Where can we see the world in our city? Our neighbours from Argentine, Azerbaijan, Guyana and Eritrea will be raising their heritage flags at Toronto’s City Hall during this period. We have live music and documentary films from different parts of Asia, a huge celebration organized by our Buddhist temples, and fireworks and parties for Victoria Day (a unique Canadian and Scottish holiday).
We have an event dedicated to speaking Spanish, a Japanese Anime convention, and a famous Japanese artist’s exhibition recently opening permanently at our art gallery. Jewish Music Week brings us performers from Africa, Hungary, India, Israel, Uganda, and the U.S. A Mexican author talks about his works. We have an international children’s festival, and our Carassauga festival which alone covers 29 countries or regions.
You can sign up for an iftar dinner where you can learn about other religions. During Doors Open, you can actually tour mosques, synagogues and churches, or our German, Italian or Japanese cultural centres. Or what’s important for all of us, you can learn how you can help stop global warming.
Most of these events are free. No one can possibly do a fraction of these events. You really have to pick a couple of countries.
Argentine. Flag Raising of the Argentine Republic. May Revolution. May 24. 10am. Free. Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street West. https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/awards-tributes/tributes/flag-raising-half-masting/flag-raisings-2019/
Asia, China, India, Japan. Asian Heritage Month Concert: Unity in Diversity. May 21. 7-9:30pm. Free. Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Avenue.
Performers and more information: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/asian-heritage-month-concert-tickets-60893104916.
Asia, North Korea, Tibet, Japan and more. To commemorate Asian Heritage Month: Viewing Marathon of Several Documentaries from Various Countries. May 23. 1:30-4:30pm. Free. All are welcome, no registration required. Beeton Hall – Main floor, Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street.
“Also joining us will be Sid Ikeda… discussing his experiences as a young boy in Canada, when he was relocated along with his family to the Japanese internment camps in the British Columbia interior.“
Azerbaijan. Flag Raising of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Independence Day. May 26. 2pm. Free. City Hall, 100 Queen Street West. https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/awards-tributes/tributes/flag-raising-half-masting/flag-raisings-2019/
Buddhist. Vesak. A celebration of Buddha’s Birthday organized by Toronto’s Buddhist temples. May 26. 2pm parade; 3pm program. Free. Celebration Square, 300 City Centre Drive, Mississauga.
Parade, chanting ceremonies, the Bathing Buddha ritual, traditional music, martial arts and much more! For more information: https://www.facebook.com/vesakcelebration/
Canada. Victoria Day. Monday, May 20. Official holiday marking the birthdays of Queen Victoria (born May 24, 1819) and Queen Elizabeth II, the current sovereign of Canada (who was actually born on April 21, 1926).
This date signals the beginning of summer after which there is usually no danger of frost. Many Torontonians take advantage of the three-day weekend to visit “cottage country.” Offices, banks, schools, and stores are closed. Fireworks all three evenings. Very popular are the free fireworks on Monday May 20 at about 10pm at Ashbridges Bay Park (Lake Shore Blvd. E. and Coxwell Avenue). The most spectacular fireworks seem to be at Canada’s Wonderland (Sunday, May 19 but you have to pay the usual entry fee to the grounds). For more information: https://www.canadaswonderland.com/tickets-passes/daily-tickets).
For these and some of the other Fireworks in the Toronto area: https://www.orangeville.com/whatson-story/8598705-where-to-see-fireworks-victoria-day-weekend-2019-in-toronto-and-the-gta/
Eritrea. Flag Raising of the State of Eritrea. Independence Day. May 25. Ceremony at 10:15am. Free. City Hall, 100 Queen Street West. https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/awards-tributes/tributes/flag-raising-half-masting/flag-raisings-2019/
Guyana. Flag Raising of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana Independence Day. May 24. 10:30am. Mel Lastman Square – North York Civic Centre, 5100 Yonge Street. https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/awards-tributes/tributes/flag-raising-half-masting/flag-raisings-2019/
Hispanic. Spanish-English Language Exchange. May 20. 7pm. Scallywags Bar, 11 St. Clair Avenue West.
“This weekly event is for people who speak Spanish as a second language and Latinos who enjoy speaking Spanish with others. English speakers who want to improve their Spanish for business, professional or academic proposes. All are welcome!!!!”
Japan. Anime North. Anime and an opportunity to see variations of the traditional Japanese kimono. May 24-26. Weekend: $60; Friday: $35; Saturday: $45; Sunday: $35. Toronto Congress Center (650 Dixon Road), Delta Toronto Airport Hotel (formally the International Plaza) (655 Dixon Road), and Sheraton Airport Hotel (901 Dixon Road). Some additional events will be held at other locations.
Asian pop songs, costume contests, fashion shows, market, art gallery, dances, etc. Tickets, times, programs, and more information:
Japan. Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room – Let’s Survive Forever. Permanent exhibition starting May 25 subject to a timed reservation. Free admission for those 25 years and under. For other free entries, prices and hours, see: https://ago.ca/visitor-information/visit-free. Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West.
For more information: https://ago.ca/exhibitions/yayoi-kusamas-infinity-mirrored-room-lets-survive-forever .
Ruth’s note: Like many other Torontonians, I tried but could not see Kusama’s amazing exhibition when it was at the AGO in 2018. Now it’s back permanently – to be included in general admission. It is also great that the AGO has new prices which include a $35 Annual Pass, a great bargain.
Jewish, Africa, Hungary, India, Israel, Uganda, U.S. Jewish Music Week. May 26-June 2. Concert prices range from free to $150. Free tickets require registration. Different locations. https://www.jewishmusicweek.com/
Mexico. Yuri Herrera in Conversation with Alejandro Soifer. May 22. 6-7pm. Free. Toronto Reference Library, Novella Room – Bram and Bluma Appel Salon, 789 Yonge Street.
“The Mexican writer talks about his prize-winning novels, which offer a new language of violence for the US-Mexico border.” These novels include Signs Preceding the End of the World, The Transmigration of Bodies and Kingdom Cons.
Multicultural. 6th Annual Cultural Hotspot Launch. May 25. 1:30-3:30pm. Free. Artscape Weston Common, 34 King Street (at Lawrence Avenue and Weston Road).
“…celebrate arts, culture & community with an afternoon of art and performances…” RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information: https://www.toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/festivals-events/cultural-hotspot/
Multicultural. Children. International Children’s Festival. May 18-24. Single Tickets: $15; Family Packs (4-9): $12 / ticket; Groups (10+): $11.25 / ticket. Harbourfront, 235 Queens Quay West.
”Harbourfront Centre’s international children’s festival… bringing leading contemporary artists together to animate young minds. Exciting productions from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, as well as Australia, Norway, Belgium, the United States and the Republic of Korea tackle issues facing young people today. These powerful performances are the perfect opportunity for young people to explore identity, growth, belonging and transformation. Have fun with your family… circus acts, dress-up, storytelling, live concerts and more.”
For more information and free events: http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/junior/performances/
Multicultural. Carassauga. NEW Opening Night Ceremony. Friday May 24. 7:30pm-11pm. Price range – $17.50 to $30.50. (Carassauga Passport included in the purchase). Paramount Fine Foods Centre – Main Stage. (Formerly the Hershey Centre), 5500 Rose Cherry Pl., Mississauga.
“The opening ceremony will have an official parade of nations… showcasing our participating countries, followed by a flag dance, official remarks from dignitaries welcoming and officially opening the festival, sneak peek performances by some of our countries and to headline our show will be: Platinum Blonde.” https://www.carassauga.com/visitorinformation/opening-ceremonies/
Carassauga Pavilion Locations opened only on: Saturday May 25. 12pm-12am; Sunday May 26. 12pm-8pm. Advance Passport – $10.00; At Door Passport – $12.00; Kids under 12 are free. Carassauga Passports (does not include admission to opening ceremony). Passport includes unlimited entry to all 29 cultural pavilions at 12 locations over the entire Festival weekend.
Pavilions for 2019: Africa, Canada, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Ecuador, Egypt, Greece, Hawaii, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Korea, Lebanon, Macedonia, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Vietnam. Pavilions have food and souvenirs for sale and live cultural performances related to each of these countries. Free bus to outer Pavilions. https://www.carassauga.com/.
Muslim. Ramadan Community Engagement Dinners. May 23-June 1. Different times. Free. Holy Blossom Temple, Bayview Secondary School, and St. Philips Church. More information: https://toronto.interculturaldialog.com/ramadan-community-engagement-iftarfast-breaking-dinners/
“…These dinners bring together people of various faith and ethno-cultural backgrounds and serve as a means of fostering dialogue and cross-cultural awareness in our multicultural society. They address various topics related to common teachings and values of different faith traditions and cultures. Participants are encouraged to mingle and socialize with old friends and make new ones.”
South Asia. Voices of South Asia. May 23. 6–9pm. Free. Sheridan College – Hazel McCallion Campus (Creativity Commons), 4180 Duke of York Boulevard, Mississauga.
“Talks by some of the most accomplished South Asians in Canada: Ali Hassan, Actor, Comedian, and CBC Radio Host; Lata Pada, founder and artistic director of Sampradaya Dance Creations; Dr. Mariam Pirbhai, author and professor at Wilfrid Laurier University; Rahul Singh, Toronto Paramedic and founder of Global Medic. Dance performance. Refreshments provided. Cash bar.” https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/voices-of-south-asia-2019-tickets-61044209875?aff=erellivmlt
Toronto, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Germany, Italy, Japan. Doors Open. May 25 and Sunday, May 26. Free. Different hours and venues.
Opportunity to see a building with guide inside to answer questions. Among those of interest to fans of Multicultural Toronto:
Muslim buildings: Aga Khan Museum, Ismaili Centre, Taric Islamic Centre; Jewish Synagogues: Holy Blossom Temple, Congregation Knesseth Israel, First Russian Congregation – The Kiever Synagogue, and First Narayever Congregation. Cultural Centres: Goethe-Institut (Germany), Istituto Italiano di Cultura, and The Japan Foundation.
For those interested in learning about our First Nations and their architecture: Native Child and Family Services of Toronto, Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto, Seneca Newnham Campus –Odeyto Indigenous Centre, Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre, and University of Toronto – First Nations House.
For addresses and more information: https://www.toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/festivals-events/doors-open-toronto/
World. Christian. Answering the Call of the Pope’s Encyclical “Laudato Si”. May 23. 7:30 pm. Free. St. Patrick’s Church – Neumann Hall, 131 McCaul Street.
“Come and hear the facts about climate change and the carbon tax. Our earth is in crisis. As Catholics we are called to action. Come and find out what we can and must do. Join us for a talk on ‘Getting to Zero: Carbon or Taxes?’ Our presenter, Christine Tu, M.Sc…” http://tcan.ca/event/getting-zero-carbon-or-taxes
World. U.S. It’s Real, It’s Here, It’s Us: The Science of Climate Change. May 21. Doors open: 6:30pm. Lecture 7-8pm, Reception to follow. $20. Royal Ontario Museum, Signy and Cléophée Eaton Theatre, Level 1B, 100 Queen’s Park.
“… Join NASA’s Kate Marvel to explore the external factors that can change our climate, from natural events such as volcanic eruptions and solar variability to human activities… and how those changes, from rising sea levels to increases in extreme weather, impact us in a hotter world.”
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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