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/

504. Jewish & Palestinian Teenagers from Israel in Toronto – 2015 Aug 10

Ruth writes: Thanks to Shir Libeynu for telling us about Heart to Heart.

Photo courtesy of:  www.heart-to-heart.ca

Photo courtesy of:

Every summer “Heart to Heart brings together 20 Israeli teenagers, both Jewish and Palestinian, who share a rural experience at Camp Shomria near Ottawa for three weeks, and then return to Toronto where they stay with local residents, and experience the city. It culminates in a reception: For just $20 ($15 for students and seniors), you can attend the event, enjoy a delicious vegetarian meal, welcome participants and hear these young change-makers speak about the challenges and adventures they have faced together.” CBC Radio’s Mary Wiens, award-winning journalist and Specials Producer on Metro Morning will moderate a panel of the participants. For more information see: www.heart-to-heart.ca .

Monday, August 10th, 2015 – 6:30 – 8:30pm
Event Hall at Congregation Darchei Noam 

864 Sheppard Avenue West, Toronto
$20 tickets | $15 tickets for students and seniors
 A full vegetarian dinner will be served. Dress is casual.

503. Habari’s Afro-Canadian Culture – 2015

habafrica-cardRuth writes:

This is billed as: “a focus on ‘New Voices:  A view of African music from a Canadian perspective’.  The artistic works will explore the changing styles of music, dance, and other art forms as practiced by African artists living in Canada as well as their non-African counterparts…” Here is an opportunity to see a hybrid culture developing in our own city.

For more information, see http://www.batukimusic.com/batuki-music-society-presents-habari-africa-festival-at-harbourfront-centre/.

This is only one of many examples of the world in Toronto.  Please let us know about others.  Stories of your adventures exploring our world are also appreciated. Please send posters to: ruthlormalloy@gmail.com.

502. Francophone Festival Kompa Zouk – July 29-Aug. 3 – 2015

Ruth writes: We are happy to reprint press releases about free or nearly-free multicultural events if they include detailed information like this one about time, venues, performers, prices, websites and contact addresses.  I had a great time last year at the Festival Kompa Zouk at Harbourfront.  Lots of lively African and Caribbean music and dance lessons.  You will enjoy them more if you take part in the dancing.  31685e23-0d45-433b-945f-3b932f758985

The 2015 FKZO Fever Lands in Toronto

Toronto, July 23, 2015 – Anticipation is rising in Toronto as the launch of the 7th edition of Festival Kompa Zouk Ontario (FKZO) draws closer. The Festival will takes place from July 29 – August 3, 2015 in various locations around Toronto, including Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West. FKZO 2015 is guaranteed to provide a unique cultural and educational experience, focused around the themes of family, youth and the history of Francophones in Ontario.

The popular French flavoured festival, which in previous years has attracted more than 42,000 attendees from various cultural and linguistic backgrounds, is expected to break past attendance records this year. FKZO has for the second year in a row been named one of Ontario’s top 100 festivals and events. After offering Kassav’, Tabou Combo and many other great names in Kompa and Zouk music, FKZO innovates this year by exposing the general public to a number of young local and international artists.

The schedule for FKZO 2015 is as follows:

July 29: A free workshop on entrepreneurship (in french), led by experts from RDÉE / Ontario. Location: 2 Carlton Ave, Suite 1705, Toronto. 10:00AM-12:00PM

July 29: Launch of Festival Kompa Zouk 2015, Remix Lounge, 1305 Dundas Street West, Toronto, 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Visual Artist, Komi Olaf will introduce the public to a unique exhibition created to celebrate 400 years of Francophone presence in Ontario. The exhibition will run July 31 – August 3 at the Marilyn Brewer Gallery at Harbourfront Centre.

July 30 & 31: The 2015 program brings a special element – Jazz Night at Bunda Lounge, 1108 Dundas Street West, Toronto on July 30. Admission is free. This will be followed by a Caribbean Night on the evening of July 31, also at Bunda Lounge. $15 Admission.

August 1: The Jubilee Queen Cruise Ship will be flying the flag of FKZO for the first ever “FKZO on the Sea” boat cruise. The boat cruise, sponsored by OLG and in partnership with Unleashed Legacies will leave the dock from 539 Queens Quay at 10:30 pm and will feature music by DJ Stakz (International) DJ DUKE (Boston) DJ Moet & DJ JAM-Z (Toronto) and DJ DMZ Sounds (Dominica). $ 25 Admission.

August 2: Festival Kompa Zouk 2015 will reach its climax as young talents and renowned musicians take the stage to display their talents. The Festival Day will feature a new component, the FKZO Idol talent contest, in collaboration with Harbourfront Centre. This year’s festival will also feature performances by top international and local artists including: Phantoms, Phyllisia Ross, Fraka, J-Perry, Shabba, Izolan, Natasha Waterman, Andi Dias Latino, Karizma, Woodney Peter Jah Nissi, Melorize, Mikaben, Komi Olaf, DJ Stakz, NS DJ, DJ Platinum, DJ Moet, Ekspresyon Troupe and Sarah Doublexl.

Contact :

501. Momo Crawl in Little Tibet – Sunday, July 26, 2015

Students for a Free Tibet Canada write:

Canada’s first ever Momo Crawl is coming to Little Tibet in Toronto!

Order passports now at: www.SFT-Canada.org/MomoCrawlTO and get a total of 10 momos in any combination at 8 restaurants.

This July 26 in Little Tibet, Students for a Free Tibet Canada is pleased to host you Toronto foodies on a steamy savoury crawl for the top momos.

Momos are delicious Tibetan dumplings (meat or veg) mixed with a balanced blend of herbs and spices, hand-wrapped in dough and steamed to perfection. It is a meal that has helped preserve the culture, and our struggle.

Buy a Momo passport for $20, and open your gates to Little Tibet. You may think the passport is just a green card, but it grants you a total of 10 momos and one vote for the best momos in the Little Tibet of Parkdale.

The following generous Tibetan restaurants are participating and competing for the best momos:

Shangrila Restaurant– 1600 Queen St W

Tibet Kitchen – 1544 Queen St W

Tsampa Café – 1528 Queen W

Himalayan Kitchen – 1524 Queen St. West

Norling Restaurant – 1512 queen St. W

Om Restaurant – 1439 Queen St. W

Loga’s Momo Corner- 216 Close Ave.

Lhasa Kitchen – 1422 Queen St. West

#MomoCrawlTO #LittleTibet


Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1665936676969890/

Urgyen Badheytsang
National Director
Students for a Free Tibet Canada ཁེ་ན་ཌ་ས་གནས་བོད་རང་བཙན་སློབ་ཕྲུག་ཚོགས་པ།
@ Centre for Social Innovation
215 Spadina Avenue, Suite 415
Toronto, ON M5T 2C7

Transforming our world through non-violent action.

500. Pow Wow to Honour PanAm Athletes Saturday July 25 – 2015

2015 Tor Aboriginal Pavillion Panamania 001_2

Ruth writes: I visited the Aboriginal Pavilion at Fort York yesterday, and loved it. The First Nations guides like Suzanne Smoke were excellent, and booths had some very interesting handicrafts to buy. A  pow wow is being planned for Saturday to honour the Pan Am athletes.  Look for Miah-Marie Langlois who calls herself  a “mixed-Ojibway” from Windsor.  She was on the gold-prize winning Canadian women’s basketball team.

Miah-Marie Langlois.  Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Miah-Marie Langlois. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

499. Aboriginal Pavilion, Hindu Tamil Chariot, Caribbean Carnival & Iranian Family Day – 2015

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Ruth writes: It’s a big mystery to me. Why did the July 23 Star give almost full-page, page three, front-section prominence to a Hindu chariot festival in Quebec, when we have our own amazing festivals in Toronto?  Coming up on July 25 about 9am with a chariot circling its temple around 11 will be one at the Sri Varasiththi Vinaayagar Temple, 3025 Kennedy Road #10, Scarborough. A second festival will be on August 1 and August 2 at the Sri Ayyappan Temple, 635 Middlefield Rd. (north of Finch). Not sure what time you can see the skewers.

Yes, some worshipers will have skewers stuck through their cheeks and hooks through their backs as they dangles from a crane. And these men or their friends can explain why in English, and give you food for thought about Lent and Ramadan.

Our Blogs on these festivals in 2013 and 2011 are at:
http://www.torontomulticulturalcalendar.com/2013/07/26/402-report-and-video-on-hindu-tamil-chariot-festival-2013/ and http://www.torontomulticulturalcalendar.com/2011/08/02/sri-lankan-tamil-chariot-festival-a-report/ .

Panamania isn’t the only game in town when it comes to our many multicultural festivals. Don’t forget its Aboriginal Pavilion at Fort York National Historic Site.  I couldn’t find detailed information alas on the Panamania site, who knows why. It’s at http://www.alppavilion.ca/ with daily schedule at: http://www.alppavilion.ca/events.html. Unfortunately crowds have been sparse in spite of such draws as A Tribe Called Red, some interesting exhibits and unusual vendors. It’s part of Planet IndigenUS 2015 and the Woodland Centre. Some of Planet IndigenUS will be at Harbourfront July 31 to August 9 during which Buffy Sainte-Marie will be singing in Brantford!! http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/whatson/today.cfm?discipline_id=&mode=day&&month=07&year=2015&day=31&week=31&searchvenue=

And except for Buffy and the official opening, most of the events are free!

This weekend there’s also Persian Family Day in Mel Lastman Square. 12pm-10pm. July 25. I’ve always enjoyed going there – not just for the ice cream but the opportunity to talk with Iranians. How do they feel about Obama’s Iranian Nuclear Deal and how does it and the lifting of sanctions affect Toronto citizens?  And then there’s the experience of seven-year old Iranian Canadians insisting they are Canadians and not Iranians, translating for their parents from Farsee into English.  See: http://www.persianfamilyday.com/visitor_info.php?type=date.

And we must mention the big, big Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival – www.torontocaribbeancarnival.com. The parade is on August 1st, 9:30am–9pm. You don’t have to stand along the route for hours to watch. Tickets are $10 to $20 for seats at Exhibition Place and they are worth every cent. http://www.torontocaribbeancarnival.com/events.html#grand_parade .
I hope you’ve been seeing some of the Caribbean Carnival’s other free events, especially the amazing Junior Carnival, another one of my favourites.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

There’s just too much going on. it’s so hard to choose how to spend your time. I’m sorry I can’t list all our exciting events. Please let us know your experiences in multicultural Toronto. Click on: “Responses” below.

498. Report of Visit to a Very Friendly Vishnu Mandir Temple – 2015

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Ruth writes: When I first started this blog almost four years ago, I had a dream. It was to encourage Torontonians to visit each others’ festivals. I was hoping we could make friends in other cultural communities this way. Alas, it didn’t quite happen that way.

Outsiders at that time told me they were nervous about going to the festivals and religious buildings of other groups. They didn’t know what to expect or how to behave. Would they be welcomed? What did they have in common with strangers? Consequently, I wrote about my own experiences in this blog, my adventures as an obvious visitor to mosques, Ethiopian Orthodox churches and Zoroastrian temples. I mentioned the places where I had to take a scarf to cover my head, or to take off my shoes. In most of these places, members at least smiled at me, and answered my questions about their religion and their food.

 Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

There were a few exceptions – places where I felt I was completely invisible. On my first trip to the Vishnu Mandir in Richmond Hill, alone and unannounced in a Hindu temple, I was welcomed by no one. A woman at a desk growled “Take off your shoes”, “Did you bring gifts?” and “Don’t take pictures.” I found one friendly worshiper willing to answer my questions. I learned that asking questions helped break the ice and there were so many questions to ask.

Dancing Shiva, the Destroyer

Dancing Shiva, the Destroyer

The following year, I organized a second visit to this temple with friends, this time making an appointment with a priest to meet us and tell us about Hinduism. He was very welcoming and apologized for the lack of recognition to strangers. He said. “Our people are not prepared to reach out to others. We’re working on this,” he assured us.

Last year I went to this temple alone again during the coloured-powder throwing festival of Holi. I was hoping to find a place in Toronto where this fun festival was actually practiced the way it was in India. Again people treated me as if I were invisible until one nice lady asked if she could put paint on my face. After that, people smiled at me. The change was amazing.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy.

This year, my friend Romaine went with me on my fourth trip to the Vishnu Mandir again unannounced. The occasion was “Summerfest and Open House at the Peace Park — A Treat for a Joyous Canada Day Celebration”. Over the years, I had gone to Canada Day celebrations at other venues around the city – but never to a temple. I couldn’t resist a new angle.

Anshul.  Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Anshul. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

From the moment we arrived outside its main door, the atmosphere was friendly. Women selling jewellery and clothes beckoned us to see their wares. Others encouraged us by opening steaming chafing dishes and sending fragrant curry smells in our direction. Okay, they were trying to sell us something but they were smiling and acknowledging us. As we left our shoes in a cloak room inside, an Indian woman mentioned visiting the museum.

Rabindranath Tagore, Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Lester B. Pearson, Jimmy Carter.

Rabindranath Tagore, Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Lester B. Pearson, Jimmy Carter.

We took the museum tour. Young volunteer guides gave explanations and cheerfully answered questions. I never had an opportunity to see this museum so completely before. One hall was full of images of many world leaders like Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Lester Pearson, Martin Luther King Jr., Jimmy Carter, and the Buddha. There was a Star of David, and the crescent moon and star of Islam. Much prominence was given to Mahavira, the founder of Jainism.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

The bust of Myanmar politician, Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, was lined up there too, but the guide tended to ignore her. I wondered if this was because of her lack of support for the oppressed Rohingya Muslim minority in her country, but I never got around to asking. In the museum were a beautiful Dancing Shiva and exquisite shrines.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

The guide encouraged us to touch the frozen Shiva Linga, a replica of the one in the Jammu and Kashmir Amarnath Cave, an important Hindu pilgrimage site. It was indeed cold and frozen. When I went home, I looked it up on the Web.  It was a fascinating natural phenomena.

A list of Canadian military killed in Afghanistan was prominent. Such was not the kind of memorial I expected to see in an Indian temple and I felt moved that they cared.

List of Canadians who died in the Afghanistan war.  Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

List of Canadians who died in the Afghanistan war. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Pictures of a mosque, a synagogue and a church – all in India –  could not be missed.

Church in Goa. Jewish  synagogue in  Cochin, India. Symbols of different faiths leading to the same end.

Church in Goa. Jewish synagogue in Cochin, India. Symbols of different faiths leading to the same end.

Later as we were wandering by ourselves around the main hall room with its impressive statues, I saw some shrines I hadn’t noticed on previous visits. A friendly man overhearing our conversation volunteered that today was Full-moon Day, the day the child Lord Krishna returned to tease the gopi, the milk maids – a favourite story. Krishna is always depicted as blue.

Baby Lord Krishna on full moon day. With Kamlesh Shah.  Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Baby Lord Krishna on full moon day. With Kamlesh Shah. Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Kamlesh Shah also explained that Indians felt uneasy with strangers, not knowing what strangers wanted. I remembered my own years in north India and the store clerks who never smiled. My own theory about this was the frequent invasions of  north India by outsiders.  One learned not to trust strangers. Mr. Shah, who was from South India, said that South Indians were friendlier. I felt that we made a new friend when he told us about his own family.

Then a group of dancers invited us to join them.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

But it was not just the friendly atmosphere that we liked. Romaine and I went alone to inspect the Peace Park bordering on Yonge Street at the front of the temple. It was tranquil and full of thought-provoking quotes from the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

The statue of Mahatma Gandhi there was unveiled in 1988. I never noticed it before, never realized that Toronto had a statue of the saintly leader who managed to rid his country of British imperialists non-violently.  Quotes set in stone were from non-violent advocates. “The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace,” said the Mahatma.

Monument dedicated by the Indo-Canadian communityi to the Canadi

A stone monument there was dedicated to Canada’s Peacekeepers.

The theme was world peace and I found it encouraging that this temple was  reaching out beyond the Indian community for its inspiration.

Unfortunately, I didn’t notice many other non-Indian visitors that day at the event. People taking the tour were mainly Indians. But I felt very happy because of the welcome.  It was indeed a lovely way to spend Canada Day.

This was one of Toronto’s many multicultural opportunities.  If you go to others, please share your experiences. Write to us at: ruthlormalloy@gmail.com.

497. Underground Freedom Train July 31, 2015

In response to K.Klassy‘s question, yes, there is an Underground Freedom Train again this year to celebrate  Emancipation Day.   Friday, July 31, 2015 at 11pm  at Union Station, Ticket Booth. Train departs @ 11:30 p.m.
and arrives at Downsview Station: August 1, 2015 Emancipation Day.

   See: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ontario-Black-History-Society/109773629168?fref=nf . For more information, telephone A Different Booklist at 416-538-0889.

For what happened last year, click on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fA4M_dOyb4Q


496. Eid Festivals and MuslimFest – 2015

With the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, many Muslims, their families and friends will be celebrating with Eid Festivals that include prayers, games and rides for children, bazaars and food. The first will be on Saturday, July 18.  For information on this and other gatherings, take a look at http://www.torontomuslims.com/.  Better still, get on its mailing list.

One of my favorite events is MuslimFest which this year is on August 1 and 2.  For our 2014 Blog about this festival, see:  http://www.torontomulticulturalcalendar.com/2014/07/23/498-muslimfest-aug-2-and-3-2014/.

zzMuslimFest_2015_Poster_01 (1)_2

We would appreciate receiving reports and photos of your experiences at any of Toronto’s many multicultural events. We might also publish posters of such events here.  Please query us at: ruthlormalloy@gmail.com.

495. Panamania, a Multicultural Opportunity – 2015

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

I managed to get to a couple Pan Am cultural events and I hope you did or will do so too. The Torch Relay at Mel Lastman Square was a lot of fun as cheerleaders got the huge crowd of young day campers on their feet and dancing, and of course – cheering loudly as the torch arrived.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

The torch bearer at that time was a former Canadian Idol Winner Eva Avila, who sang the Pan Am anthem in Spanish and will sing again at the Distillery on July 17.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Later I checked out one of the daily free Panamania events at Nathan Phillips Square. Montreal’s Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra’s m.c. was so hilarious, I forgot about political correctness and must admit I laughed a lot. The music was similar and almost as good as Toronto’s beloved Lemon Bucket Orkestra – but I did wonder if any of the musicians were actually Roma and I thought I recognized a Lemon Bucket musician playing with them.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

There was also a charming musical six-wheeler cycle act from Argentina. The quality of these two was so good, I want to go back for more. I am sure we are getting some of the best performers from the western hemisphere and they are all free of charge for everybody.

Panamania continues throughout the Pan Am Games. For more daily free performances at the Distillery, Nathan Phillips Square and Pan Am Park (CNE) with performers from Canada and the other Americas, click on: http://www.toronto2015.org/panamania. They will continue to July 26, and at Nathan Phillips Square from August 7 to 10.

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy

The food trucks last week had some interesting multicultural offerings too: Butter chicken Hoagie, Green Curry Mac and Cheese, Pad Thai Fries, and Lobster Rolls. Now those are worth going back for a try too. I’m amazed at  how well the Pan Am events are organized.