321. Toronto’s Free or Nearly-Free November 10-11, 2012 Multicultural Weekend


Canadian Remembrance Day Poppy. Image from Wikipaedia.

Major events this weekend are the Reel Asian International Film Festival, Diwali and Remembrance Day. But there are other gems as well for kids.

Details like links, addresses, times, prices, and schedules are in www.torontomulticulturalcalendar.com. Please let us know if we’ve missed any. The email is: ruthlormalloy@gmail.com

Remembrance Day reminds us that wars have deprived us of the lives of many of our young men and women. Toronto has ceremonies in several places around the city on Sunday about 11am for about 30 minutes. Ceremonies also take place at the same hour in many other countries.

Diwali is an important Hindu festival. It is five days long, November 11-15. Tuesday, November 13 is the most important day. Diwali is an official holiday in countries like Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Malaysia, and Singapore, as well as in India. It is celebrated in Toronto in Hindu temples and homes, and also with “melas” or fairs, before, during, and after those dates.


Hindu Gods at Vishnu Mandir Temple. Copyright ©2012 Ruth Lor Malloy

Diwali (Divali or Deepavali) is the Festival of Lights. Among other reasons, it commemorates the return in ancient times of Lord Rama from his 14-year-long exile, and his victory over the demon-king Ravana. It lauds good overcoming evil. It marks the renewal of life, the beginning of winter, and the sowing season (in India). Rama’s people celebrated with lights. You will see temples beautifully decorated with lamps. Worshipers will be in their best clothes. This period is a very good time to visit well-decorated but crowded Hindu temples.

At the BAPS Shri Swami Narayan Temple at Finch and 401, tables will be full of thousands of vegetarian dishes meant for the Gods. This temple has organized tours on Wednesday, November 14 with explanations by volunteers of the customs and gods.

Toronto has many “melas” too. Just look at http://www.deepavali.net/canada.php and the web-sites of temples like VishnuMandir.com. Perhaps the best-known is the fair in Little India, which is free. On Saturday and Sunday, on Gerrard St. between Greenwood and Coxwell, street stalls will be selling Indian-type food, groceries, and clothing. Dancers will be performing classical, folk and Bollywood numbers on stage.


BAPS Temple at 410 and Finch. Copyright ©2012 Ruth Lor Malloy

However, if the weather is not good, you can head for the indoor fairs in Mississauga. The one at the Sagan Banquet hall in the evening unfortunately is not free or even cheap. It starts at 7pm. I don’t know about the one at the Taj but I don’t think it’s free either. The one at the Vishnu Mandir Temple in Richmond Hill is free, but it’s next weekend on November 18.

As for other events this Saturday and Sunday, I’d head for the films at the Reel Asian film festival. Among them is South Korea’s The Fish with its spooky spirit-world theme and Dal Puri Diaspora about roti around the world including Toronto’s Parkdale. The latter film should appeal to foodies.

On Sunday, I’d take the kids in the morning for a $10 lesson in samba drumming taught by members of the famous Samba Squad. In the evening at 5:30, there’s the lantern parade at the German International School and German hospitality afterwards. I wish I had a child to take.

I will try to add other events as soon as you tell me about them. Keep visiting www.torontomulticulturalcalendar.com .


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