You can experience the world in Toronto even when it’s winter. During this period, you can see rare architectural photographs from France, take part in a Hindu New Year celebration, or observe the Christian Three Kings Day in a Russian or Egyptian church. You can join a First Nations drum dance, see a free Japanese-Canadian film or attend a Toronto tradition – a levee where you can ice skate with one of our mayors or shake hands with an archbishop. You could also take a dip in icy Lake Ontario – for charity. But please check for weather cancellations before you go.
Christian. Epiphany or Three Kings’ Day. January 7. Christian feast day that 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. Some consider the day the Orthodox Christmas.
The Eastern Orthodox Churches do not call this day “Christmas.” It is the “Feast of the Nativity,” the birth of Christ, their incarnation of God. These churches are found 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.
Mexican families get together & eat cake with Baby Jesus figure inside. The person who gets the figure, has to pay for tamales on February 2, Day of the Candelaria. “Kings” bring gifts for the children. For some churches with services in their heritage languages:
Egypt. St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church, 41 Glendinning Avenue and St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, 455 Ferrier Street, Markham. Joint website: http://stmarkstoronto.ca/contact-us/location/
England. Choral Evensong for Epiphany. January 7. 4pm. Followed by Epiphany tea, and illustrated talk on Parish and Cathedral Music. St. Olave’s Anglican Church, 360 Windermere Avenue. stolaves.ca. Facebook@stolavesevents.
Russia. Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church, 23 Henry Street near College and University: http://holytrinity.ws/en/.
Macedonia. St. Clement of Ohrid Macedonian Orthodox Cathedral, 76 Overlea Blvd. http://www.stclementofohrid.com/religion/events.asp
First Nations: Big Drum Social. Thursdays, January 4, 11, etc. 6:30pm – 8:45pm and most other Thursdays. Native Canadian Centre of Toronto (map), 16 Spadina Road. “Everyone welcome! Come out to our weekly big drum social and have a great time! Please contact Michael.Etherington@ncct.on.ca for more info. http://ncct.on.ca/events/.” This is an opportunity for everyone to join in the dancing, and meet First Nations people socially.
France. AGO Louvre Photos. Now to February 4, 2018. Included with general admission $16–$25. Photographs taken by Édouard Baldus 1855–1857 “as aids to the architect, building managers, and sculptors; as models for illustrations that appeared in the French press, keeping the public in thrall as construction pf the Louvre progressed; and as propaganda sent to foreign heads of state, demonstrating the ability of the Second Empire to carry off this vast and complex project and the talent of its artists and builders.“ Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West. https://ago.ca/exhibitions/edouard-baldus-the-louvre-folios-1855-1857.
Hindu. India. Naya Saal Sai Kay Naam. January 1.
8:30am Shahanai Welcoming 2018
9:00am Kakad Aarathi followed by Abhishek Pooja, Chawadi Bhajans, Chanting 108 names of baba and Shri Sai Satcharitra reading
12:00pm Madhyan Aarath. Bhajans and Palki; Prasad will be served all day!
“…you, your family and friends are invited to a special event at Shri Vitthal Hindu Mandir (Temple), 5359 Timberlea Blvd #10, Mississauga.
For further information: Smt. Anita Iyer 905-230-0120; Smt. Samita Chawla 647-856-2896; Smt. Meghana Thakur 905-450-1740. SriVitthal.com. https://www.facebook.com/shrivitthalhindumandir
Japan. Japanese Movies at Hot Docs Cinema. All films in Japanese with English subtitles. January 7, 1pm. Free. The Vancouver Asahi – Directed by Yuya Ishii, 2014, 132 minutes; January 7, 3:35pm. Being Good – Directed by Mipo O, 2015, 121 minutes; January 14, 1pm. Yoko The Cherry Blossom – Directed by Gen Takahashi (in attendance), 2015, 114 minutes. Hot Docs Cinema, 506 Bloor St. W. (Bloor and Bathurst).
Toronto. Levees. Our leaders used to all have levees, a day when citizens lined up to shake hands with city councillors and mayors at city halls in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, East York, etc. The representative of the Queen, the Lieutenant-Governor, has a New Year’s Open House, but this year, she will have it in Hamilton. Guests now are entertained with refreshments, live music and skating parties. They can take selfies. The event is free.
Levees were started in New France, now Quebec, in 1646 by its Governor. They were opportunities to pass on news from France and wish citizens a happy new year. Fur traders were expected to renew their allegiance to the Crown, says Wikipedia. The custom continued here in “Upper Canada” for centuries later.
Recently, some but not all of these formal events have converted to outdoor ice skating parties:
–Mayor John Tory’s Skate Party. Sunday, January 7, 2018. 1-4pm. Free. Complimentary skate rentals and hot chocolate will be available during the fun, family event. The Bentway, 250 Fort York Blvd. (beside the Fort York Visitor Centre). This is a new 1.1km. trail and series of public spaces under the Gardiner from Strachan Avenue to Bathurst Street. https://www.toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/festivals-events/more-city-produced-events/mayors-skate-party/.
–Meet Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Members of Council. Sunday, January 14. 2-4pm. Free. “This is an annual event in Mississauga. You are also invited to a free skate on the Mississauga Celebration Square ice rink, an information fair, fun activities for the kids, tasty treats and local entertainment. Please dress warmly and be aware that skating is weather permitting:” https://culture.mississauga.ca/event/celebration-square/mayors-new-years-levee
–Some city councillors, Members of Parliament, churches, and other organizations, might have their own parties or levees which are open to the public and usually free. For example, The Naval Association of Canada has a levee January 1. 12 noon. HMCS York, 659 Lake Shore Blvd. http://www.navalassoc.ca/events/toronto-branch-new-years-day-levee/
–The Archbishop’s Levee 2018. January 1. 12:30-5pm. St. James Cathedral Centre, 65 Church Street: 12:30pm. Said Eucharist; 1:30-2:45pm. Receiving Line and Reception with the ringing of the Bells of Old York; 3pm. Festive Music; 3:30pm. Choral Evensong with presentations of the Order of the Diocese of Toronto. All are welcome! https://www.toronto.anglican.ca/calendar/
–Toronto Councillor Paul Ainslie. January 6. 2-4pm.
Toronto. Polar Bear Dips into Lake Ontario. There are usually two every year on New Year’s Day. But please check for weather cancellations before you go.
Toronto Polar Bear Dip. January 1. 12 noon. Free for spectators. Must raise a minimum $30 in pledges to participate. In support of Boost, Child and Youth Advocacy Centre. Sunnyside Beach. http://www.torontopolarbear.com/Dipday.html
Courage Polar Bear Dip for World Vision. January 1. Free for spectators. Registration for participants and live music begin at 12:30pm. Dip takes place at 2pm sharp! Coronation Park, Oakville. http://polarbeardip.ca/festivities.php
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Please note that some of the above events might be cancelled or altered because of our exceptionally cold weather. Check with the relevant websites or telephone numbers before you go.