868. Affordable Events April 8-15+ in Multicultural Toronto – 2019.

Update: Please note information on Rwanda commemoration below on April 10, added after we first published this blog. 

Most of us have a lot in common with each other: a love of flowers, music, and laughter. Stories fascinate us. We all want respect and most of us fear the unknown.

Toronto gives us a chance to see beyond our fears and learn about our fellow humans as we work and have fun together. During this week, an Iranian-Muslim-American comedian gets us laughing. On the serious side, we can learn about Sikh women in politics and even have a conversation with them at a Sikh heritage month event. As for First Nations lawyers and elders, we can discuss Indigenous laws and our shared responsibility to care for the land and waters at a meeting at Toronto City Hall.

During this period also, we have a chance to get some insight about South Asians in Australia and what could be happening with Canada’s strained relations with China.

We can start watching our Japanese cherry blossoms in High Park develop from buds so we won’t miss the one week when they are in full bloom. We can wonder about the origins of hydrangeas and pinpoint the countries where African violets are from while enjoying their beauty. None of these plants are native to Canada or even North America.

We can make a beautiful Ukrainian Pysanky egg. We can immerse ourselves in Irish music including that of a choir direct from Dublin, and discover new information about the history of Florence, Italy. We can join Lao and Thai new year celebrations in their beautiful temples.

We can watch an Academy Award-winning German film about a family who escaped the Nazis by migrating to a farm in Kenya. And most of these events are free or almost – free.

Australia. South Asia. The South Asian Odyssey in Australia. April 11. 7-9pm. $5. Lower Social Room, Noor Cultural Centre, 123 Wynford Drive, North York. Lecture by author Samia Khatun, PhD. Copies of Australianama: The South Asian Odyssey in Australia will be available for purchase.

…Australian deserts remain dotted with the ruins of old 19th century mosques. Beginning with a surprise discovery of a  Bengali poetry collection in a mosque in the mining town of Broken Hill, Samia Khatun weaves together the stories of various peoples colonized by the British Empire to chart a history of the South Asian diaspora…”https://noorculturalcentre.ca/lecture-australianama-narrating-histories-of-muslims-in-an-age-of-growing-islamophobia



China. Canada. U.S. Asian Institute. A New Era of China-Canada-US Relations: Strategic Tensions & Economic Interests. Wednesday, April 10. 5:30-7pm. Free. The Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility, 1 Devonshire Place.

Speakers include Dr. Cheng Li from the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, and the University of Toronto. https://munkschool.utoronto.ca/ai/event/27417/ 


First Nations. Anishinaabe Inaakonigewin: Indigenous Governance, Laws and Lifeways. April 8. 4:30-8pm. Free. Toronto City Hall (Council Chamber), 100 Queen Street West.

How might Indigenous governance systems contribute to changing our relationships with each other and to the land and waters?

Join us to listen to and learn from knowledge keepers in Indigenous Law and knowledge systems in conversation on Indigenous governance and our shared responsibility to care for the land and waters…”

Moderated by Jill Carter, scholar, artist and researcher with First Story Toronto. Featuring, in conversation: Lee Maracle, Sylvia Plain, Valarie Waboose, Dawnis Kennedy, Justin Wiebe, and Sharon Witruk.

A public event co-hosted by the Centre for Community Partnerships, University of Toronto & the City of Toronto. https://www.studentlife.utoronto.ca/ccp/cce.

Register at https://www.studentlife.utoronto.ca/ccp/cce-registration

Image of Lee Maracle  By rmajzels – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKqIhWZEHc0, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48189593


Germany. Jewish. Kenya. Shir Libeynu Jewish Film Series,”No Where in Africa.” April 14. 1:30pm. Free. 519 Community Centre, 519 Church Street, Room 301.

This critically acclaimed, Academy Award-winner, is a story about love, about family, about leaving one home to create another. Spanning two continents, it’s the true tale of a Jewish attorney and his family who flee the Nazi regime in 1938 to a remote farm in Kenya.” http://shirlibeynu.ca/th_event/shir-libeynu-jewish-film-series-6/


Ireland. The Irish Voice. Concert. Saturday April 13, 7:30pm. $25 / Seniors $15 / Children 17 and under free. Trinity St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor Street West. To reserve tickets: 416-759-2124 or theirishchoral@gmail.com.

100 Voices from Ireland to Toronto join forces for a superb evening of choir selections featuring excerpts from The Greatest Showman and highlights from Les Miserables… A concert of diverse vocal repertoire featuring the Sandford Park Choir – Dublin, Ireland, The Irish Choral Society of Canada, and the Markham Youth Choir.” Thanks to Maureen Oleary for telling us about this event. https://www.facebook.com/irishchoralsociety/


Italy. How Old is the City of Florence?. Talk by Dr. McKenzie Lewis. April 11. 7:15pm. Free. University of Toronto, Carr Hall, Room 404, 100 St. Joseph Street.

It is commonly accepted that the city of Florence, the cultural heart and first capital of unified Italy, was founded by Julius Caesar in the 40s B.C.E. and settled as a colony shortly afterward by Rome’s first emperor Augustus. This orthodox view of the city’s foundation by a strong imperial Rome, drawn from a fourth century Latin text, took on ideological importance in the 1940s and 1950s. However, a much earlier date for the birth of Florence is now possible to be shown. https://iictoronto.esteri.it/iic_toronto/en/gli_eventi/calendario/2019/04/lecture-how-old-is-the-city-of.html.

Image from Italian Cultural Centre website.


Japan. Toronto. Cherry Blossoms. Open 24 hours. Free. High Park, 1873 Bloor Street West. Cherry blossoms could bloom anytime between late April to early May but you can start following their progress on line now. The full blossoms only last a short time so it’s easy to miss them.

This year, no cars are allowed into the park – so we suggest you go to the High Park subway station and walk south into the park when the time comes. You can follow the crowds for about 400 meters until you see the flowering trees down the hill from the Grenadier Restaurant. https://highparknaturecentre.com/2/cherryblossom

The first Japanese Somei-Yoshino cherry tree was planted here in 1959 and was a  present from the citizens of Tokyo.

There are also cherry trees on Centre Island near the south side of the bridge, near the fountain. And don’t forget the lovely Weeping Cherries in Kariya Park, the  Japanese garden just south of Celebration Square on Kariya Drive, just off Burnhamthorpe Road, Mississauga.

Image Copyright ©2018 Ruth Lor Malloy


Laos. New Year Celebration. April 13 at 2pm; April 14 at 10am. Free. Lao Temple, 17969 Airport Road, Caledon East. Tel. 905-584-6886. http://www.watlao-veluwanh.com/

A Festival in Toronto at Wat Lao Veluwanaram Temple, 17969 Airport Road in Caledon East. Copyright ©2013 Ruth Lor Malloy


Muslim. U.S. Iran. On Behalf of All Muslims: A Comedy Special Work-in-Progress, Live Podcast Taping. April 13. 8pm. $30, $27 Friends, $22.50 students and seniors. Includes same-day Museum admission (redeem at Ticket Desk). Part of a Series. Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Drive, North York.

…Canadian premiere of fearless Iranian-American comedian Zahra Noorbakhsh, co-host of the hit podcast #GoodMuslimBadMuslim… Noorbakhsh’s shows are part of our Comedy from The Other Side of Fear series, which celebrates the courage needed to tell our truths and explores how we conquer fear through storytelling and laughter. These comedic takes on challenging issues encourage us to find their lighter side, expanding our perspective…” https://agakhanmuseum.org/programs/comedy-from-the-other-side-of-fear-zahra-noorbakhsh-apr-12-2019

For a video of one of Zajrah’s shows: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbzVTLrsqRI


Image from Aga Khan Museum website.


Sikh. Sikh Heritage Month. April 6-21. Free. Peel Art Gallery Museum Archives, 9 Wellington Street East, Brampton.

You might be interested “in Finding Self Through Art: A Sikh experience, Sikh music, and Sikh Women in Politics.” For the latter: April 6. 2-4pm. Peel Art Gallery Museum Archives. 9 Wellington Street East, Brampton.

“… a panel conversation with Sikh women working in the backrooms of politics as campaign managers, advisors, and (former) staffers, across the political spectrum and levels of government. We will discuss the challenges and successes that Sikh women face in politics, and how the Sikh community can better support women in the political space…”  https://www.sikhheritagemonth.ca/calendar/2019/4/6/fireside-chat.  For the series, see: http://pama.peelregion.ca/en/News/index.aspx?newsId=86edc32b-0526-4ca7-ab27-748719d71b4f.

Rwanda. “You are cordially invited to attend the commemoration of Genocide Against Tutsi Event. Wed, 10 April. 2–4pm. Legislature Building, Queens Park.

We need to ensure that we have arrangements for those attending, please note this event is open to the public if you are inviting a friend kindly sign them up.

Thank you in Advance, if you have any questions, Please email: rcakomitetoronto@gmail.com or call Caleb @ 416-587-7542 anytime.”


Ruth’s Note: Twenty-five years have passed since the start of this genocide, in which some 800,000 people were killed. You might remember the films on the subject. The most famous Hotel Rwanda (2004) was nominated for several Academy Awards. Canada’s Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire was a reluctant eye-witness. Important is his book Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda (J’ai serré la main du diable: La faillite de l’humanité au Rwanda) (2003).

Thailand. Alas, we couldn’t find any restaurant this year where actual water-splashing goes on indoors for celebrating the arrival of spring and the New Year during the Thai Songkran water-splashing festival. We checked with those that offered this wet, lively event in the past. Actually, it’s supposed to be a gentle pouring of water on a respected statue or person as a sign of respect but it’s turned into a lively water-fight.

The Yanviriya Temple has a religious ceremony and banquet well worth attending on April 14 starting at 10am. Free. It’s at 166 Cedar Avenue near Yonge and Major Mackenzie in Richmond Hill. Tel. 905-884-8786.

Songkran 2019 in Thailand will begin on Saturday, April 13 and end on Monday, April 15.

Most temple festivals come with banquets for all. Image from Thai temple in Toronto. Copyright ©2017 Ruth Lor Malloy


Toronto. Flowers. Hydrangea Show. Opening. April 14. Daily 10am – 5pm. Free. Get out and smell the tulips and daffodils too. Free. Allan Gardens Conservatory, 19 Horticultural Avenue at Carlton and Jarvis.

Spring Selfie Station in the Palm House. Friends of Allan Gardens guides will be in the conservatory all day to answer questions. Face painting, plant a seed to take home, spring tree tour. Show continues to early in May. Www.toronto.ca/conservatories

Image from Allen Gardens Facebook site.


Toronto. Flowers. TAVGS (African Violets) Spring Show and Sale. April 14. 9am to 4pm. $2. Toronto Botanical Garden, Floral Hall, 777 Lawrence Ave East.

Presented by Toronto  African Violet and Gesneriad Society http://tavgs.ca/springshow.html


Ukraine. Adult Crafternoon: Pysanky Eggs. April 15. 2-4pm for adults. Free. Runnymede Library, 2178 Bloor Street West.

Resident pysanky enthusiast will share her knowledge of the craft. Participate in this Ukrainian tradition and make an egg to keep. All materials provided. Space is limited and registration is required. Register in person or by calling 416-393-7697. https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDMEVT391426&R=EVT391426

Evening program same day 6-8pm. For young people ages 8 and up and their caregivers. Free. Register in person or by calling 416-393-7697.

Image of Pysanky eggs from Runnymede Library website.


Ruth’s Note: 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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