172. August 25-28 Toronto Multicultural Weekend

Deep-fried CNE. Image©Ruth Lor Malloy 2011

1. The CNE continues this week to September 5. I hope to go back on Friday to finally see the Kenyan Acrobats, and then the singers from South Africa. My husband wants to try something sinfully deep-fried, and Canadian.

2. Rhythm Umurisho Toronto, the drumming group from Burundi, Africa, will beat out a fantastic rhythm on Thursday at Earl Bales Park at Bathurst & Sheppard. I saw the Earl Bales amphitheatre for the first time earlier this month. It looks like a neat, smaller version of something out of Greece or Rome. If you don’t like crowds, this is a good place to spend a hopefully-dry summer evening.

Dragons at BuskerFest 2010. Image©Ruth Lor Malloy 2011

3. The 12th Annual Scotia Bank BuskerFest starts its four days of surprises on Thursday. We went last year and loved its three giant, walking dragons, each operated by one man. They swaggered through the crowds, frightening children and adults alike. I don’t know if they’ll be there this year though.

Buskerfest will have 100 street performers, acrobats, fire spinners, musicians, stilt walkers, aerialists, etc. The kids will love it, and no, you don’t have to give money to each performer. The event is free but you can give a donation to help fight epilepsy if you want. 

Birds at BuskerFest 2010. Image©Ruth Lor Malloy 2011

Buskers this year are coming from Argentina, Austria, Australia, Denmark, and seven other countries. Expect the area around the St. Lawrence Market to be very crowded. Last year, I found it hard to get a good place to take pictures. If you want to take close-ups, you have to find a performer setting up, and then wait until he or she starts. People crowd around tightly. Most of my pictures were taken with a camera held up high, to avoid the backs of people’s heads.

Taiwan Monkeys 2010. Image©Ruth Lor Malloy 2011

4. Taiwan Rising starts Friday at Harbourfront for three days. We were there last year for its offering of Chinese opera. The mischievous and resourceful Monkey King, beloved of Chinese children, was there. So were the skillfully made-up heroes and lovely heroines, and well-choreographed fight scenes. Alas, I don’t see these on the program this year. Instead, you can find demonstrations of Chinese specialities like spicy beef noodles, dumplings and Hakka dishes. Several bands will perform, including a Chinese-American hip hop and punk rock import called the Notorious MSG. There will also be a girls’ band and an exhibition of children’s paintings from Taiwan.

Manding Foli Kan Don at Drum and Dance Festival 2010. Image©Ruth Lor Malloy 2011

It’s best to study this Harbourfront events web-site carefully. The weekend won’t be all Taiwanese. Acts like the distinguished Windermere Strings of Toronto, and films, will also be available.

5. I’ve yet to see the Night Market on Huron and Dundas on Friday and Saturday evening. If you go, please tell us if it’s anything like Hong Kong’s Temple Street Market.

6. On Saturday, Salsa In The City Square will perform live Cuban music and offer salsa lessons and Cuban food. It will be at Nathan Phillips Square.

Drum and Dance Festival. 2010. Image©Ruth Lor Malloy 2011

7. On Saturday, too, there will be the annual International Festival of Drum & Dance. It’s at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga for the afternoon, with performances and workshops. I was there last year and it was a mix of traditional and contemporary drumming and dance. Then there’s a gala in the evening, with free food.

8. On Sunday, the English Country Dancers will make you think you’re watching a scene out of Jane Austen or Shakespeare. It’s in High Park. It too is on a pay-what-you-can basis, although they suggest a $5 donation.

Except for the CNE, entry to all these events is free. Donations are donations. You pay what you want. Except for the drum and dance festival, you pay extra for food. The Drum and Dance festival is worth the trip to the far reaches of Toronto for drumming and dance lovers. It is not just for the free food.

For details like times, locations, and web-sites, please visit my web-site: www.TorontoMulticulturalCalendar.com. As you tell us of more events this weekend, we’ll put them on the Calendar, and on our Twitter. Our Twitter and Blog can be accessed easily from this web-site.

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