329. Multicultural Toronto’s Free or Nearly-Free Nov. 23-25 Weekend.


Swedish Christmas. Harbourfront. Copyright ©2012 Ruth Lor Malloy

This weekend you can immerse yourself in Mexico, North Korea, Lithuania, France, Estonia, Germany, Malta, Italy, Luxembourg, and/or Sweden. If you are anxious to get your skates on, there’s outdoor ice skating for free. Last weekend’s wasn’t the only Santa Claus parade. Toronto’s traditional winter festivities continue.

Details like links, addresses, times and schedules are in our www.torontomulticulturalcalendar.com . Please let us know if we’ve missed any free or nearly-free events. Our email is: ruthlormalloy@gmail.com 

The European Union film festival at the Royal Cinema continues this Friday through Sunday, and on until November 27. I saw its Finnish offering earlier this week. You’d think a documentary that takes place mainly in saunas with fat, naked men would be boring. But have you ever seen a sauna in a telephone booth, or a trailer, or a tee-pee? There’s much chopping of wood and splashing of water, but the film maker captures the feelings of these real people, the tragedies in their lives, and their tears. One doesn’t just sit in a sauna, you tell or listen to people’s stories.

Harbourfront Ice Skating. Copyright ©2012 Ruth Lor Malloy

I expect the other films in this festival are great too. The theatre started giving out free tickets an hour before curtain time, and allowed us in out of the cold, 30 minutes later. If you want a good seat, go early.

The North Korean event on Friday is a panel discussion at the Munk Centre which is near the ROM. It’s an academic presentation about North Korean refugees, especially in Toronto. You might remember reading about the mass wedding of these refugees at Toronto City Hall earlier this year. I wanted to support them, but then I realized that they probably didn’t want their pictures taken for a Blog.

How they escaped from North Korea, why they come to Toronto, and how they are managing should be of interest.

The Nichola Pereda Retrospect at TIFF should be of interest to art film enthusiasts. The films of this award-winning Mexican film director have never been shown in Toronto. They are all set in Mexico and are on from Friday to Sunday.

Christmas Decorations. Private homes. Free viewing. Copyright ©2012 Ruth Lor Malloy

The free 28th Annual Swedish Christmas Festival is on Saturday and Sunday at Harbourfront Centre. This is one of my favourite festivals because of Santa Lucia, who wears a crown of lighted candles as she enters with her entourage of white clad, blonde-haired, little angels. As they enter, they sing the famous Santa Lucia song.

For people who want their children to see that Christmas is not only about Santa Claus and presents, this is a lovely change. There’s grog, the decorating of gingerbread cookies, and for sale, Swedish traditional holiday food.

You can also go ice-skating at Harbourfront. Many of the rinks will be open on Saturday for the season. The rink at Harbourfront and those belonging to the City offer free skating.

As for the Santa Claus parades, there’s one in Markham on Saturday, and in Mississauga and the Beach on Sunday. Malls – too numerous to mention here — will be offering Santa Claus visits, and Christmas Bazaars will be in many community centres and schools including the German International School. The big Christmas Market in the Distillery District starts on November 30 next weekend.

Residents have started to decorate their homes with lights, a lovely Christmas tradition. As the season continues, there will be more for us to enjoy—for free.

 We will try to add other events as soon as you tell us about them. We are anxious to hear your reaction to these events. And do let me know of mistakes or if you disagree with my choices. Keep visiting: www.torontomulticulturalcalendar.com .

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