896. Affordable Events January 14-26 in Multicultural Toronto – 2020

How do young Taiwanese find Taiwanese partners if they live outside their heritage country? A documentary and discussion this month in Toronto shows how Taiwan has tried to get their emigrants to maintain ties to the homeland. Do our other countries do the same?

Among other events in our multicultural community this month is a HD video of a recent important theatrical performance in Russia. A Ghanaian LEGO artist has an exhibit. Estonians put on an Improv comedy festival in English. Our Scots have a ball. And yes, I think Hip Hop is one of our cultures.

You are welcome to join any of these events. What other cities in the world have these opportunities?  You do have to pay at fund raisers and at flossy events that  celebrate a country’s new year with a formal dance, a once-a-year opportunity. Very special occasions. Many of these others are free including launch parties at art exhibitions and most of the events at the Toronto Public Library. 

It is not uncommon for our communities to organize several different versions of the same event like Robbie Burns Dinners. It gives the rest of us a lot of choice.

Asia. Lunar New Year. January 25. See our next blog.

Black History. Ontario Black History Month Kick Off Brunch. January 26. 11am-4pm. Tickets $135, Early Bird $125, Students $95. Beanfield Centre, CNE.

Keynote Speaker: Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director and Co-Head, Toronto International Film Festival. ” … celebrate the achievement of Black Canadians in community service and more. Enjoy a three-course meal, shopper’s market and entertainment. http://blackhistorysociety.ca/2020-bhm-kick-off-brunch

Image of Cameron Bailey from Black History Society Website


Black History Month. January 23 – month of February. Free. Toronto Public Library events. https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/search.jsp?N=4287705548&Ns=p_pub_date_sort&Nso=0

For more events in our Black community: https://byblacks.com/events.

Image of Steelpan with Suzette Vidale from the Toronto Public Library website.


China. Taiwan. Screening Event: Love Boat: Taiwan. Thursday January 23. 6-8pm. Free. Beeton Hall, Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street.

“A documentary exploring a long-running summer program that brings young people of Chinese descent from overseas to Taiwan. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring program participants, moderated by Arlene Chan, with director Valerie Soe participating via telepresence. “For many of these young people the program was an early opportunity to explore and discover their roots – and for romantic adventure.” https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDMEVT433174&R=EVT433174


Estonia. Estonian Comedy Workshop. Wednesday, January 23. 7-8:30pm. 310 Bloor Street West (off Madison).

Get laughing cramps! An Improv Theatre Workshop… will guide participants in flexing their spontaneity muscles with a fun workshop. The session is limited to 20 participants – please register via vemu@tartucollege.ca. Free. The workshop is in English peppered with Estonian.”

Estonian Comedy Festival. January 24 and 25. 7pm. Festival tickets $50 cover both nights.

Friday, actors from Estonia’s Impeerium improv theatre will combine audience suggestions with their improv acting chops for a night of laughter and spontaneity. Saturday is Standup with Andy Valvur as the headliner returning from his sold out performance in 2015… Show is in English, cash bar during reception.“

More info at estoniancomedyfestival.com.


Ghana. Exhibition. Building Black: AMORPHIA. Ekow Nimako. January 17 – June 7. Free. West Vitrines, Bill Boyle Artport, Harbourfront, 235 Queens Quay West.

With eight new artworks comprised of over 50,000 Lego® pieces, Building Black: AMORPHIA is the latest body of work from Ghanaian-Canadian visual artist Ekow Nimako. http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/visualarts/2019/building-black-amorphia/

Image from Harbourfront Centre website


Guatemala. Public Opening Party. Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa Asymmetries. January 24. 8-11pm. Admission is free, cash bar available. The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, 231 Queens Quay West.

Canadian-Guatemalan artist Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa works across media, using forms including sculpture and performance that draw on literature, Latin American history, folklore and childhood memories. Referring to traumatic or tragic events – in particular Guatemala’s civil war (1960–96), which forced Ramírez-Figueroa and his family to immigrate to Vancouver as refugees in the 1980s – his works are imbued with a playful, sometimes dream-like spirit…” http://www.thepowerplant.org/Exhibitions/2020/Solo-Exhibition.aspx

Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, Incremental Architecture, 2015. Performance for video (also exists as live performance). Filmed at Aserradero Italgua, Guatemala City. Courtesy the artist. Photo and video credit: Byron Mármol. Image from The Power Plant website.


Jewish. Learning Series: Jews and Allies United to End Anti-Semitism. January 20. 7-9pm. Non-Members pay-what-you-can at the door. Suggested donation $10. Eastminster / AUDITORIUM, 310 Danforth Avenue.

Last year we began this important project, deepening our understanding of how anti-Semitism functions, why it is surfacing now, and how to respond to it. As a community of Jews and people from other backgrounds, together we want to build our capacity to grow wise and resilient solidarity to end anti-Semitism…

This workshop series will integrate history, theory of systemic oppressions and liberation, storytelling, discussion, and the cognitive and emotional exploration of our own experiences.

It is recommended that you participate in the whole series, while you are welcome to attend individual sessions. This series is open to new participants and those continuing from last year.” https://djctoronto.com/event/jews_and_allies_united/2020-01-20/


Korea. World Music/Dance Series: The Magpie and the Iron Rat Ensemble. Jeng Yi. January 21. 12pm. Free. Canadian Opera Company, The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen Street West.

“Celebrate the upcoming Lunar New Year and the Year of the Rat with an exciting program of music, dance, and Korean drumming! Zither performer Joo Hyung Kim and traditional Korean dancer Soojung Kwon join Ensemble Jeng Yi for an hour featuring collaborations, pure percussion pieces, and the renowned ribbon hat dance.” https://www.coc.ca/plan-your-visit/free-concert-series,

Image from COC website


Korea. Lunar New Year Dance Performance by Markham Public Library. Sunday, January 26. 1-2pm. Free. Milliken Mills Library, 7600 Kennedy Road . Come and celebrate the Lunar New Year with us at the Markham Public Library.  The Carol C Dance Studio will be performing three dances. https://www.markham.ca/wps/portal/home/arts/markham-public-library/all/20200126-lunar

Image from Carol C Dance Studio Website.


Panama. 21C Music Festival. Danilo Pérez’s Global Messengers and Allison Au Quartet. January 25. 8pm. Tickets start at $21. Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor Street West.

This is part of a festival of newly minted music by the world’s foremost stars of independent musical thinking and innovation. https://r1.arts-mail.com/366S-Z5QG-AE6VTQHB80/cr.aspx

Panamanian jazz pianist and composer, Danilo Pérez, leads musicians from Palestine, Greece, Jordan, and Panama. Juno Award-winning saxophonist Au opens the show with special guest Laila Biali. The Royal Conservatory has commissioned both Pérez and Au to write new pieces, which will premiere at this concert.” https://r1.arts-mail.com/366S-Z5QG-AE6VTQHB80/cr.aspx

Image from https://r1.arts-mail.com/366S-Z5QG-AE6VTQHB80/cr.aspx


Philippines. Celebrate the Infant Jesus of Prague (Santo Nino) – Filipino Feast Day. January 25. 12-4pm. St. Patrick’s Parish, 141 McCaul Street.

Traditional Philippine Feast Day celebration of Mass, Blessing of Statues and the Children.  Lunch to follow in the Parish Hall and the Novena Prayer for the Infant Jesus of Prague.  Dance Procession with your Statue will conclude the day.  For more information, contact Alannah 647-528-2933.” https://bit.ly/35xTFBI

Copyright ©2015 Ruth Lor Malloy


Russia. Stage Russia Series. Uncle Vanya. January 14. 7:30pm. $28.50. Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, 10268 Yonge Street.

HQ Quality screening of live Russian production at Vakhtangov State Academic Theatre, one of Russia’s most renowned theatres. https://sa1.seatadvisor.com/sabo/servlets/TicketRequest?eventId=1277396&presenter=RICHMONDHILL&venue=&event=&tck=true


Scotland. Robert Burns Dinner. January 24. 6:30-11pm. $130. University Club of Toronto, 380 University Avenue.

The event follows the time-honoured format with the traditional “Address to A Haggis”, Toasts to the Lassies and Laddies and the toast to “The Immortal Memory” given by Ken McGoogan, an award-winning journalist and author…

The Burns Dinner has often been a “sell out”. To avoid disappointment, don’t delay in making your application for tickets.” http://www.standrews-society.ca/event/annual-burns-supper/

For less expensive Burns events, see Google. Included are:

Burns Supper. January 23. https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/robbie-burns-supper-at-the-chefs-house-thur-23rd-jan-2020-tickets-86230005267.

East York Kiwanis Robbie Burns Supper. January 25. https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/east-york-kiwanis-robbie-burns-supper-2020-tickets-80094413547.

Robbie Burns supper and dance at Mount Dennis Legion. January 25. https://www.toronto.com/events/6216090--robbie-burns-supper-and-dance/ 

Image of Robbie Burns from St. Andrews Society website.


Tamil. Thai Pongal. Tamil New Year. January 17. 5:30-8:30pm. Free admission. Bill Hogarth High School, 100 Donald Sim Avenue, Markham.



Tamil. Tamilology Festival. January 25. 8:30-10pm. Cost unknown. Markham Convention Centre, 2901 Markham Road. https://z-m-www.facebook.com/ncctonline/photos/gm.1175648535972730/2418943008234634/?type=3&theater


U.S. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. January 20. Memorial day and federal holiday for the American civil rights leader in the United States. Programs in some Toronto schools. Celebrated annually on the third Monday of January.


Uyghur. IDRF Uyghur Refugees Awareness Dinner. January 17. 6-9pm. $20-$35. Woodbine Banquet and Convention Centre, 30 Vice Regent Blvd. 

Talks by three East Turkestan activists who have been advocating for the rights of Uyghurs since the late 80s: Rushan Abbas, founder of the Campaign for Uyghurs; Sheikh Albikim Idris, the Inspector General of the World Uyghur Congress; and Mehmet Tohti, Uyghur Refugee Relief Fund.

…Since 2016, it is estimated that over a million Uyghurs have been detained in government camps for “re-education”, where they are tortured, abused and forced to adhere to unethical practices by the Chinese government. Up to one in 12 Muslim residents languish in political re-education camps, according to the United Nations. Many have been confined for seemingly inoffensive activities.

As a result of this unprecedented crackdown, thousands of Uyghurs have fled from their home… to Turkey. Proceeds from these events will be directed to providing food and clothing to Uyghur families during the cold winter months.”


Youth.  Unity Charity Hip Hop Party.  January 23. 8pm-January 24. 12am. General admission. $25-$70. The Concert Hall, 888 Yonge Street. 

"Multi-disciplinary Hip Hop arts event in support of weekly youth programs that foster resilience, leadership, and connection to community... In addition to some great silent auction items up for grabs (including two tickets to anywhere WestJet flies!!), fresh looks from our Unity Shop, and the fun and uplifting vibes that come with all Unity events, the night will also feature... Live Performances by: Wali Shah, Shopé, DJ Ty Munro, Fresh Kils and Iced Misto."  https://www.thespec.com/events/9749862--unity-charity-hip-hop-party/. 


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 and an opportunity to meet people from other cultures. If you go to any of our mentioned events, please send us corrections or an account of your impressions. 

Let us know the kind of events that interest you. Please continue to send posters to ruthlormalloy@gmail.com. We don’t charge to include them and we don’t accept paid advertising. We are privately financed. Please post comments on “Leave a Reply” below and subscribe to receive our newsletters that announce new blogs. See above right.




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