How many living worldwide cultures can you find in Toronto during this period? Prolific are Toronto’s Remembrance Day events reflective of mainly European and Asian wars, and our own Christmas/Holiday Season traditions. Think of our several Christmas tree lightings, store windows, craft bazaars, festival music, and the Santa Claus parade. The tree tradition was originally German, for example. But we can also celebrate Christmas in Danish, Scottish, or European styles if we so wish.
During this time, we have an opportunity to get out and dance and work off all those holiday calories in many different cultural styles too. Or celebrate Diwali at a Jain temple. Or feel deeply the pain in the music composed in Nazi concentration camps.
We can scout out the latest talents among our Indigenous performers. There’s a talk about our Chinatown restaurants, and Latvian, Moroccan and Métis flag raisings at City Hall or Mel Lastman Square. And a World Wildlife speaker will be giving us some pointers on how to save the world’s wild animals from extinction.
You can experience any of these events – if space is available – most without charge in our culturally-diverse city. Here’s where:
Canada. Europe. Asia. Remembrance Day. November 11. Commemorates the sacrifice of those who served Canada in its armed forces in countries like France, Korea and Hong Kong. Celebrated in schools as a day of peace. The major event is at Old City Hall, Bay and Queen Streets.
Among other ceremonies are those at the Toronto Zoo, Fort York, Queen’s Park, and civic centres in East York, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough, Swansea, and York. https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/awards-tributes/tributes/toronto-remembers-the-wars/remembrance-day/civic-remembrance-day-services/
Most commemorations start between 10:15 and 10:45am. During the weeks leading up to November 11, the Canadian Legion, the veteran’s organization, sells red “poppies” on the street to help the families of veterans. Some organizations are selling white poppies which symbolize non-violent rather than military means of ending conflicts.
The University of Toronto has its service this year on November 9: https://alumni.utoronto.ca/alumni-networks/shared-interests/soldiers-tower/service-of-remembrance
World War I ended in 1918 “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.” It was supposed to be “the war to end all wars.” Alas, it was not. This year is the centenary of the end of that war. http://www.toronto.ca/lestweforget/remembrance.htm
Canada-China. A Culinary Journey Through Toronto’s Chinatown. Sunday, November 18. 2pm. Free. OISE, Room 5160, 252 Bloor Street West. Macao-born Professor Chef Leo Chan of George Brown University talks about the art and culture of regional Chinese cuisine which is linked with successive waves of Chinese immigration.
China. My Dream by the China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe. November 10. 7:30pm. Tickets start at $42. I’ve seen this troupe of deaf performers in China and they are spectacular especially from the centre section of the theatre. George Weston Recital Hall, Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge Street. Videos of the highlight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMXIio5yZKc; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q36LlQ7a1oo.
Christmas/Holiday Scotland. England. Events at Toronto History Museums.
“Revellers of all ages are invited to 56 days of holiday-themed programs and events at the City’s 10 Toronto History Museums, November 8 to January 6, 2019. Find out more about all the celebrations, food events, workshops, and shopping opportunities at www.toronto.ca/holidays.” Fees are usually family-friendly.
Europe. Toronto Christmas Market. Thursday November 15 – Sunday December 23, 2018. Closed on Mondays. $6 admission fee on weekends, starting at 5pm on Fridays. Children under 2 are free. Admission is free of charge on weekdays until Friday at 5pm. Historic Distillery District, Mill Street. This is our largest, very popular, continuous holiday market with its European sounds, sights and scents, Europe-inspired craftspeople, musicians and artisanal food-makers. http://www.torontochristmasmarket.com/
First Nations. Weesageechak Begins to Dance Festival. November 14-24. Ticket: $15; Festival pass $60. Aki Studio, Daniels Spectrum, 585 Dundas Street East #250. “Native Earth welcomes you to the 31st annual performing arts festival fostering the development of Indigenous work from across Turtle Island and the world.” http://www.nativeearth.ca/weesageechak31/First Nations. Indigenous & Ingenious Show & Sale. November 17 and 18. 11am-6pm. Admission $5. Performances by Shandra Spears Bombay: 12 noon, 2pm and 4pm. Ralph Thornton Centre, 2/F, 765 Queen Street East. Information: 416-949-1263. http://www.chiefs-of-ontario.org/event/indigenous-ingenious-show-and-sale/
France. Francophone. Too many to mention. Try https://www.eventbrite.ca/d/canada–toronto/french/
Hungary. A reader asked us about Hungarian events. We haven’t found any lately but suggest contacting the Hungarian Cultural Centre, 141 Sunrise Avenue, Tel. 416-654-4926. www.hccc.org. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. There’s also St. Elizabeth of Hungary R.C. Church at https://stelizabethofhungary.archtoronto.org. See our next blog.
India. Jain. Diwali. November 11. 10:30am-2pm. Sri Jain Mandir, 247 Park Lawn Road. Tel. 416-253-9319; email@example.com. “We provide lunch (Indian vegetarian) to our visitors between 1pm and 2pm. Please join us for the celebration. You can directly connect with us if there is further question.” Vijay, Advisor, SJM. Tel. 647-987-8643.
For our blog about an earlier visit to this temple, see: https://www.torontomulticulturalcalendar.com/2014/02/03/452-a-visit-to-a-jain-temple-in-toronto-2014.
Italy. The Saved Music: Francesco Lotoro in Concert. November 12. 6:30-8:30pm. Free. 918 Bathurst Street. “More than just a concert: Music rescued from the depths of the past, performed to inspire the future.
“Francesco Lotoro, an Italian composer, pianist and music teacher, brings to life music composed in the concentration camps…” presented by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in collaboration with Foundation ILCM (Institute of Concentrationary Music Literature),, and iConcerti – Classical Music Artist management.
Latvia. Flag Raising Ceremony for Republic of Latvia Independence Day, November 18. 10am. Toronto City Hall.
Métis. Flag raising in recognition of Louis Riel Day. November 16. 9am. Toronto City Hall.
Morocco. November 18. Raising of Moroccan flag at Morocco Independence Day
Ceremony at 2pm. Mel Lastman Square, North York Civic Centre.
Multicultural. Christmas/Holiday Season Bazaars. Christian. Denmark. England. Ukraine. Toronto has many churches and community centres with shows aimed at gift shoppers. These have lots of handicrafts, Christmas treats and traditional bake goods for sale. Usually good prices. Most have free entry. Weekends in November and early December. Bazaars are usually advertised on the exterior bulletin boards of churches and in neighbourhood newspapers. Many vendors only sell at bazaars. Here are some examples:
One of our favourites is the Ukrainian St Demetrius Christmas Bazaar at 135 La Rose Avenue (Royal York/Eglinton). Friday, November 23, 11am-8pm and November 24.
There’s the Fall and Christmas Bazaar. November 17. The Danish Lutheran Church of Toronto, 72 Finch Avenue West, North York. Tel. 416-222-2494. http://www.dlctoronto.on.ca/DLC-2018-Coming-Events.pdf. This church also has a St. Lucia pageant on December 2.
Christmas Craft Show & Coffee House. “…more than 20 unique artists with wonderful gift ideas for everyone on your shopping list. Knit wear, hand made soaps, jewellery, cards, stained glass, vegan baking round out the dizzying array of artistry on hand. Also, delicious treats, Starbucks coffee, and new this year, a bistro lunch will be served between 11:30am and 2pm. Our Anglican Church Women will be selling knitted goods, baking and treasures, as well as a raffle. Proceeds from the $2 door admission are supporting a peace-building project in the South Sudan.” St. Olaves Anglican Church, 360 Windermere Ave., just south of Bloor.
For some other bazaars: https://www.kijiji.ca/b-events/gta-greater-toronto-area/bazaar/k0c289l1700272
MultiFaith. Rings of Peace. Jewish. Muslim. I wish someone would let us know ahead of time when a Ring of Peace is being organized and where – like the recent ones around some of our Jewish synagogues following the shootings in Pennsylvania, and those around some of our mosques after the Quebec mosque murders. Some of us want to support these too.
Multicultural. International Folk Dancing. U of T International Folk Dance Club. Most Friday Nights 2018-2019, to June (Date TBA), 2019. Program: 8-9 pm — teaching / 9-11 pm — request dancing & some additional teaching. Drop-in fee: $8 for the whole evening. Multi-class pass available from time to time. Faculty of Education Building, 371 Bloor Street West, University of Toronto – St. George Campus. (Southeast corner of Bloor & Spadina). Contact: Judy. 416-978-0623. http://ofda.ca/wp/ifdc/
Poland. Canada. We Keep Coming Back. November 14-25. Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst Street (at Adelaide). Ticket prices start at $20 for previews and range from $40-$50 for regular performances. Student and senior prices also available. For more information and to purchase tickets: www.factorytheatre.ca.
“This is part of CrossCurrents Canada, presentations of uncompromising Canadian stories by intercultural artists from across the country. We Keep Coming Back is a (mostly) true story of a Canadian artist, his mother, and the odyssey to their pre-Holocaust familial homes in Poland.” www.factorytheatre.ca/2018-19-season.
Scotland. Christian. St. Andrew’s Annual Church Parade. November 18. 10:30-12pm. Free. Glenview Presbyterian Church, 1 Glenview Avenue. Tel. 416-488-1156. Celebrating Scottish heritage. http://www.standrews-society.ca/event/2016-annual-church-parade/ and http://www.standrews-society.ca/event/annual-church-parade/.
The St. Andrew’s Society also has a fancy charity ball with prices like $1300 for a table of 8. Participants practice Celtic dances before attending.
Toronto. Christmas/Holiday Season. Christmas Tree Lightings. This holiday season started with stores selling Christmas cards and decorations even before Halloween ended. Hudson Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue’s downtown stores launched its traditional festive windows on November 4, an annual event attracting huge crowds. Images of some of the windows are on: https://www.instagram.com/p/BpyLyc8h_bh/?utm_source=ig_embed
The largest of the many Christmas Tree Lighting events is the 52nd annual Cavalcade of Lights on Saturday, November 24 at Nathan Phillips Square. It will have the first illumination of Toronto’s Official Christmas Tree, fireworks, a skating party, and musical performances. Further information available at toronto.ca/cavalcade.
Most if not all of our Business Improvements Areas have a lighting ceremony or similar happening. Samples of these: Bloor-Yorkville Holiday Magic. November 17. 5-7pm. http://www.bloor-yorkville.com/holiday_magic/index.html
There’s the smaller, more intimate 7th Annual Baby It’s Cold Outside. Open House and Sidewalk Sale. Saturday, November 17. 10am-5pm. Free. Baby Point Gates Business Area with Strolling Carolers, Meet Santa, Ebenezer Scrooge with balloon animals, Bouncy Castle, Birds of Prey Demonstration, Accordionist and Band, etc. Jane and Annette: http://www.babypointgates.ca/new/baby-cold-outside/
On the other side of the GTA is Christmas in King City. Saturday, November 17. 4‑7pm. Keele Street between King Road and Elizabeth Grove, King City. http://www.experienceyorkregion.com/tc-events/christmas-in-king-city.
Toronto. Santa Claus Parade. November 18. Free. One of the world’s longest Santa Claus parades. It starts at Christie Pits at 12:30pm and ends at St. Lawrence Market 2 1/2 hours later. Take your own chairs. Map of route on: http://www.thesantaclausparade.com/#parade-route.
Tips on the best way to see the parade.: https://thesantaclausparade.com/the-parade/. In our city where over 50% of residents self-identify as persons of colour, I usually look for the racial diversity in the parade and the spectators.
World. Global Warming. Losing life on Earth: How can we stop wildlife loss? Wednesday, November 14. 7-9pm. Free. Swansea Town Hall, 95 Lavinia Ave, Rousseau Room. Runnymede subway station. A presentation by Dr. Pete Ewins, WWF Canada Lead Specialist in Species Conservation on the latest WWF Living Planet Reports and what we must do to reverse the wildlife decline. https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/losing-life-on-earth-how-can-we-stop-wildlife-loss-tickets-51363833609
- Note from Ruth:
Let us know the kind of events that interest you. Please continue to send us posters. We don’t charge to post them and we don’t accept paid advertising. Please post comments on “Leave a Reply” below. Email us at: ruthlormalloy@. Please subscribe to our Newsletter above.
chooses to promote events that encourage a feeling of community in our culturally diverse city. Mention doesn’t mean endorsement as 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.