851. November 27-December 6+ Affordable Events in Multicultural Toronto – 2018

As we move into December, Christmas activities seem to dominate. In addition to religious events, look for seasonal theatre, parties, fund raisers, flower shows, and live music (but not the annoying, canned music in shopping malls). Belgium, Denmark, England, Wales, Crèches from Across the World and a Creole dance version of Handel’s Messiah are all  related to this major festival.

But we have Sufi and other Middle Eastern music too. A regional musical tour of China, and songs from medieval Europe. We have thought-provoking talks on developments in Nordic countries, and a big question: can science actually change human brains that are wired for violence to those wired for empathy?

An opportunity to talk with two First Nations elders who marched to Ottawa. A Canadian doctor who was shot by the Israeli military while providing health care for injured Palestinians. The French book fair. A European reading club. A Japanese winter festival. The Jewish Hanukkah, Festival of Lights. A trade show from the metaphysical and spiritual world.reading club. A Japanese winter festival. The Jewish Hanukkah, Festival

I look forward to seeing the creativity of women from male-dominated countries as they become entrepreneurs. And there’s a fashion show that proves that designers can create beautiful clothes without having to bare a lot of flesh.

We have so many different cultural events in our own city – and most of them are free. Attending a church service is usually free too but a plate is passed around for a donation. No one is going to object if you don’t give anything.

Belgium. Fourth Annual Saint Nicolas Fundraiser supporting the Labatt Family Heart Centre, Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids). Thursday, December 6. 6-9pm. $30. Le Petit Déjeuner, 191 King Street East. http://www.belgiumconnect.com/ai1ec_event/st-nicholas-2018/?instance_id=4615.

China. Scenic Sojourn. Toronto Chinese Orchestra. Saturday, December 1. 7:30pm. $25/adult; $20 child/student. Yorkminster Citadel, 1 Lord Seaton Rd., North York. Tickets available online at: torontochineseorchestra.com and at the door for this musical tour of China.

Image from http://www.torontochineseorchestra.com/wp/

Christian. Advent. December 2-24. Sacred period among some western Christian churches from the “fall of humanity” to the birth of Jesus, the Savior. You will see advent calendars in stores. Each day a new page is opened with a treat (like a chocolate or toy). Unfortunately, the commercial sector has now exploited the Advent tradition too by offering a daily beer, for example.

St. Michael’s Basilica Cathedral has Sacred Music and Readings for Advent on December 18. 7pm. https://www.stmichaelscathedral.com/event/700pm-advent-lessons-carols/;

St. James Cathedral has An Advent Procession of Lessons and Carols on Sunday, December 2. https://stjamescathedral.ca/adventlessonscarols/

Advent services are listed on: https://stjamescathedral.ca/christmas2018/


image from St. James Cathedral website.

Christian. Crèches from Across the World: A Historical Overview of the Culture of the Crèche. Open Sunday to Thursday afternoons from 12:30 to 4:30pm starting Wednesday, December 5 to Thursday December 20, 2018 and again on January 3, 4 and 6, 2019. Admission free.  Donations welcome. 65 Church Street. For further information, contact Nancy Mallett at 416-364-7865 x 233 or archives@stjamescathedral.ca. https://stjamescathedral.ca/creche-exhibit/.

Image of Creche at Old Toronto City Hall. Copyright ©2016 Ruth Lor Malloy.


Christian. Noonday Organ Recital, November 28. 12:30pm. Angus Sinclair Organist. Yorkminster Park Baptist Church, 1585 Yonge Street (two blocks north of St. Clair Avenue at Heath). Tel. 416-922-1167. http://www.yorkminsterpark.com/gather/news-events.php

Image from Yorkminster Park Baptist Church website.


Christmas. England. A Christmas Carol.  December 1. 7-9pm. Free. St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 73 Simcoe Street at King Street West. Music at St. Andrew’s presents its annual dramatic reading of Charles Dickens’ classic story of the conversion of Scrooge from a miserly old employer to a generous boss. Seasonal music. Traditional ginger bread cookies and hot apple cider afterwards.

Readers are: Michael Enright, host of CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition, classical music educator Rick Phillips, soprano Neema Bickersteth, tenor Joe Angelo and St. Andrew’s member Indra Narayansingh. “Please heed Mr. Dicken’s seasonal message. Help others by donating to St. Andrew’s Out of the Cold program.” https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/a-christmas-carol-tickets-51885612263

Christmas. High Park Christmas Celebrations. December 2. 1–5pm. Free. Grenadier Restaurant Patio and High Park Zoo, 200 Parkside Drive. Good for families. http://www.highpark.org/event/high-park-christmas-celebrations-5/.

Image Copyright ©2018 Ruth Lor Malloy


Christmas Music. Multicultural. Have you looked around your neighbourhood and your city? Toronto has many immigrant groups with strong musical traditions. Filipino, Korean, and African Christian churches are among the many whose music is unlike what you hear in the malls. It can be refreshingly different and deeply spiritual.

Christmas. Santa Claus. 2018 CP Holiday Train. Thursday, November 29. 8:15 pm-9pm. Free but please donate non-perishable food items. CP Lambton Yard, 750 Runnymede Road near Walmart. Relive the magic of train travel. https://www.todocanada.ca/city/toronto/event/canadian-pacific-holiday-train2/

Image from CP Holiday Train website.


Denmark. Christmas. Lucia Pageant. Sunday, December 2. 4:30pm service Nativity Play. First Sunday of Advent. “Please join us for our traditional and festive pageant. It is preceded by a short service, and followed by a reception downstairs.” The Danish Lutheran Church of Toronto, 72 Finch Ave W, North York. Tel. 416-222-2494. For more information about this and other events: http://www.dlctoronto.on.ca

Sketch from Danish Lutheran Church website


Europe. European Book Club: Michael Kohlhaas by Heinrich von Kleist December 6. 6 pm. Free. Screening of Michael Kohlhaas, film adaptation by Arnaud des Pallières (2013) – 7:30pm. Alliance Française de Toronto, 24 Spadina Road: https://iictoronto.esteri.it/iic_toronto/en/gli_eventi/calendario/2018/03/european-book-club-2018.html

Europe. France. Multicultural. Ensemble Obsidienne (Medieval Music). November 30 at 8pm.  Admission $20-$25. Spadina Theatre, 24 Spadina Road. https://www.alliance-francaise.ca/en/culture/concerts/ensemble-obsidienne-english. http://alliance-francaise.ca

Image from Alliance Francaise website.


First Nations. Meet Toronto Public Library’s Elders in Residence. November 28. 4-6pm. Free. Dawes Road Branch, 416 Dawes Rd, East York.

TPL’s Elders in Residence Patrick Etherington and Frances Whiskeychan will be meeting one on one with members of the public to answer questions, offer teachings, and provide counsel. Patrick Etherington Sr. of Fort Albany First Nation and Frances R. Whiskeychan of Waskaganish First Nation, both survivors of residential schools were among the Truth and Reconciliation Walkers – walking all the way from Cochrane to Ottawa, arriving in time for the release of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission at the end of May.

Patrick Etherington is a survivor of the Indian Residential School, St. Anne’s in Fort Albany. He started life in the James Bay area, from Treaty 9 Moose Cree First Nation. To book a 30 minute appointment, email indigenousinitiatives@torontopubliclibrary.ca or call 416-393-5919. https://bit.ly/2QeKCSI

Image from Toronto Public Library website.


Francophone. Toronto French Book Fair. Wednesday, November 28. 9:30am-3pm; November 29. 9:30am-8pm; November 30. 9:30am-9pm; December 1. 9am-6pm. Free. Toronto Reference Library, Bluma Appel Theatre, 789 Yonge Street. (Yonge-Bloor subway). Contact: 416-922-2014 #37.  https://www.salondulivredetoronto.com

Image from Alliance Francaise website.

Holiday Season. Winter Flower Show. Grand Opening. December 2. 12-4pm. Free. Allan Gardens, 19 Horticultural Avenue. (Carlton and Jarvis). Carollers, horse-drawn wagon rides, hot cider and ginger bread. Festive crafts.

Show continues until January 6, 2019 with some weekend evenings in 2018 lit by romantic candle light. https://www.todocanada.ca/city/toronto/event/allan-gardens-christmas-flower-show/

Japan. Fuyu Matsuri – Winter Festival 2018. December 2. 11am-4pm. $5. Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, 6 Garamond Court. Ramune Speed Drinking Contest, Cosplay Fashion Show, Christmas ornament making, gingerbread cookie decorating, interactive games for adults and kids, Santa, marketplace (Shotengai), food vendors, etc. https://jccc.on.ca/event/fuyu-matsuri-winter-festival-2018/?instance_id=11955.

Jewish. Hanukkah/ Chanukah. Begins the evening of Sunday, December 2 and ends the evening of Monday, December 10. Jewish celebration commemorating the re-dedication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the second century B.C. Also known as the Festival of Lights. This is primarily a family celebration. One candle is added on each evening of the holiday, traditional foods eaten, and gifts are exchanged. For Hanukkah events you could attend, see: https://jewishtoronto.com/calendar/month/grid/2018/12/01

Image Copyright ©2012 Ruth Lor Malloy


Metaphysics. The Metaphysical & Spiritual Show. Trade show with over 100 exhibitors. Exhibition Place Heritage Court, 19 Nunavut Road. December 1 and 2. 10am-8pm. Free entrance. “…products, services, and information regarding gemstones, crystals, holistic health expos, essential oils, souvenirs, jewelry, arts & crafts, spiritual services, natural supplements, naturopaths, homeopaths, incenses, psychic readers, yoga centres, meditation classes,” etc.: https://www.crystaldreamsworld.com/

For more information: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/the-metaphysical-spiritual-show-of-toronto-tickets-37583110094

Middle Eastern. Nazar: Music of the Mediterranean. November 27. 12pm. Free. Turkwaz: Maryam Tollar, Sophia Grigoriadis, Jayne Brown, Brenna MacCrimmon. Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, Canadian Opera Company, 145 Queen Street West. https://www.coc.ca/plan-your-visit/free-concert-series.

Video of Turkwaz: http://turkwaz.ca

Image from Turkwaz website.


Multicultural. Science of Peace. Empathy for Peace. Thursday, December 6. 7-8:30pm. Suggested donation $5. Center for Social Innovation – Atrium, 192 Spadina Avenue.

Speaker Dr, Emile Bruneau, Director of Peace and Conflict Neuroscience Lab, University of Pennsylvania “ will explore how our brains are built for conflict, but also how they are built for change; and how with a little art, and a little science, we can rise above our tribalism… Even our intuitive efforts to transcend conflict often fail or backfire because of cognitive pitfalls that we are blind to. But all is not lost!”: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/the-science-of-peace-tickets-51403128140?platform=hootsuite&fbclid=IwAR0ifR5ofecTIJg779wg89lk-Az0Qw-yzz8jaA4ixTswhpEJj2hyRl0rJ1k

Image from http://www.empathy-for-peace.org/blog


Muslim. Womenpreneurs Expo. December 2. 12-7pm. Free. Sagan Banquet Hall, 7180 Edwards Blvd., Mississauga. http://muslimwomenpreneurs.ca/fashion-show/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=the_ultimate_modest_fashion_show_models_casting&utm_term=2018-10-17

Muslim. Ultimate Modest Fashion Show. December 2. 12-7pm.$15+ Sagan Banquet Hall, 7180 Edwards Blvd., Mississauga.

Nordic. U.K., Finland, Denmark, Canada. Panel: Up The Happy. November 27. 7:30-9pm. Free. Harbourfront Centre Theatre, 231 Queens Quay West.

Advance registration recommended. the Nordic Model is considered by many as the gold standard of free market capitalism for its successful inclusion of secured education and healthcare. Recently, Nordic countries have received international recognition for their leadership towards achieving landmark objectives set by a ground-breaking resolution of 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations. http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/norden/events/index.cfm?festival_id=303.

This is part of the Festival of Cool. November 24-December 2: “Featuring some of the most creative driving forces in contemporary art, music and thought leadership, this festival promises to make you think differently about the dark nights of winter. Discover the meaning of ‘happiness’ through lively conversations…”: http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/norden/events/index.cfm?festival_id=303&page=1&id=0&currdate=2018-11-24

Palestine. Delivering Health Care under Fire – Dr. Tarek Loubani in Gaza Thursday, November 29. 7:30pm-9:30pm. $5-$10. Victoria College Chapel, 91 Charles Street West. Dr. Tarek Loubani is an Associate Professor at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western University, and an emergency room physician at the London Health Sciences Centre and the Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza. He is well-known for his humanitarian work as a field medic in Gaza, where he was shot in the leg by the Israeli military in May 2018 while providing health care for injured Palestinians.  His talk can be live-streamed through United in Learning through online registration at: https://www.united-in-learning.com/index.php/2018-james-graff-memorial-lecture. Recording available.

Philippines. Filipinoesque Pop-Up: Fair Trade Fashion + Filipino Dessert Bar Pop-Up by Cambio & Co. and Filipino Fusion Desserts. December 1 and 2. Free. Lifestyle Space, 434 College Street, 2nd Floor. https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/filipinoesque-pop-up-fair-trade-fashion-filipino-dessert-bar-pop-up-tickets-51981277400?aff=erellivmlt

Wales. Toronto Welsh Male Voice Choir. Open rehearsal night Wednesday, November 28. Free. Dewi Sant Welsh United Church, 33 Melrose Avenue. “Prospective members and curious onlookers welcome…You don’t have to be Welsh to join this choir.” info@dewisant.com. Tel. 416-485-7583. https://welshchoir.ca/

Image from: https://welshchoir.ca/

Ruth writes: Welsh Male choirs are famous. Unfortunately many people can’t afford $30 for a concert but you can find good, live Welsh music free at this church on an open rehearsal night.

TorontoMulticulturalCalendar.com 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 mention these events in future.

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