331. Multicultural Toronto’s Free or Nearly-Free Nov. 30-Dec. 2 Weekend.

Two more Santa Claus parades are on this weekend. They are free of course as is admission to Christmas markets and bazaars. The only ethnic bazaars we know of are on Saturday: First Nations, Polish, and Toronto’s version of the European Christmas Markets. The latter continues until December 16. Please let us know about other such exotic markets. They offer for sale interesting Christmas treats as well as crafts.

Artist Joseph Sagaj. Copyright ©2012 Ruth Lor Malloy


The CP Train arrives with Santa and a show for a 30-minute visit to West Toronto. It’s free but CP appreciates a donation of non-perishable foods for local charities.

Paskuhan Village with “Sights & Sounds of Filipino Christmas Traditions” should be worth the $10 entry fee. It’s at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Bremner and Front St.

You can get away from Christmas traditions at the free International Labour film festival (Saturday and Sunday at Innis Town Hall) with films about Israel, the U.S., Iran, etc. You have to pay for the film about Palestine at OISE near the St. George subway station. There’s also a small fee but you can also get some exercise at the gentle English Country Dancing (St. Barnabas Church on the Danforth). The music is live.

On Sunday, the free events are the opening of the Christmas flower show at Allan Gardens. While the show continues daily until January 6, the earlier you see it, the better – flowers being what they are. And there’s hot cider, cookies and horse carriage rides. It will have its usual amazing varieties of poinsettias, some of which you have probably never seen before. The famous Toronto Children’s Chorus will be performing in the lobby of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel – yes free.


Loew’s Christmas Market 2010. Copyright ©2012 Ruth Lor Malloy

You will have an opportunity to talk with the Grassy Narrows First Nations people on the front lawn at Queen’s Park. They are having a community gathering with a sacred fire, children’s games and snacks. The Yorkminster Baptist Church will host a Carolfest if you want to do some Christmas singing. Many other churches will have traditional music too.

Sinterklaas & Helper Zwarte Piet at Bata Shoe Museum. Copyright ©2012 Ruth Lor Malloy


Friends of the High Park Zoo have organized a “Santa Claus Checks His Reindeer” event. The Keele School Choir will sing and your kids can make decorations, cards and have their faces painted. This is the zoo that Toronto City Council stopped funding earlier this year. It is now supported by private donations so you will have a chance to help it if you want.

The Noor Cultural Centre will have a discussion of the niqab ban at Canadian Citizenship ceremonies ($5). For a small payment, you can see Sinterklaas, the Dutch Santa, at the Bata Shoe Museum.

Details like links, addresses, times, prices and schedules are or will be in our www.torontomulticulturalcalendar.com . Please let us know if we’ve missed any free or nearly-free events. And if you prefer larger-sized pictures like these, tell me. Our email is: ruthlormalloy@gmail.com .

We will try to add other events as soon as you inform 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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