The Lao Festival has brought a lot of interested visitors to this blog so you can expect a big crowd of people there. This week, we also have Caribbean, Creole, First Nations, Goan, Indian, Japanese and Middle Eastern festivals, opportunities to sample the diverse cultures of our city, especially the food. You can attend most of the following events for free – but you have to pay for the food and shopping, of course.
We’ve also included other events that might be of interest, worthy of your support and pride. Expect something for everybody in different parts of the city, most of them free or nearly free.
Black History. Emancipation Day Underground Freedom Train Ride. Tuesday, July 30. Assemble 10:30pm sharp at Union Station ticket booth. Ride to Sheppard Station arriving at 12:30am on the 1st of August “to commemorate the official abolition of slavery in (most of) the British colonies on August 1st, 1834.” You pay only for your TTC subway ticket.
“This year’s theme is #ResilienceDespitetheOdds will feature leaders – activists, artists, politicians – from the Black community in Canada. Among them will be literary critic and poet Dr. George Elliott Clarke, who will perform his work, as well as senator Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard who will act as Conductor. Per tradition, Itah Sadu will be the m.c. for the occasion.”
For more information and related events: https://www.facebook.com/events/a-different-booklist/7th-annual-emancipation-day-underground-freedom-train/1062867477252602/t.
Caribbean. Caribbean Carnival Parade. Saturday, August 3. 8:30am-9pm. This is a reminder of one of our biggest events of one of our biggest festivals. See our previous blog for more information or https://torontocarnival.ca/. Free to watch on Lakeshore Boulevard.
Creole. Francophone. Festival Kompa Zouk. August 2-August 5 (see website). Various times, dates and prices. David Pecaut Square, 215 King Street West.
“Celebrates French-Caribbean culture through music, dance, cuisine, visual arts and many others components which demonstrate the magnitude and diversity of Canadian heritage… This year, we will be adding new segments, including FKZO on the Sea, FKZO Teen & Adult Idol, and New Workshops for kids and family.” For more information: Tel. 514-799-2849 or http://www.fkzo.ca/events/.
England. Toronto English Country Dancing. Sunday afternoons. 4-6:30pm. Free. Live music. Karen Millyard calling and teaching. You do the dancing. High Park.
“English Country Dancing is the dance form of Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Napoleon, but new tunes and dances are being written all the time. It is done in groups, with dancers forming patterns around each other to music ranging from lively jigs and reels to dreamy and hypnotic melodies…” For details: http://www.torontoenglishdance.ca/highpark.html.
For other participatory dances by this group. http://danceweavers.ca/
England. Summertime Teas at Richmond Hill Heritage Centre. Tuesdays, July 30, August 6, August 20 and August 27. Two sittings to choose from 1pm or 2:30pm. Cost: $12.50 per person (includes tax). 19 Church St N, Richmond Hill.
“Celebrate… with a full-service tea at the Heritage Centre. Enjoy a platter of dainty sandwiches, tasty sweets with scones, cream and preserves served with the Heritage Centre private blend of tea, coffee or lemonade. Seating on the outdoor patio, weather permitting.
“For reservations please submit the online reservation request form or call 905-780-3802.” https://www.richmondhill.ca/en/find-or-learn-about/Afternoon-Tea.aspx.
Ruth’s Note: Toronto has many English high tea opportunities but this is the cheapest we’ve found (and it’s especially convenient for those of you who are in or near Richmond Hill.)
Eritrea. Eritrean Festivals. August 3-5. http://dehai.org/dehai/events/289 and https://assenna.com/press-release-yiakel-canada-wide-festival-will-be-held-in-toronto-on-saturday-august-3-2019/. Ruth’s Note: There seems to be two separate and different Eritrean Festivals, both in Toronto and aimed primarily at the Eritrean diaspora. We’ll let you figure out what each is about and where, if you are interested. Maybe someone can send me a correction.
First Nations. IRSS Legacy Celebration. Grand Entry. July 29. 9:30am; July 30. Each day begins with a sunrise ceremony at 6am. Free. Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen Street West.
“Indian Residential School Survivors. Sacred Fire, Grand Entry, Indigenous Music, Dance, Drumming and Storytelling. Workshops. Artists and Performers. Indigenous food vendors and artisans. Educational and community outreach information booths.” https://irsslegacy.com/irss-legacy-celebration/
Goa. Viva Goa 2019. July 27. 10:30am-7:30pm (or thereabouts). $15. Croatian Parish Park, Father Kamber Park, 4525 Mississauga Road, Mississauga/Brampton.
“The largest Goan Festival in North America that brings everyone together as one unified community to showcase our Goan Culture, Cuisine, Music and Arts !! Delicious food from our Goan food vendors, small businesses showcasing their products and a great line up of performers to entertain you !!”
Ruth’s Note: Goa is an Indian state on the south-western coast of India south of Mumbai. It was a province of Portugal from the 1500s for over four centuries until 1961. Its food and other cultural elements reflect this interesting multicultural background.
India. Taste of India. August 4. 12-10pm. Free. Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen Street West.
Music, dance performance, 50 plus vendors/restaurants, Kids zone, cricket Gully with simulator, etc. https://www.todocanada.ca/city/toronto/event/taste-india-food-festival/
Jamaican-Canadian. Tour of Little Jamaica. July 27. 1:30-3pm. $10 donation suggested. Assemble at Eglinton West Subway Station, 1300 Eglinton Avenue West, and ends at Randy’s Patties at 1569 Eglinton Avenue West. Tour also on August 8 at 6:30pm.
“Join us and the Ontario Black History Society for a trip along Little Jamaica. We will explore the neighbourhoods and learn about this cultural hub for Toronto’s Caribbean population which is currently undergoing one of the largest transit construction projects in the country.” https://www.heritagetoronto.org/events/little-jamaica-tour-july27.
Image of Reggae Lane Mural, Little Jamaica, Toronto, 2015. Courtesy of The STEPS Initiative from Https://www.heritagetoronto.org.
Japan. J-Town Summer Festival. July 27. 10am-6pm. 3160 Steeles Avenue East, Markham.
Middle East. Taste of the Middle East. July 27. 11am-11pm. Free. Yonge-Dundas Square.
In addition to food vendors and demonstrations, a souk/bazaar, and henna artists, the program will include performers inspired by the cultures of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Persia, etc. For more information: https://tasteofthemiddleeast.ca/entertainment-program-2019/.
Ruth’s Note: This is one of my favourite festivals because it makes me feel like I’m back in romantic Laos (where my husband proposed marriage to me). Expect lots of people and stalls selling Laotian sarongs, conical hats and traditional food, and Laotian families picnicking on the grounds. You’ll see monks in saffron robes and multicultural Toronto’s many friendly residents from Southeast Asia.
Multicultural. 16th Season of Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market. July 28, August 25th, September 29th & October 27th. 12 to 7pm throughout the market! Augusta Ave. (from Dundas to College), Baldwin St. & Kensington Ave.
“… These events are a chance to celebrate our neighbourhood, and to showcase our unique independent business community. We do not rent booths to outside vendors… Musical & cultural performances, art market, street food, etc. Rain or shine.” http://www.kensingtonmarketbia.com/pedestrian-sundays-in-kensington-market.htm.
For more information about Kensington Market and its stores of many cultures: http://www.kensington-market.ca/Default.asp?id=home&l=1.
Ruth’s Note: Last week I had occasion to look for cassava leaves for a Liberian’s friend’s recipe. The only place I found them was in a Caribbean store in Kensington Market which is very conveniently located a few stops on the Spadina Avenue streetcar line from the Spadina subway station. It’s our go-to place also for cheaper clothes, drinks in hollowed-out pineapples, empanadas, and unique ice cream flavours. Lots of nearby Asian restaurants and grocery stores too.
Multicultural. Food Truck Festival. August 2. 5-10pm; August 3. Noon-10pm. August 4. Noon-8pm. August 5. Noon-8pm. Free. North-east corner Woodbine Park, Queen Street East.
Multicultural. Walk the Six West. August 3. 12pm–2pm and 2:30–4:30pm. Free. Etienne Brule Park near Old Mill Subway Station.
“A celebration of the diverse human history of the Humber River. Discover six theatrical installations sharing Indigenous, Francophone, and Newcomer stories of the Humber River region… performances by Mixed Company Theatre, Ars Musica, Jason Wilson’s Dumach Roots, Cheri Maracle, Rrike MacNeil with Eric Cadesky and more. Register with www.Walkthesixwest.ca.
Multicultural. Summer is really here with its heat and humidity and free musical performances at outdoor stages all over town. You might not hear the music at lunch hour unless you get close to the stage, but at least the food for sale will be multicultural. At Union Summer for example, I found Thai, Mexican, Swiss, German, etc. or versions thereof.
City Hall Live is on Wednesdays to September 11. Performances 12:30-1:30pm. Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen Street West. https://www.todocanada.ca/city/toronto/event/city-hall-live-toronto/
Summer Wednesdays 5:30pm-10pm to August 28 at the Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Avenue. https://www.todocanada.ca/city/toronto/event/summer-wednesdays/
Union Summer daily until August 3; Union Station, 65 Front Street West. Dates and times at: https://torontounion.ca/tdunionsummer.
Muslim. Islamic Art Workshop: Hajj Tile. The Sacred Sanctuary: Tile-Making Workshop. July 28. 2-6pm. $55 includes cost of all materials. Noor Cultural Centre, 123 Wynford Dr, North York.
“This Hajj-inspired workshop of Islamic art is ideal for parent-child pairs or sibling pairs. Children are ideally aged 9 and older. Adults without children may also participate singly.”
Ruth’s note: While the deadline for registration is passed, we mention this opportunity because some of us want to introduce our children to the arts of different cultures. We suggest you subscribe to the newsletter of the Noor Cultural Centre to learn about such events in the future as they are announced: https://noorculturalcentre.ca/e-mail-sign-up/.
Palestine/Israel. Finding Common Ground: 2019 Heart to Heart Community Reception. July 24. 6:30pm. $25. United Steelworkers Hall,
Heart to Heart brings together in Canada “ youth leaders from Israel, both Jewish and Palestinian citizens, focused on building relationships and skills needed to build a more shared society back home. Back home after the summer we support our alumni to continue meeting one another to deepen their relationships, continue learning together and from one another, and to take joint action in their communities.” For more information: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/hashomer-hatzair-camp-shomria-canada/events/fcg_community_reception_2019
Ruth’s Note: we received this information too late to include this event in our last blog, but we feel this initiative is so important as a step towards peace in the Middle East that we mention it in the hope that our followers will be moved to help fund it or better still, read about it in time to take part.
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.
Let us know the kind of events that interest you. Please continue to send posters to ruthlormalloy@. We don’t charge to include them and we don’t accept paid advertising. Please post comments on “Leave a Reply” below.