Different cultural events are in profusion all over Multicultural Toronto now and those listed here are free or almost free unless you want to gorge on exotic food and drink. Among the biggest are the Caribbean Carnival, the Asian Night Market, and Japan’s Natsu Matsuri and Obon Festivals where everyone can dance to Japanese music. For a small fee, there’s the many-splendoured Carabram and the Halal Food Fest.
All over the city, we have many free weekly concerts. Look near your home for a mall, a large park, an event space like the Distillery District, where you can relax outdoors or dance – Latino, contra, rumba, swing, Celtic, or whatever. Even Union Station now has daylong live music. Toronto being what it is will most certainly have performers and music inspired by our culturally-diverse heritages. We’ve mentioned a few below including one centered on the music of only one city – Naples in Italy.
The most spectacular and thought-provoking event is a Tamil Chariot Festival. Each Tamil temple seems to have one so if you miss this one, there’s another on another date.
During this period, the Orange Lodge with its Dutch/British background will make an appearance, as will Colombian dancers, Egyptians at a picnic, and First Nations artists and performers. France will celebrate its Bastille Day. Look for the chariots of the Festival of India as they duck electrical wires down Yonge Street and worshipers continue on to Toronto Island. Montenegro, Ireland, Thailand, Nepal, and Hawaii are also among those countries making appearances in town.
Everyone will have a chance to meet fellow Torontonians of different stripes. Believe me, the following list covers only the tip of our amazing multicultural offerings – unavailable to you poor people who have to endure long traffic jams and no dishwashers in Cottage Country. We here in Toronto have the whole world to enjoy with just a Presto card.
You will probably find me sampling Middle-Eastern food at the air-conditioned Halal or outdoor Middle-Eastern festivals. Alas, some outdoor events might be cancelled due to too much heat, snow or rain.
Asia. Night Market. Friday, July 13. 7pm-12 am; Saturday, July 14. 2pm-12 am; Sunday, July 15. 2pm-8pm. Free. Markham Civic Centre, 101 Town Centre Boulevard, Markham. Performances, contests, Asian and other international food for sale. http://nightitup.com. Canada. Toronto. Orangeman’s Day. July 14. “198th Annual Toronto Orange Parade sets off at 11am from the Ted Reeve Community Arena, 175 Main Street. The parade will follow Ted Reeve Dr., Gerrard St. to Main St., North on Main St. to Danforth Ave. East on Danforth to Victoria Park Ave. South on Victoria Park to Gerrard St. and westbound back to Ted Reeve Drive… Following the Parade there will be a BBQ, bouncy castles, bands and refreshments for young and old. The County Master Brother Lynn Barr looks forward to welcoming everyone – members and friends to the longest running such parade in North America. https://www.facebook.com/events/1307972696004093/.
Ruth’s note: This parade is an expression of Toronto’s history reaching back to 17th Century Europe. Its inspiration comes from William, Prince of Orange, Holland who went to England to defend the cause of Protestantism in 1688. It has had lodges in Canada since 1812 and Toronto’s parade appears to be the longest continually running parade in North America. It started in 1820. Members of the Lodge have contributed to the development of our city and Canada. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_Order_in_Canada
Caribbean. Peaks Caribbean Carnival. July 7–August 12. https://torontocarnival.ca/event-tickets/
July 10. 11am-2pm. Official Launch. Peaks Caribbean Carnival. Nathan Phillips Square. https://www.facebook.com/events/1867663140215268/.
Other Events: Various prices and venues. Official Launch, Church Services, Grand Parade (free on Lakeshore Blvd.), Junior Carnival Parade and Family Day, Carnival Village, Junior Carnival King & Queen Showcase, Calypso Showcase, and Pan Alive. For schedule: https://torontocarnival.ca/event-tickets/.
Not to be missed is the Grand Parade. Saturday, August 4. 8:30am-8:30pm. Free if you watch it along its route east from Exhibition Place along Lakeshore Boulevard and return to Exhibition Place. General bleacher seating $10-$20 – recommended for those who want to experience it all and be nearer the judges. VIP $50-$200. Exhibition Place (CNE).
Colombia. Multicultural. Dancing in the Park: On Stage with Colectro and Noventa Dance Projects. July 14. 8pm. Free. Part of a series of performances and films guaranteed to get you moving. Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Drive. https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/programs/dancing-in-the-park-on-stage-with-colectro-and-noventa-dance-projects.
For future programs in this series: https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/assets/pdf/akm-museum-park-2018-summer.pdf
Eelam. Sri Lanka. South India. Hindu. Tamil Chariot Festival. July 15. Pujas start at 7:45am. Then chariots, dancers, musicians and penitents circle the temple outside. 11am-12:30pm. Free. Indian food served at the end. Please leave shoes outside sacred areas. Sri Varasiththi Vinayagar Hindu Temple, 3025 Kennedy Road, Scarborough. Not for the squeamish but very important for students of comparative religions. This is one of Toronto’s most spectacular festivals. http://www.vinaayagar.com
For what to expect, please look at our previous blog: https://www.torontomulticulturalcalendar.com/2013/07/26/402-report-and-video-on-hindu-tamil-chariot-festival-2013/
Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy
Egypt. Nile Club. Picnic. July 14. 11am-7pm. $10 non-members. Bronte Creek Provincial Park Shelter F, 1219 Burlook Drive, Oakville. http://nileclub.org/
First Nations. Canada. Public Opening. Rebecca Belmore: Facing the Monumental. July 11. 6-9 pm. Remarks at 7pm. Free. Walker Court, Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West. The Belmore exhibition will be at the AGO from July 12 to October 21. General admission prices apply.
“Join us for the public opening of Facing the Monumental the new exhibition by Gershon Iskowitz Prize winner Rebecca Belmore. Celebrate with the artist and a special performance by Cris Derksen, an Indigenous cellist/composer known for building layers of sound into captivating performances. A cash bar will be available all evening.” http://ago.ca/exhibitions/rebecca-belmore-facing-monumental.
Thanks to P.Anne Winter for telling us about this opening. She writes: “This is an opportunity for new folks to see that impressive building and get an idea of what else they may want to explore in time.”
France. Toronto Bastille Day 2018 – Rendez-vous le 14 juillet! Saturday, July 14. 2:30–9pm. Free entrance. Wychwood Barns Community Association, 601 Christie Street. (map).
“Toronto will feel like France on July 14th! French, Francophiles and friends of France – come celebrate the French national holiday and enjoy some fun activities: concerts, a French market, food sampling, artistic performances, and activities for children. You’ll also have the chance to win great prizes! More information will be shared soon.” https://www.federationtricolore.ca/calendar
France. Europe. Mondays. Balfolk (French and western European folk and social dancing) with live music by members of Lemon Bucket Orkestra and anyone who cares to join in. Takes place at La Rev, 2848 Dundas St. W. Musicians come at 7pm, dancers at 8 until 10:30pm. Pay what you can. Check each Monday for updates at www.facebook.com/balfolktoronto.
Teléfono(s): (905)553-0937; (647)404-7496. For this and other Latino festivals in the GTA (in Spanish): https://toronto.hispanocity.com/eventos-directorio/
India. Hindu. Festival of India. July 14-15. Free. Parade on Yonge Street to Jack Layton Ferry Pier and thence to Toronto Island. http://www.festivalofindia.ca/
Italy. Naples. Vesuvius Ensemble. Tuesday, July 10. 6:30pm. Free. “Musical tribute to the ‘Giovane contadina’ by Giuseppe Bonito. The Ensemble will perform traditional music from Naples and southern Italy, with popular and peasant songs of the 18th Century to pay tribute to the beautiful painting by Giuseppe Bonito. The performance will be preceded by a presentation of the masterpiece. Istituto Italiano di Cultura, 496 Huron Street.” https://iictoronto.esteri.it/iic_toronto/en/gli_eventi/calendario/2018/07/vesuvius-ensemble-giovane-contadina.html
For this and other Italian events: http://iictoronto.esteri.it/iic_toronto/resource/doc/2018/06/iic-newsletter_-__luglio_agosto_def.pdf
Japan. Summer festivals. Natsu Matsuri and Obon – featuring Tanabata celebrations! July 14. Annual Natsu Matsuri (3:30–7pm) and Obon (7–9pm). Free. “Children’s games, vendors, great food (including our famous Somen Bar and our Beer Garden) and spectacular performances.” Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, 6 Garamond Court. http://jccc.on.ca/event/natsu-matsuri-summer-festival/?instance_id=11831
Montenegro. Flag Raising Ceremony. July 13. 2pm. Free. Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street West. https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/awards-tributes/tributes/flag-raising-half-masting/2018-flag-raising-listing
Multicultural. Arts in the Parks. June 15 to September 15. Free. 230 featured events in 35 of Toronto’s parks. Theatre, music, dance, film, and community workshops. For schedule, performers and venues, see: https://artsintheparksto.org/event-listings/.
Multicultural. Africa, Canada, Caribbean, China , Eelam, Hawaii, India, Ireland, Latin America, Nepal, Philippines, Punjab. Carabram. Friday July 13, 6 pm–Midnight; Saturday, July 14, 1 pm–Midnight; Sunday, July 15, 1pm–7pm. Purchase an early-bird ticket for $10 before July 13 and save! $12 from July 13-15th. Children (under 12) – Free. Pavilion of Cultures at South Fletcher’s Sports Plex, 217 McMurchy Avenue South, and five other venues. International food for sale, entertainment. http://carabram.org/
Multicultural. Harbourfront Centre. This is a place to spend a few relaxing hours with family especially on weekends. A breeze frequently drifts in from Lake Ontario, while there are several things to see or do free of charge: an art exhibit inside the air-conditioned Power Point Museum of Contemporary Art, for example. Live music, dance, workshops, ping pong, space for children to run around, etc. Food, ice cream, and drinks for sale. For a little more, there’s canoeing on the Natrel Pond and boat rides around the harbour.
Some of the performances are not free. Just put a date into: http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/whatson/today.cfm and find out what’s going on. 235 Queens Quay W. Easy street-car ride from Union Station. Second stop.
On Thursdays, it has Dancing on the Pier, also for free. This summer it has Flamenco/Rumba, Latin, Swing/Jazz, Electro-Swing, Celtic, or Latin-Caribbean/Dancehall music. For the band schedule July 12-August 30, see: https://festivalstoronto.com/summer-long/dancing-on-the-pier/.
Image of Red Sky Performance at Harbourfront Copyright ©2018 Ruth Lor Malloy
Multicultural. Trinidad. Mexico. Music City Summer City. Aphrose, QuiQue Escamilla. July 15. 2pm–6pm. The Distillery District, 55 Mill Street. Free. For this and other concerts at the Distillery District: http://www.thedistillerydistrict.com/events.html
Multicultural. Dancing in the Park. Participatory Folk Dancing. Ontario Folk Dance Association. Website: www.OFDA.ca
Sundays. July, August, 7:30-9pm. Free. International Folk Dancing in Mill Pond Park, Richmond Hill. For concerts: https://www.richmondhill.ca/en/things-to-do/concerts-in-the-park.aspx
Tuesdays. Toronto International Folk Dancing, Tuesdays during July and August. Hillcrest Park, 950 Davenport Road. 7–9 p.m. Free. http://ofda.ca/wp/upcoming-folk-dance-events/
Multicultural. Tuesday Night Live!. Every Tuesday through to August 21, 7-8pm. Free. Amphitheatre, Earl Bales Park, 4169 Bathurst Street. http://www.jamespasternak.ca/earlbalessummerconcerts
Multicultural. City Hall Live. Concerts from 12:30 to 1:30pm on Wednesdays from June 20 to August 29 and on Thursdays from July 12 to August 30 (except Aug 9). Free. Nathan Phillips Square with Popular Music and Entertainment reporter Rudy Blair as host. https://bit.ly/2tJIs0R
Multicultural. Play the Parks. June to September. Free concerts at seven different locations in Downtown Yonge. Many performers reflective of our multicultural city. Full schedule: http://www.downtownyonge.com/playtheparks/
Multicultural. Taste of Lawrence. Neighbourhood street festival. July 6, 6-11pm; July 7, 11am-11pm. July 8, 11am-7pm. Free entry. Over 130 street vendors, Midway rides, all day music and family stage with entertainment for the whole family. Lawrence Avenue East from Warden Avenue to Birchmount Road, Scarborough. Http://www.wexfordbia.ca/events/taste-of-lawrence.
Multicultural. Union Summer. Now to August 19. 11am-9pm. Free. Sir John A. Macdonald Plaza, Union Station, 65 Front Street West. “…an eclectic offering of food vendors, musicians, film screenings and live performances to Union Station… Runs 50 days straight, 7 days a week with free programming on the TD Stage showcasing festival previews, free movie nights, World Cup finals and local arts and cultural organizations featuring the spirit of Toronto at its gateway.” For the daily events schedule: https://torontounion.ca/unionsummer/.
Muslim. Halal Food Fest TO 2018. Saturday, July 14. 10am–10pm. Sunday, July 15. 10am–8pm. Adults $5. Seniors and children 10 and under free entry. Free Parking. The International Centre, 6900 Airport Road, Entrance 5. 150+ Exhibitors. Sample foods and discover new restaurants and products! 15+ Performances. Check out the Redpath stage and outdoor stage for cooking demonstrations, competitions, performances and more! http://halalfoodfestto.com/
Philippines. Philippines Festival Mississauga. Kalayaan. July 7. 11am-11pm. July 8. 11am-7pm. Free. Mississauga Celebration Square. http://www.fiestangkalayaan.ca/
Quebec. La Croisée d’Antan: Crossroads. Concert. Thursday, July 12. 7– 8pm. Free. The Toronto debut of La Croisée d’Antan, a trio of young traditional Québécois musicians. Part of Summer Music in the Garden, 479 Queens Quay West. http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/summermusic/events/index.cfm?id=9923&festival_id=285. For other Summer Music in the Garden events, see: http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/summermusic/performances/
Spain. Flamenco guitarist David Sinclair in Toronto for a single performance. July 14. 8–10pm. $20 + HST. Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company Studio, 401 Richmond Street West, Suite B104. Limited Seating. https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/david-sinclair-flamenco-guitar-in-concert-tickets-46341655138
Thailand. Destination Thailand. July 14. 10am-8pm. Free admission. Yonge-Dundas Square. “The Royal Thai Embassy in Ottawa is pleased to invite you to the 5th Destination Thailand festival… at the world-famous Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto. We hope to see you there.” https://www.facebook.com/events/872971106246579/
Note from Ruth: chooses to promote events that encourage a feeling of community in our culturally diverse city. Mention doesn’t mean endorsement but we try to include events we think readers will find stimulating in the cultures of other groups. If you go to any of our mentioned events, please send us corrections or an account of your impressions so we will know whether or not to promote these events in future. Please continue to send us posters. We don’t charge to post them and we don’t accept paid advertising. Post comments on “Leave a Reply” below. Email us at: ruthlormalloy@ . Subscribe to our Newsletter above.