Don’t let the cold stop you from exploring the world in Toronto. Just be aware that some events could get cancelled. Be sure to telephone ahead if the weather is bad.
We mention several dance workshops that can keep you in shape and teach you new skills at the same time. Our First Nations events include a strawberry festival, and a support for the Wet’suwet’en nation.
Don’t forget Black community events and the serious lectures at the Munk School (which has been pampering students with great sandwiches as well. Let me know if it still does.)
Please tell us how many of the following heritage groups that you have experienced? St. Lucia? Russia? The last time I was at Maslenitsa, I got caviar sprinkled on my bliny. Have you ever heard of Talawa dance? An Interfaith event aimed at a more ecologically sustainable future.
Africa. Dance. Talawa Technique Dance Workshop. February 23. 1-4pm. $10-$20. Dancemaker Centre for Creation, Distillery District 1, 9 Trinity Street.
“Talawa is a basal technique based upon 81 African and 56 Caribbean dances.” http://www.danceimmersion.ca/workshop-series
For other African dance events: http://www.danceimmersion.ca/home
Africa. Europe. Exhibition: Spazio Disponibile by Dawit L. Petros. January 25-May 10. Free. The Power Plant, Contemporary Art Gallery, Harbourfront Centre, 231 Queens Quay West.
“Born in Eritrea, Canadian artist Dawit L. Petros explores relationships between African histories and European modernism, investigating artistic, geographical and cultural boundaries using photography and installations.” http://www.thepowerplant.org/Exhibitions/2020/Solo-Exhibition-(1).aspx
Black Arts. Kuumba. February 1–29. Many events free. Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay.
“This year, Kuumba25 examines the past through cultural expression, ritual and memorabilia, while re-envisioning identities through art, culture and education.”
Some of these events have already passed or sold out. Toronto’s longest running celebration of Black History Month, marks its 25th anniversary. For more information and the Kuumba trailer: http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/kuumba/;
Black History. African-American. France. Film. 27 Paris Noir: An Exuberant Journey Through African-American Achievements. February 27. 6:30pm–8:30pm. $10. A Different Booklist Cultural Centre, 777 Bathurst Street.
“January 1, 1918 began the spread of African-American music, art, literature around the world. Paris Noir – African Americans in the City of Light, a one-hour documentary by Blue Lion Films, tells that outstanding story of pioneering men and women who found liberté, egalité and fraternité (freedom, equality and brotherhood) abroad. For contemporary audiences the film provides a bridge to realize how their achievements affected civil rights across the world, and the value of Black entrepreneurship within Paris’ international community.” https://www.eventbrite.com/e/paris-noir-an-exuberant-journey-through-african-american-achievements-tickets-90049052139.
Black History. Black History Month at Toronto History Museums. The Story of Us: Sharing Black Torontonian Stories. February 15. 12-4pm. Pay What You Can by Donation. Scarborough Museum, 1007 Brimley Road, Scarborough.
This is part of a series that includes “slam poetry and Jamaican Patois-style storytellers, films, foods such as rice and peas with jerk sauce, Somali malawah and spice buns. Learn about the first female African American publisher in North America or follow the journey of enslaved African Americans escaping to Canada by the Underground Railroad.” https://bit.ly/31JRYRn
Cost for related events: $5-$15. Other venues: Spadina Museum, 285 Spadina Road and Mackenzie House, 82 Bond Street. For full list: https://bit.ly/385p0h5
Black Arts: Celebrate through Dance. February 20. 4-5pm. Free. No need to register. Just drop in. Toronto Public Library – Malvern District Library, 30 Sewells Road, Scarborough.
D’Lyfe duo facilitators will host inter-generational dance workshop for both young and seasoned participants.
Canada. Valentine’s Day. February 14 celebrates love and romance. It includes the giving of cards, flowers or chocolates or other such tokens of affection to special friends and family members. School children in lower grades sometimes give out Valentine’s cards but only to all classmates. Restaurants are busy.
Many other cultures celebrate a day focused on romance too. Please let us know how yours observes the day.
Caribbean. Lecture series on Critical Perspectives on Caribbean Studies. February 14, 24 and 28. Free. Various venues and times.
Presented by the Caribbean Studies Program and the Centre for Comparative Literature. No advanced registration is required.
Speakers: Silvio Torres-Saillant, a professor of English at Syracuse University, will discuss “Learning the Caribbean to Emancipate the Future.”; Myriam Chancy, director of the Humanities Institute at Scripps College, on “Representing Racial Permeability: (Dis)Ability and Racial (Dis)Affiliations.” Ramón (Arturo) Victoriano-Martinez, assistant professor of Spanish at UBC, will discuss “Black plague, virus and monstro: Haiti and Blackness in contemporary Dominican Literature.” https://www.artsci.utoronto.ca/news/black-history-month-check-out-these-events-february
Christian. Shrove Tuesday. February 25. This is the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the austerities of Lent. This Christian tradition extends from Ash Wednesday, February 26 to Easter Sunday, April 12. For the faithful, Lent is 40 to 46 days of prayers, reflection and fasting. Mardi Gras, which is French for “Fat Tuesday” or “Shrove Tuesday,” is found in several cultures and can take a very religious form, or a very frivolous form called “Carnival”.
Many Toronto churches observe Shrove Tuesday with pancake meals. According to some Web sources, it was a day for using up food that could not be eaten during Lent. Followers made pancakes from leftover eggs and butter. See Russia below.
England. Dance. Toronto English Country Dance Assembly. February 14 and 21 and most Fridays. 6:30pm-9pm. Free admission. Recurring Event. Ralph Thornton Community Centre Riverdale Auditorium, 765 Queen Street East.
Newcomers of all ages and backgrounds are welcome…. a combination of formal court dance and folk dance from the 1600s… You do not need to bring a dance partner; we switch partners every dance. All dances are taught by a dance caller, as we move in graceful patterns with a walking step to beautiful music. We dance for our own enjoyment, not as a performance or competition. http://www.tecda.ca/
England. Dance. Toronto English Country Dancers. Saturdays until May 16.8-10pm. Beginner-friendly lesson at 7.30pm. $12 per person, but additional donations appreciated. Trinity St Paul’s, 427 Bloor Street West.
All dances taught, walked through and cued during the music. No partner needed. Tel. 416-578-1031. http://torontoenglishdance.ca/
First Nations. 15th Annual Strawberry Ceremony for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Trans and Two-Spirit People. Hosted by No More Silence. February 14. 12:30-1:30pm. Toronto Police Headquarters, 40 College Street. https://www.facebook.com/events/349475845922208
First Nations. Wet’suwet’en Strong: In Defence of Land Defenders. February 20. 6-8pm. CRC at 40 Oaks, 40 Oak Street.
Speakers Series: Free event with meal, child-minding, wheelchair access and tokens. “The people of the Wet’suwet’en nation in northern British Columbia are courageously defying a supreme court injunction by blocking Coastal Gaslink (CGL) from building a pipeline through their territories…” https://www.facebook.com/events/2543433562648349/
In Toronto, demonstrations opposed to the Coastal Gaslink pipeline have been at the CP freight rail line near Dupont and Dufferin and downtown in the Financial District. See: https://www.facebook.com/events/489794145242942
Interfaith. Interfaith Festival of Creation. February 16. 1-5pm. Mary Ward Centre (Loretto College), 70 Mary Street.
All people of all ages are welcome to this Family Day Weekend event designed to highlight our way forward to a more ecologically sustainable future. This event includes displays, music, poetry, film, food, prayer and reflection and children’s activities as well as a keynote presentation by Simone Appolloni, co author of For Earth’s Sake: Towards a More Compassionate Ecology. This will be followed by ritual, music, poetry, and a presentation from Roop Sidhu (the President of Eco Sikh Canada). Also featured during the afternoon’s activities, will be Imam Vinay Khetia with a brief presentation on Islam and Creation. Throughout the program we hope to have young people offer creative presentations on the United Nations’ Earth Charter. For more information telephone 416-483-2238 or http://www.interfaithtoronto.ca/events.html.
Ireland. Irish Players. Many Young Men of Twenty by J.B. Keane. February 13-20. 8pm. $25-$27. February 13. PWYC minimum $15. Alumnae Theatre, 70 Berkeley Street.
“A classic of Irish theatre – combining drama and comedy in a story of immigration, with music. It’s 1960 and young Irish men and women are leaving the country in droves, bound for England and the hope of jobs and money to send home… The perennial conflict of emigration, the difficulty in leaving the land you call home, the seeming impossibility of staying, plays out in this blend of comedy, drama and music.” https://torontoirishplayers.com/wp/current-production
Japan. Welcome to Tokyo. Urban Change and International Spectacle from the Meiji Period to 2020. Lecture. February 19. 6:30-8pm. Free. Registration required. English. The Japan Foundation. Suite 300, Hudson’s Bay Centre, 2 Bloor Street East.
“Anticipating the arrival of tens of millions of foreign tourists attending the 2020 Olympic Games, the Tokyo municipal government announced in 2014 a long-term city plan aiming to make Tokyo the ‘world’s best city.’ With the Olympic Games a ‘springboard’ for the city’s future, the plan laid out a number of improvements designed to enhance the livability and commercial prosperity of the city…” https://jftor.org/event/tristan-grunow/
Jewish. Jamaica. Jews of Colour and Jews of Jamaica. February 20. 1pm. $5. Cultural Arts and Jewish Life Area, MNJCC, 750 Spadina Avenue (at Bloor).
Speaker Rivka Campbell is a Jew of Jamaican descent, who was born and raised in Toronto, who seeks to build community among Jews of Colour in Canada while opening dialogue about the JOC experience among the mainstream Jewish community. Rivka’s story will include a brief history of the Caribbean, focusing on Jews of Jamaica, and navigating within the Jewish community as a JOC.
Presented in partnership with A Different Booklist as part of Black History Month.
Multicultural. Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. February list of academic lectures or meetings about Uyghurs and Kazaks in China, Japan’s Foreign Policy, the Case for Open Borders, and other such topics. Free. https://munkschool.utoronto.ca/events/
Russia. Maslenitsa. Bliny. Sunday, February 23. 12pm. Adults – $30, children age below 16 – $15. Parish Hall, Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church, 23 Henry Street. Order tickets by phone 647-345-3929. Phone for reservations: 416-979-2990. http://holytrinity.ws/en/bliny-23-fevralya/
February 24 – March 1 (in Russia). Maslenitsa is celebrated as the end of the worst of winter. It is the last week before Great Lent, eight weeks before the Orthodox Easter. It is also called Butter Week, Crepe week, or Cheesefare Week and is an Eastern Slavic religious and folk holiday. Other Russian Orthodox Churches in the GTA might also be celebrating it.
Another Russian group celebrated on February 9. Sorry we didn’t know about it in time to include it, but remember it for next year: https://russianhousetoronto.com/bliny/.
St. Lucia. Raising Flag of Saint Lucia. Independence Day. February 21. Ceremony at 12 pm. Courtesy flag pole. Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street West. https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/awards-tributes/tributes/flag-raising-half-masting/flag-raising-2020/
U.S. Goin’ Back to New Orleans: Mardi Gras 2020. Music at St. Andrew’s February 21. 7pm. $20–$25. St. Andrew’s Church, 73 Simcoe Street.
“Jazz trumpeter Patrick Tevlin swings by St. Andrew’s Church to headline another high-spirited evening of traditiional New Orleans jazz. Joining the master showman at this year’s Mardi Gras will be his band, The Happy Pals, featuring pianist Jordan Klapman. Sing along to classics such as When the Saints Go Marchin’ In and Jambalaya…” https://bit.ly/2UJLrEK
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 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@. 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.