We have a full weekend of free or nearly-free cultural events that show off Toronto’s diversity. It starts on Thursday morning with the Anatolian (Turkish) Heritage Festival’s art exhibit at Toronto Police Headquarters at 40 College St. Then, Mexican musician QuiQue Escamilla will serenade the Tasty Thursdays lunch-time crowd in Nathan Phillips Square. The liveliest event will be the Buskerfest with its many international jugglers and fire dancers around St. Lawrence Market. These are all free and Buskerfest gives an opportunity to donate to Epilepsy Toronto.
Spanish-speaking professionals can learn how to become a CUSO volunteer in Latin America. Travelling there is a great way to learn about cultures. This is at Friends House near Varsity Stadium.
Not free, but a bonus when you pay to take in all that the CNE offers, is the International Stage in the Direct Energy Building. The Yate Dance & Acrobatic Team from China has stunning costumes and amazing moves. The Culture Kids from Trinidad & Tobago are charming with their steel pans, calypso and carnival costumes. (They might sing Justin Bieber and Celine Dion songs too). I haven’t seen the Nirkoda Israeli Dancers. If you do, please let me know what you think of them.
On Friday, Anatolian Heritage Week continues with ceremonies at City Hall. The Buskerfest will still go on near the St. Lawrence Market. TelusTaiwan will open at Harbourfront. The CNE’s International Stage will present the Yate Dance & Acrobatic Team from China, the Culture Kids from Trinidad & Tobago, and the Arte Flamenco! Spanish Dance Company.
On Saturday, Flavours of the Ukraine will be in Centennial Park in Etobicoke. The Somali Fusion will be in Mel Lastman Square. The Buskerfest will still liven up the St. Lawrence Market area. The South Asian Mela will open with social service information and cultural performances near the Scarborough Town Centre, and the Taiwanese should delight visitors to Harbourfront.
Free Cuban dance bands and salsa lessons will be in Nathan Phillips Square. You do have to pay for food and entry to their beer garden. The Turks will be celebrating Anatolian Heritage Week in David Pecaut Square, beside Roy Thomson Hall. You’ll get another chance to see the Chinese acrobatic dancers and the Trinidadian Culture Kids at CNE’s International Stage.
On Sunday, in addition to the Buskerfest and TELUSTaiwan at Harbourfront, the Turkish Festival will again be in David Pecaut Square. It will have folk performances, music and whirling dervishes for free, and food and handicrafts for sale.
Logistical details for these and other events (as you tell me about them) are or will be on: www.torontomulticulturalcalendar.com . We can’t get to all these events so, if you go, please share your adventures and impressions with us. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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