As usual, the problem is finding time to take advantage of Toronto’s many free or almost-free ethnic events this week. Please let me know if you’ve found other such events.
My favourite is a genuine transplant from the motherland without any Western influences. The Vinayagar Hindu Temple festival in Scarborough continues daily until Sunday. It a real religious event. On Saturday morning, you’ll see devotees pulling an elaborately-decorated chariot around its adjacent parking lot. If you’re fortunate or unfortunate, you’ll see other customs that might seem bizarre to you. You may ask people with skewers through their cheeks why they do this.
Harbourfront is hosting one of its major events. The Tirgan Iranian Festival will have performers from Iran (if they can get here). Persia is an ancient civilization. It has highly developed cultures. Its musical instruments have different sounds than ours and are lovely. I am hoping to see the Kurdish as well as Persian dancers. I want to hear the sound of Persian poetry. Though I can’t understand the language, poetry in any language can sound beautiful. It’s like delicate music. Expect a large crowd.
One of our public libraries is hosting a talk and demo on the history of steel drumming and the sounds of the Caribbean. I want to go to the other library with the Soca and Dance Workshop too but I’ll be at the Iranian festival. I like going to library events because fewer people attend and you can ask questions of performers. They usually have excellent quality speakers.
The Japanese Foundation has a couple of talks on its classical performing arts. These events are very popular. If you haven’t registered by now, you’re out of luck.
The Brazilians have their annual festival on Sunday at Earlscourt Park. Look for churros, the Brazilian version of a donut, fresh from the fryer and sprinkled with sugar. You might also find some caipirinha and the famous churrasco barbeque. You should be able to samba in the evening. This is a small festival. There are only about 9000 Brazilians in Toronto.
The Asian supermarket, T&T, is also hosting its Waterfront Night Market with Asian food and multicultural performers. It’s on Thursday and Friday, Cherry Street off Lakeshore east of Yonge St.
Cultura is back again this year on Fridays at Mel Lastman Square. This is one of my favourite venues because it’s a pretty setting. It also has seating and a balcony view of the stage. It’s easy to get to – steps away from the North York Centre subway station. Some of Cultura’s events have ethnic performers. This Friday, they are Colombian. The food is multicultural too.
The only free Caribana event is the barbecue at the downtown television station CTV/CP24 on Thursday evening. Not only will you be able to get close to people in their fantastic costumes, you should be able to meet some celebs. Other Caribana events this week cost money and you might want to splurge. See: http://www.caribana.com/schedule.html.
Detailed information about these events is on my: www.TorontoMulticulturalCalendar.com. After the pictures, make sure it says “Upcoming” at the top left if you want a print-out. Please let us know what you think of these events. Leave your comments at the end of this blog.