese Cultural Centre, Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, Monk School of Global Affairs, Native Canadian Centre, and so on. Some ethnic newspapers like “Filipinos Making Waves”, and Maureen Oleary’s Irish newsletter can tell you what’s going on in specific communities.

You can check out venues as well, especially those closest to you. For events in your neighbourhood, get on the mailing list of emails from your Toronto city councillor. Look for posters in grocery stores.

2014 Na-Me-Res (Native Men's Residence) Pow Wow Poster

2014 Na-Me-Res (Native Men’s Residence) Pow Wow Poster

Toronto’s traffic has been so bad, it’s best to look for venues close to your home or on the subway line: Artscape Wychwood Barns, Beit Zatoun, Daniels’ Spectrum, Harbourfront Centre, Yonge-Dundas Square, Mel Lastman Square, Mississauga’s Celebration Square, Noor Cultural Centre, and Toronto’s Historical Museums like MacKenzie House and Spadina House. The ROM has been featuring some Chinese, Iranian and Polish Heritage Weekends with excellent artists.

 Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

The Intercultural Dialogue Institute has a great program that invites others to dinner in Muslim homes. It also has a noon hour lecture series with multifaith speakers and talks on subjects important to all of us. Beit Zatoun is among the best venues for Middle Eastern events.

 Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

You can find out about flag-raising ceremonies at Toronto City Hall of such countries as Colombia, Guyana, Greece, Estonia, and Ireland at http://bit.ly/1pPIv5d . I could go on and on – if I had the time.

Copyright ©2013 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2013 Ruth Lor Malloy

We hope the absence of our daily calendar is temporary.  My thanks to volunteers Laura Little and Kasey Keeley Weir who have helped  to keep it going. I hope someone else can take the whole calendar on.

If you have a problem finding a specific website, I hope to compile a list which will be posted later. You can  subscribe to our own mailing list at the top of this page for our future Blogs with a limited number of announcements and reviews of some events.

460. This Weekend’s Sikh Khalsa Parades – 2015

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Ruth writes: Last Sunday the Khalsa parade was due to start from the CNE at 1pm. It arrived at Toronto’s City Hall at 3:30pm. The size of the crowd might look intimidating, but up on the elevated walkway that circles Nathan Phillips Square the view was great and the audience there sparse in comparison. There must have been 100,000 people down in the square.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

I arrived at 2:30pm so there was time to get some food without standing in long lines then. The square was lined with stalls. The friendly young woman next to me explained that the food was prepared by individual groups, not temples, as a way of giving, of sharing. It was free to anyone who wanted it, she said. It was Sikh hospitality.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

She was a good guide. She pointed out a Sikh celebrity, the NBA basketball player Sim Bhullar. She said she would never date a celebrity like him with everybody wanting to take a picture with him. When I asked her, she explained that most Sikhs weren’t concerned about an independent Khalistan.

 Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

On the stage, musicians were playing and chanting prayers. A priest was collecting offerings.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

The northwest corner of the walkway was ideal for pictures. The parade arrived just below it.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

From the walkway was a great view of people reaching to touch the glass enclosing the Granth, the holy book of the Sikhs.

. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

From the walkway we could see men handing out karah parshad, food blessed by a guru or teacher, which is given to worshipers at religious events. It is made of flour, butter and sugar.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

But it’s not just the friendly people, food and religion that draws me annually to this festival. It’s the colour – and last weekend with the sun shining warmly, many of these people were freed of their dark winter coats. Yellow turbans brightened the scene.  They met friends or gathered in small family groups. They were friendly, as always pleased to answer the questions of strangers.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Sikhism is a monotheistic religion, the fifth largest religion in the world. It was founded in India’s Punjab state in the 15th century by Guru Nanak Dev.

Another Khalsa parade and free banquet will take place this weekend on May 3 at 1pm. in Mississauga. The annual Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtan will start at the Malton Gurdwara (temple) at 7280 Airport Road. Unfortunately, I haven’t found any uncrowded elevated walkway from which to see it there. The parade then proceeds to the Rexdale Gurdwara. http://heyevent.com/event/408118862700485/vaisakhi-nagar-kirtan-2015. If you go, please let us know the best place to experience it.

459. Interfaith Dialogues, Tibetan Events, & Buddhist Relics – 2015

Ruth writes: Coming up in May are some events of interest to people who want to learn about other religions.  Please mark your calendar now. Our daily calendar will no longer be available after April 30.

2015 Buddhist Relics ul71359975-4May 16, 1pm-5:30pm; May 17-20, 10am -5:30pm
The Lotus Blooming Buddhist Charitable Foundation has a very special exhibition of “Buddha’s Relics… which contains over a hundred items, including some of the cremated remains of the Shakyamuni Buddha who was born more than 2000 years ago. You can also see relics of his disciples and many great Buddhist masters from different parts of the world. “

Venue: Dr. Hin-Shiu Hung Art Gallery, Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto, 5183 Sheppard Avenue East, Scarborough. Email: lotusblooming52@gmail.com. Website: http://www.douban.com/people/71359975/ (Chinese).

This collection is admission-free and like these other events here is open to people of other faiths and cultures. Its organizers request that you show respect when visiting these sacred objects. Take off your shoes in their presence, etc. “’Seeing Buddha’s Relics is seeing Buddha’. Heartfelt reverence arises from viewing the sacred relics. It awakes our own Buddha nature which may lead us to a path of self-liberation. In mounting this display, the organizers are praying for world peace and the well-being of all living beings.”

Spirited Climate Action_An Interfaith   Dialogue_postcard_2
Then there is an interfaith dialogue on climate action.
7:30pm. May 1. Multi-faith Centre, University of Toronto, 569 Spadina Avenue.

On May 14 at 7pm is an interfaith panel discussion on “The Greater Threat: Fundamentalism or Secularism?” This one is at Beth Sholom Congregation, 1445 Eglinton Ave. W. $15. http://www.noorculturalcentre.ca/?p=13235&ec3_listing=disable

2015 Tibetans image001
6pm. May 2. While not exactly a religious event, this annual concert by Tibetan Cultural Performing Arts Students is part of the effort to keep Tibetan culture alive. For outsiders, it is an opportunity to experience a unique way of life very much alive in our city.
For religious Tibetan Buddhist events, you can contact Tibetan Buddhist temples in Toronto and get on the mailing list of the Tibetan Canadian Cultural Centre at info@ctao.org.

Tibetan temples in Toronto have an extensive list of religious services and events with members who speak English. Some of these temples are:

Kagyu Monastery, 7 Laxton Avenue. This temple is the Canadian seat of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa. Link: http://www.ksdl.org/blog/events.

Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Society, 598 Browns Line, Etobicoke. This temple is the Toronto home of Tulku Neten Rinpoche, 9th lifetime reincarnated Lama and Abbot of the Jungpa Monastery. http://www.jamtsecholing.org/en/present_JTCL.html.

Riwoche Tibetan Buddhist Temple,  28 Heintzman St. http://www.riwoche.com/eventscalendar.html.

Subscribe to our Blog for more events above.

458. Future Dragons’ Den Pitchers – 2015

Ruth writes: The idea was brilliant. Maybe the City of Toronto or CBC could encourage such a fair too. Last Sunday 110 children ages 5 to 12 tried their hands at being entrepreneurs at the Muslim Kids Bazaar. It was in a Mississauga mosque, the ISNA Canada Masjid.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Two of them thought customers would be interested in paying $2 to decorate a cookie. Of course parents were on hand to help and prompt, but many of the children were indeed in charge. They chose what to make for sale, they said.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

They displayed both home-made and factory-manufactured goods,

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

and of course, lemonade, but there was a lot more than lemonade. This child made decorated headbands.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

There were cupcakes.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

One child was selling flower pots that you could decorate yourself.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

A great idea was teacher-appreciation cards and gift-wrapped packages of pens and pencils.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

One young man demonstrated a science project.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Two of them talked about a soft-ware program.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

I could not resist a firm hand massage for $2.50 that left me smelling of coconut.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

I don’t know if all of these children felt happy with results at the end of the day. I do think this one with his chocolate goodies could be. He was dressed for the occasion in a bow tie. I could only stay an hour but had to leave too early to find out.

Look for this event next year. It was worthwhile and fun.

457. Thank You Canada – Dutch Liberation Festival – 2015

updateLOGOS_Dec16_dutchliberationposter

Liberation of Utrecht by units of the 1st Canadian Corps.  Credit: Alexander M. Stirton/Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-140417

Liberation of Utrecht by units of the 1st Canadian Corps. Credit: Alexander M. Stirton/Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-140417

Our thanks to Fein Verheij and Henny Groenendijk for telling us about this important event.

CANADA AND THE NETHERLANDS: TWO COUNTRIES-ONE SPIRIT 1945-2015

During the month of May, we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and thank the Canadian Armed Forces for their contribution to the freedom of the Dutch people. Because of Canada’s invaluable role in liberation of the Netherlands, a close friendship between the two countries remains 70 years later. To show our appreciation and to honor the veterans who served during the Second World War, the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, together with Dutch-Canadian community organizations, presents the ‘Thank You Canada’ Dutch Liberation Festival on Saturday May 2nd in Toronto.

At 12pm our parade with 300 participants including veterans, military band, war brides and military vehicles will depart from Moss Park Armoury, (130 Queen Street East) and will ride north on Jarvis Street, then west on College Street to south on Yonge Street, west on Queen Street and into Nathan Phillips Square at City Hall. Do you want to see an authentic Sherman tank ride past Dundas Square? Come and watch the parade! The elements of the parade include: WWll Jeeps, WWII Dodge vehicle, A Sherman Tank (Oshawa War Museum), M8 Greyhound (Oshawa War Museum), Bren gun Carrier Limber gunners, Sunnybrook Hospital Veterans, War Brides, Cobourg Legion Pipes & Drums (20 men), Military pipe band (30 men), Military honour guard (50 men), Toronto Police horses, The Corps of Commissionaires: an officer, a 3-person flag party and approx. 6 marchers, TTC Honour Guard , HMCS YORK Marching Band 25 personnel and Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) YORK will have a Royal Canadian Navy (RCN)

At 2:00 pm, the Opening Ceremony will kick off the festivities at Nathan Phillips Square by raising the Dutch flag. Several bands will provide musical entertainment on the main stage, such as the Toronto All Star Big Band, the Weston Silver Band and the déVah Quartet. Several Dutch activities will also being organized in and around the square; you can purchase Dutch goods at the Dutch market or play some old-fashioned Dutch games at the kid’s zone. We also have a beer garden with a terrace so you can enjoy the festival while having a brew. The festival will take place until 6:00 pm

Come celebrate with the Dutch and don’t forget to wear orange!

CONTACT INFORMATION and UPDATES

Contact: Wendy Limbertie, Thank you Canada, Producer, wlimbertie@rogers.com 416-986-5310
Website: www.thankyoucanada.nl
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thankyoucanada
Twitter: www.twitter.com/dutchliberation

455. Burmese New Year, Muslim Kids Bazaar, Mongolian Visitor – 2015

2015 Burmese new year

Ruth writes: Where else but in Multicultural Toronto would you have the opportunity to go to such interesting events! The annual Burmese one is one of my personal favourites: colourful dances, delicious food, friendly people. The Mongolian one features a Mongolian adventurer whose throat singing you’ve already heard in our YouTube video:  http://youtu.be/wYqotfjY0MM. Now he’s finally arrived in Toronto eager to share his travel stories (and sing!), Marco Polo in reverse.

Then there’s the wonderful Muslim Kids’ Bazaar where youngsters learn how to be entrepreneurs by learning how to sell. This is more than lemonade stands. You’ll be amazed.  Mark your calendars.  Read on.

22610_989786544379879_6291579334209729630_n

2015 Mongolia 1700669

456. India’s Colourful Holi & Thailand’s Wet Songkran Festivals – 2015

Holi. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Holi. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Ruth writes: Toronto’s multicultural community was out celebrating spring and a new year with a vengeance this past weekend. Fortunately the weather cooperated. The two events I managed to get to were India’s Holi and Thailand’s Songkran.

 Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy                                                             Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

The Thai event was billed as a “Massive Water Fight”. It was at the Nana Restaurant at 785 Queen Street. There for $40, staff gave you a water pistol, a supply of ammunition, and a 10-course meal. Songkran was sold-out in advance so if you want to go next year, do book early.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

The Nana Restaurant was the only place I found in downtown Toronto where people playfully get each other wet indoors. There’s probably water splashing at some Buddhist temple events outdoors in our suburbs. The Nana celebration had its bar and paintings protected with a plastic barrier.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

A brave waitress carried the food through the mayhem to each table or standing customer.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Traditionally, the water is a symbolic cleansing of the previous year’s sins. but in countries like southern China, Myanmar, and Laos, it is a big public water fight with participants getting everyone else soaked with buckets or plastic AK-47s full of water.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Most of the people in the Nana didn’t look Thai and they tended to get only their friends wet. I was only squirted once in the 20 minutes I dared to stay there with a camera.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

The Holi festival was outdoors near Woodbine Beach. There, everybody seemed to be fair game for a slathering of coloured powder.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Those in the middle of the action were quickly turned into smiling zombies.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

The event was free and volunteers sold bags of ammunition.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Bollywood style music got people dancing.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

We were in a large picnic area so people could move around more than in a crowded restaurant. People were very friendly and generous with the powder.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Most of them were Indian but I met people of Japanese, Korean, French, Nepalese and Ecuadorian origin.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

The festival originated in India to commemorate the appearance there of an incarnation of Lord Krishna in 1486 but I don’t think any of the revelers thought about that. It also marks the end of winter and the victory of good over evil. Holi is celebrated in Hindu temples in Toronto too and some allow the powders, if thrown out of doors. Ours was just pure fun.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

New year and spring celebrations continue now for a couple of weeks in Toronto. This Saturday has a Lao festival and in two weeks a Burmese one. Both are delightful and focused more on the Buddhist aspect of the occasion. There’s also a wonderful outdoor Ukrainian spring welcome in Trinity Bellwoods Park on April 19.
Keep consulting our Calendar for information: http://bit.ly/1NwGAOt . Our volunteer Kasey updates it continuously.
Note: I was able to wash off the colours easily, but it turned our white bath tub pink.