855. January 6-13+ Affordable Events in Multicultural Toronto – 2019

Toronto’s winter events this week continue to express our multicultural roots: the Orthodox “Christmas” but also its annual Tango Marathon. Its free COC concerts include a Persian-Western fusion and later the music of South American composers. There’s a South Asian wedding show, and the opening of Tamil Heritage Month. In addition to our free or almost-free category of events, there’s a tour of Scarborough’s ethnic food, and Japanese and French cuisine sessions at St. Lawrence Market – not even nearly-free but worth considering which you should book now to go.

Argentina. Toronto Tango Marathon 2019. January 11-January 13. $25-$200. Lithuanian Banquet Halls, 1573 Bloor Street West. Three days and nights of non-stop Tango. http://www.torontotangomarathon.com/

Image from Tango Marathon website


Christian. Orthodox. January 6. By donation.  The Eastern Orthodox Churches do not call this day “Christmas.” It is the “Feast of the Nativity.” or Baptism of Jesus, Three Kings’ Day, Denha, Little Christmas, Theophany, Reyes, etc. Among the countries where these churches are based are Russia, Ukraine, Macedonia, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Serbia.  Of course you can also find these churches in Toronto.

Worshippers fast for several weeks prior, attend church services with special liturgy the night before, and then have family feasts. Friends tell me some members of these churches might celebrate both December 25 and January 6. Well, why not?

If you want to experience the Orthodox version of Christmas, there’s the Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church at 23 Henry Street near College and University. Click on: http://holytrinity.ws/en/category/announcements/;

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

For Egyptian Orthodox services, there’s St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church, 41 Glendinning Avenue: Tel. 416-494-4449. http://stmarkstoronto.ca/schedules/weekly-announcements/.

And there are many more.

Ruth’s note: Orthodox services can be very long for newcomers especially if you don’t know the language. The Ethiopian Orthodox church separates men and women into different sections, and you take off your shoes at the door. But these churches will give you the feeling you are in another country as you worship the same deity they do.

Image of Russian Orthodox Church copyright 2018 Ruth Lor Malloy


Multicultural. COC Free concert series: Persia. Kamancello. January 8. 12pm; South American Composers: Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind. January 15. 12pm; Argentina. Payadora Tango Ensemble. January 24. 12pm. Canadian Opera Company, 145 Queen Street West. https://www.coc.ca/plan-your-visit/free-concert-series.

Ruth’s note: I’ve been to several of these. Wish I could go to more because the quality is usually excellent.

Image from Canadian Opera Company website.


Multicultural.  St. Lawrence Market Events sell out quickly. The February 2 session on Chinese Dumplings no longer has space available. Look at the schedule and book now if you want to learn about Japanese noodles, French Hors D’oeuvres, Asian pickles, or Macaron making. Unfortunately, prices are not in our free or nearly-free range. Market Gallery, 93 Front Street East. http://www.stlawrencemarket.com/events.

Ruth’s note: I’ve only been to the $25 each Victorian tea in December (three times) because it has the best scones and the cheapest price I’ve found for English high tea in town. Would love to try some of the other events.

Image Copyright ©2018 Linda Jo Malloy


Multicultural. The Diversity of Scarborough Food Tour. Various dates in January. 11:30am. $73 per person. Four to a tour. Pick up at subway station. If you are looking for new foodie experiences in the eastern part of the GTA, here’s a guided tour by a native to get you started — even though the price is well above our usual free or nearly-free range: https://www.airbnb.ca/experiences/100398.

Ruth’s note: No, I didn’t get a freebie to mention this one. I will save up and pay for it myself because I’ve been trying for years unsuccessfully to find someone knowledgeable to show me some of the new authentic Japanese, Syrian, Tamil, Sri Lankan, etc. food shops and restaurants in our east end. Scarborough and Markham really have a reputation for interesting food. My own family travels long distances to Scarborough for birthday parties in Chinese restaurants there because of dishes you can’t get downtown — like the Lobster Mountain from the Fisherman Lobster Clubhouse restaurant shown here.

So I was intrigued when I read about this tour in The Star though I don’t know if Diversity includes lobster.

Image from Fisherman Lobster Clubhouse Restaurant Copyright ©2018 Ruth Lor Malloy


South Asia. India. Must be Kismet Wedding Show. January 13. 12-6pm. $10. With one fashion show $15. International Centre, 6900 Airport Road, Mississauga: http://shows.mustbekismet.com/mbk-january-2019.

Ruth’s note: I love going to these wedding shows, probably my only chance to experience the beauty, the ultimate in contemporary textile art, and the developing wedding customs in South Asia. I find wedding customs here not much different in spirit and excess than weddings in my own culture.

Tamil. Sri Lanka. India. Thamil Heritage Month 2019 Opening Ceremony. January 10. 6-9pm. Free. Markham Civic Centre, 101 Town Centre Blvd., Markham. https://toronto.carpe-diem.events/calendar/9122891-thamil-heritage-month-2019-opening-ceremony-at-101-town-centre-blvd-markham-on-l3r-9w3-canada/

Ruth’s note: if this were closer to my home, I would go for the rich Tamil cultural performances and the contacts in our large Tamil community. 

Image from Thamil website.


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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