712. January 1-15 Affordable Events in Multicultural Toronto – 2017

We have a wide range of stimulating free or almost-free activities during this winter period. Official levees where anyone can meet our official leaders are a tradition in Ontario. There’s Queen’s Park on January 1, and Mississauga’s mayor on January 15. You will have to chase Toronto’s Mayor Tory as he skates around a rink on January 8. Check other cities in The Six for their levee dates. And there are other things to do too.

Bhutan. The People’s King: A Musical Tribute to Bhutan. World Music Series. Noam Lemish Quartet. Tues. January 3. 12–1pm. Free. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen Street West. Background on Noam Lemish and Bhutan. http://noamlemish.com/about/.


Image of Noam Lemish from his website


Christian. Orthodox or Eastern. Epiphany, Theophany, Three Kings’ Day or Feast of the Nativity. January 6. This feast day with various names celebrates the revelation of Jesus Christ as God the Son, a human being. It commemorates the visitation of the Three Wise Men and the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. Orthodox churches are predominant in Russia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Macedonia, Montenegro, Egypt, Ethiopia, Serbia, the Greek Patriarchate of Jerusalem, etc. Worshipers fast for several weeks prior, attend church services with special liturgy the night before, and then have family feasts.

There are regional variations. Mexican families, for example, get together on Three Kings Day or Dia de los Reyes to eat a special cake with a Baby Jesus figure inside. The person who gets the figure has to pay for tamales on February 2, Day of the Candelaria.

If you attend Orthodox church services, expect a lot of liturgy and if you don’t understand the language, consider it an opportunity for meditation.

      Egypt. For an Egyptian Orthodox service, there’s St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church, 41 Glendinning Avenue or St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, 455 Ferrier Street, Markham. http://stmarkstoronto.ca/contact-us/location/

      Ethiopia. For an Ethiopian church, try Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, 80 Tycos Drive. http://stmaryeotctoronto.com

       Macedonia.  For a Macedonian Orthodox service, there’s St. Clement of Ohrid Macedonian Orthodox Cathedral  at 76 Overlea Blvd. Phone: 416-421-7451. http://www.stclementofohrid.com/religion/events.asp

Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Image Copyright ©2016 Ruth Lor Malloy


First Nations. Echo/Sap’a Kwagiulth and Stó:lo. Mezzo-soprano Marion Newman presents a concert on the theme of reconciliation, featuring works by Canadian composers. Thurs. January 5. 12–1pm. Free. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen Street West. tp://www.coc.ca/PerformancesAndTickets/FreeConcertSeries/January.aspx

Image of Marion Newman from her website.


Hindu. Annual Srila Prabhupada Festival. January 1. 6-9pm. Free. Hare Krishna Temple (ISKCON Toronto), 243 Avenue Road. http://iskcontoronto.blogspot.ca/2016/12/srila-prabhupada-festival-jan-1-2017.html

Image from Hare Krishna Temple website


Interfaith. 50th World Day of Peace. Prayer Service. January 1. 3-5pm. St. Patrick’s Church, Neumann Hall, 131 McCaul Street (Side Entrance).

Pope Francis asks us to “acknowledge one another as sacred gifts endowed with immense dignity”, and to make active nonviolence our way of Life.

A Sharing Meal will be provided. http://www.paxchristi.net

Japan. Neko Samurai. This is one of three Japanese movies (with English subtitles) on January 8 and 15. I’ve been trying to avoid listing foreign movies because it takes too much time to mention the hundreds available in Toronto every year; however, as a cat lover, I couldn’t resist Neko (cat) Samurai (warrior). Not only is it free, it’s also funny. You might not be able to resist it either when you read the plot line.

It’s feline fanciers versus dog devotees in this comic tale of rivalry, revenge and redemption through the love of a good cat. Kyutaro is a masterless samurai and formidable swordsman who now lives alone, far from his family, after losing his position and fortune. Desperate for money, the taciturn ronin accepts a job offer from a clan of dog-loving samurai: assassinate Tamanojo, their rival clan’s beloved pet cat, to prevent her from becoming the cat bride of another powerful clan’s cat groom and creating a fearsome cat power couple! However, once he is face-to-face with his cuddly quarry, Kyutaro is unable to complete the mission…” http://jftor.org/event/neko-samurai/. January 8. 1pm. Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, 506 Bloor Street West.

Image from Neko Samurai.


Korea. New Year Celebration Party. Monday, January 2. 11am. Free. Korean Canadian Cultural Association (KCCA), 1133 Leslie St. North York. “We cordially invite everyone to attend this event and celebrate the New Year and exchange warm wishes with each other. We wish you all a wonderful and blissful year.” All ages are welcome. ​Phone: 416-3836-0777. Email: kcca1133@gmail.com. http://www.eng.koreancentre.on.ca/newyear.

      Schedule: Pledge of Allegiance, Salute to the Korean Flag, Korean and Canadian National Anthems, New Year Speeches, Special Performances, Lunch.

Korean New Year Drummers. Image Copyright ©2016 Ruth Lor Malloy


Mississauga. Meet and Greet Mississauga’s Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Members of Council. January 15. 2–4pm. Free. Civic Centre, 300 City Centre Drive. http://www7.mississauga.ca/HostSites/Canada150/?hootPostID=a69b06793b9d1eacd65d0d17ae0dea4e.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie from City of Mississauga Website.


Toronto. Annual New Year’s Day Polar Bear Dip in support of Habitat for Humanity. January 1. 12-2pm. Free to watch; if you want to get wet, you must raise a minimum $30 in pledges. Sunnyside Pavilion Park, 2755 Lakeshore Blvd. 416-755-6353. http://torontopolarbear.com/.

Another such frigid event is the Courage Brothers’ Polar Bear Swim at Coronation Park in Oakville. January 1st. 2pm. This is a fundraiser for World Vision. http://www.polarbeardip.ca/

Image from http://torontopolarbear.com/.

Toronto. Lieutenant Governor’s New Year’s Levee. Sunday, January 1. Noon to 2pm. Free. Don’t be shy. This is an opportunity for everyone to meet and have tea with the Queen’s representative in Ontario in Queen’s Park. http://www.lgontario.ca/en/specific/Pages/New-Years-Levee.aspx

Her Honour
the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell
Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
invites you to attend the

Lieutenant Governor’s
New Year’s Levee

Sunday, January 1, 2017
Noon to 2 p.m.

Lieutenant Governor’s Suite
Queen’s Park
Toronto ​

All are welcome!​

Toronto. Mayor’s Winter Skate Party. Come Skate with Mayor Tory. Sunday, January 8. 1-3pm. Free. Colonel Sam Smith Park Skate Trail, 3145 Lake Shore Boulevard West. http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=62264a1646891410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

Mayor John Tory of Toronto.

Please let us know about future events in multicultural Toronto. They must be free or nearly free and reflect our city’s famous cultural diversity. Send information to Ruth at: ruthlormalloy@gmail.com. Many thanks. And have a Happy New Year!








  1. Hi Ruth,

    I’m afraid you have mixed up three different holidays in the “Christian” Section. I’d like to try to clarify…

    First of all, January 6th is Epiphany in the Catholic and Protestant churches, or any church that follows the Gregorian calendar (the normal calendar that we use). So anyone who celebrated Christmas on Dec 25 will be celebrating Epiphany on Jan 6 (Twelve days after Christmas). These are considered Western churches not Eastern. This holiday is also called Twelfth Night or Three Kings. (I’m not sure if Epiphany also commemorates the baptism of Jesus.) Mexico is Roman Catholic and they would fall into this category.

    Feast of the Nativity is another name for Christmas, which is a completely different holiday than Epiphany. In the Eastern Churches (ie. Orthodox) who use the Julian calendar, Dec 25 falls on the day that we call January 7. This makes Jan 7 Eastern Orthodox Christmas, and Jan 6 is Christmas Eve. It is customary in many cultures to have the main celebration after dusk on Christmas Eve, so a lot of people mistakenly think that Jan 6 is Christmas, but it is actually Jan 7.

    Theophany is an Eastern Orthodox holiday that falls 12 days after Christmas, so it parallels the Western Christian Epiphany, but it is a much bigger holiday. In fact, it is the second most important holiday in Orthodox Christianity after Easter. It is much more important than Christmas. It commemorates the baptism of Jesus, the only occasion on which the Trinity was made visible – Jesus in the river, the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, and the voice of God the Father saying “This is my Son”. It is celebrated on the day we call January 19, (which is January 6 on the Julian calendar). There is no connection to the three wise men. Similar to Christmas, the celebrations begin the evening before, on January 18th.

    My background in Ukrainian Orthodox and I also attended Roman Catholic schools growing up in Toronto, so I’ve had a lot of time to unravel and understand these 2 branches of Christianity and the different calendars! It IS complicated!

    I hope this has been helpful. Thank you so much for your blogs. I always recommend the to friends.
    Happy Holidays,

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