This current period includes Easter, one of our most important Christian events. Multicultural Toronto offers a vast variety of different ways to celebrate it. We also have a major Jewish holiday. These and the following events give opportunities for each of us to meet people from other cultural groups.
April is Asian Heritage Month in Toronto. Have you wondered what our Northern Irish neighbours think about Brexit? What’s the latest on Toronto’s Japanese cherry blossoms? How many Chinatowns does Toronto have now and how are they changing? What is Japanese anime and why does it merit a major festival here in Toronto? Why is Japanese-Canadian David Suzuki important? What’s wrong with globalization?
Will China’s Ai Weiwei himself be at our International Documentary Film Festival this year? Should I take my grandchildren to Turkey’s International Children’s Day event at City Hall? Where can we learn about and sample our First Nations’ developing food scene?
Please sample or at least learn about what the cultural diversity of Toronto has to offer. Many of the following events are free of charge.
Asia. China. India. Asian Heritage Month Opening Ceremony. Sunday, April 21. 2-6pm. Free. Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street West.
Special presentations and Launch of Asian Canadian Artists in Digital Age Workshops. Subjects include the world of film in China and its opportunities for Canada, Jews in Shanghai – Revisited and Parallels to Canada, and Kathak Dance: Sunset in Fall. Unity in Diversity Workshops in Toronto Schools. https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/asian-heritage-month-opening-ceremony-tickets-59327741873?aff=erelexpm.
Chinese-Canadian. Author Arlene Chan speaks on The Chinese in Toronto: Then and Now. April 26. 7pm. $10. Yorkminster Park Speaker Series; Yorkminster Park Church, 1585 Yonge Street.
“Arlene Chan has written seven books about the history, culture, and traditions of the Chinese in Canada… In 1894 Toronto’s Chinese population numbered 50. Today no less than seven Chinatowns serve the second-largest visible minority in the city, with a population of half a million…”
Easter. Christian. Toronto. Maundy Thursday. April 18. By donation. Different times and churches. Maudy Thursday commemorates Jesus’ last supper with his disciples and is celebrated in some Christian churches with clerics washing the feet of worshipers, a Biblical tradition.
Easter. Christian. Toronto. Good Friday. April 19. By donation. Many different church-related events. Some churches cover their statues and crucifixes. Several churches have outdoor processions. Expect sacred music. Orthodox Christians commemorate Good Friday this year on April 26.
Catholic. Italy. Good Friday Procession. April 19. Approximately 3pm. Free. St. Francis of Assisi Church, 101 Grace Street (Grace and Mansfield).
This is the most spectacular of Toronto’s Good Friday events which dramatizes the death of Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, in a street procession. Members of the church play the roles of Jesus, Roman soldiers, Pontius Pilate, Jesus’ mother, etc. The acting is so realistic that young children might be upset by the depictions. Map of route at: http://www.stfrancistoronto.org/sfoa_2/?page_id=631
Ecumenical. Good Friday Ecumenical Walk on the Danforth. April 19. 10am. Starts at Holy Name Roman Catholic Church, Danforth and Gough (west of Pape).
“…Join five churches on the Danforth as we walk from church to church following the stations of the cross… Walk begins at 10am and finishes at Eastminster United Church, at approximately 11:30am, where refreshments will be served.” http://stbarnabas-toronto.com/
Ecumenical. Good Friday. Annual Ecumenical Good Friday 40 Years Walking for Justice in hopeful persistence for the sake of the world. April 19. 2pm. By donation. Gather at Holy Trinity Church west of Eaton Centre. Www.goodfridaywalk.ca. Featured image from https://goodfridaywalkforjustice.wordpress.com/
Christian. Toronto Passion Play. Five shows. April 19, 20 and 21. 2, 4 and 7pm. $5. Indoors. This is a very popular play about the death and resurrection of Jesus. Church on the Queensway, 1536 The Queensway, Etobicoke. https://tickets.cpacentre.org/eventperformances.asp?evt=41
Easter. Christian. Toronto. Easter Sunday. April 21. By donation. Every Western Christian church celebrates the resurrection of Jesus on April 21 this year. Eastern churches honour Orthodox Easter, Pascha or Resurrection Sunday on April 28 this year.
Monday, April 22 is a holiday in Toronto with most stores, offices, schools, etc. closed.
Easter. Secular. Toronto. Easter is also a spring festival with hunts for coloured eggs for the children. Expect to see baby chicks and other symbols of nature, either real or in chocolate. Look for actors in giant bunny or chicken costumes too. Programs at Toronto Heritage Museums, the Toronto Zoo, Centreville on Toronto Island, etc.
The annual Lions Easter Parade is in the Beach on April 21. It begins at 2pm and runs for approximately two hours from Munro Park westward along Queen Street to Woodbine Avenue. Free. https://allevents.in/mobile/amp-event.php?event_id=200016898245156
First Nations. World premiere of new docu-series, Red Chef Revival. Tuesday, April 16. 6pm. Doors open. Cocktails and dinner served in the theatre. 7pm-Screening. Film + Cocktail + Dinner: $49. Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, 506 Bloor Street West.
“Taste the food you see on the screen! Admission includes a special menu of appetizer, main, dessert and cocktail created by the award-winning chefs featured in the series.” https://bit.ly/2TPJdjd
Ireland. 1916 Easter Rising Commemoration Breakfast. Sunday, April 21. 11am. $30. Quinn’s Steakhouse, Sheraton Hotel, 96 Richmond Street West.
Speaker Senator Rose Conway-Walsh, first elected to Mayo County Council in 2009, making history as the first woman councillor elected in Belmullet since the foundation of the state. Tickets and information: www.fosfc.com.
Thanks to Maureen Oleary (firstname.lastname@example.org) for telling us about this and other Irish-Canadian events.
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. The full beautiful 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 for about 800 meters into the park when the time comes. You can follow the crowds until you see many of the flowering trees down the hill from the Grenadier Restaurant. https://highparknaturecentre.com/2/cherryblossom
Copyright ©2018 Ruth Lor Malloy
Japan. International Fan Festival. April 19-21. One day tickets available at the door. Friday: $30 / Saturday: $40/ Sunday: $30 – taxes not included. Some passes already sold out. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front Street.
“Anime, music, comic, novels, gaming and more.” https://toronto.ifanfes.com/.
Japanese-Canadian. The Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie. April 23. 6:30-8pm. Free. The Japan Foundation, Suite 300, 2 Bloor Street East. Tel. 416-966-1600.
This feature documentary profiles the life and work of world-renowned Canadian scientist, educator, broadcaster and activist David Suzuki on the occasion of his last lecture in 2009 – a lecture he describes as “a distillation of my life and thoughts, my legacy, what I want to say before I die.” As Suzuki reflects on his family history—including the persecution of Japanese-Canadians during WWII—and his discovery of the power and beauty of the natural world, we are spurred to examine our own relationship to nature, scientific knowledge, and sustainability throughout modernity and beyond.” https://jftor.org/event/force-of-nature
Note: You can also book this important film yourself from the National Film Board of Canada and the Toronto Public Library.
Jewish. Passover. Begins the evening of Friday, April 19 and ends the evening of Saturday, April 27. It celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt over 3000 years ago. Usually a family celebration. For calendar with Passover concerts, seders (feasts), as well as other interesting Jewish events in Toronto, see: https://jewishtoronto.com/calendar/month/grid/2019/04/01
For more information about the traditional Passover: https://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/871715/jewish/Passover-2019-Pesach.htm.
Multicultural. Canadian International Documentary Festival. April 25-May 5. Screenings: $17.50-$19. Special Events: $17.50-$24. Food and Film Events: $35-$80. Packages. Free for Seniors (60+) and students for films that start before 5pm subject to availability). Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, 506 Bloor Street West. https://www.hotdocs.ca/
Ruth’s note: I try to avoid mentioning film festivals because Toronto has over 130 of them each year which require a whole dedicated blog or two to cover them all. So if you want to find information about film festivals in Toronto on Brazil, Iceland, Nepal, South Africa, or wherever, look into: https://indiefilmto.com/every-toronto-film-festival-2019.
I do include a few film festivals that I consider important, and of course the not–to–be missed CIDF which is offering 234 films from a large number of countries, and is free at certain times for seniors and students. In reading the schedule, I found forty-one films that I wanted to see. Alas, my first choice, a screening of Ai Weiwei’s latest work with a personal appearance by the Chinese artist, activist and film-maker himself, is already sold out (except for rush tickets maybe). Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer, Queen Lactati, and John Cleese will also be on stage. But there are plenty of important films still available – depending on your interest.
Hard copies of the festival schedule are available from Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, 506 Bloor Street West. For online World Showcase schedule which includes films from the Philippines, Indonesia, Korea, Mexico, Ethiopia, Iran, Colombia, China, South Africa, Congo, Belgium, Bosnia, Afghanistan, etc. : https://boxoffice.hotdocs.ca/websales/pages/list.aspx?epguid=2157979d-886e-46a2-ace8-e46670981e8a&cp345=World%20Showcase&page=2&
Turkey. Multicultural. International Children’s Day. April 20. 1:30-5pm. Free. Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen Street West.
“Children representing the cultural mosaic of Toronto will come together and celebrate the day with shows, folk dances and share their folk music.” Clowns, face painting, magic show, and classic fair food. Organized by the Turkish Society of Canada. For more information, Meral Altinada, tel. 416-419-5970. Website: https://www.toronto.com/events/9225434–international-children-s-day-multicultural-dance-and-art-festival/
Note: Turkey has a holiday, National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, held on April 23 each year. Children sit in the Turkish Parliament and pretend to govern the country for one day. Schools and most businesses are closed.
World. U.S. Globalization’s Wrong Turn – What’s wrong with globalization, and can it be fixed? Thursday, April 18. 6-7:30pm. Free. Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles Street West. Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy.
Speaker Dani Rodrik is the Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government: “To fix globalization, we need to understand where we took a wrong turn.” In this lecture, Professor Rodrik will explore the shift to what he calls “hyperglobalization” that took place during the 1990s and why it was based on a faulty understanding of how markets work. He will then outline an alternative perspective for a policy agenda that is more consistent with inclusive prosperity at home while preserving multilateralism abroad…” https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/globalizations-wrong-turn-whats-wrong-with-globalization-and-can-it-be-fixed-tickets-58816901937
Ruth’s Note: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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