Toronto’s multicultural scene continues to thrive. A few cancellations have occurred and some restaurants report fewer in-house customers due to fear of the Covid-19 virus; however, opportunities to experience the world here are still very much with us.
Even if you can’t go to any of these, you can see here how persistent our many diverse groups are in maintaining their heritage ties. And how much we can learn from other parts of the world as we face our common problems.
We have listed quite a few free events this time, but also some expensive ones. If you are collecting the different heritage countries, regions. ethnic groups, and religions found in Toronto, here are a few we haven’t mentioned before. Yes, Kven is a genuine ethnic minority in Norway and the Storytelling Festival brings at least one of its stories to our city.
Here’s a chance to find out what one Muslim comedian jokes about. Did you know we have a Bahai temple here? A Bulgarian hip hop violinist? Do you know where our maple syrup comes from? That International Women’s Day is almost upon us? Nowruz? Holi? That your kids might actually like the inter-action of storytelling? That some Ukrainian Easter eggs can be etched in white? That Switzerland’s Canadysli is still alive in Toronto?
Africa. Benin. Raul Midon and Lionel Loueke. February 29. 8pm. $40. The Royal Conservatory, 273 Bloor Street West.
Lionel Loueke who hales from Benin – is “one of a rare handful of guitarists that move effortlessly between his West African roots and modern American jazz.”
Special 20% Ticket Discount. Simply quote the discount code: RAUL20 when you call 416–408–0208, buy tickets using the button below or visit the Weston Family Box Office in person at 273 Bloor St. W., Toronto.
Africa. Cameroon. Launch of album À Tous Les Enfants de la Terre. February 29. 8-10pm. $25 includes CD. Small World Music Centre, 180 Shaw Street, Studio 101.
Our popular Njacko Backo with his new band Kalimbas at Work. Featuring special guests: Ken Whiteley and Joseph Callender.
Tickets and more information about this lively performer from: www.eventbrite.ca/e/njacko-backo-and-kalimbas-at-work-cd-launch-a-tous-lesenfants-de-la-terre-tickets-86771683441
Bahá’í March 1. The Bahá’í festival of Ayyam-i-Ha is a time of gift-giving, hospitality, and charity. “This joyful festival precedes the 19-day Bahá’í month devoted to fasting, restraint, and spiritual introspection, at the end of the Bahá’í calendar. The Baha’i New Year (Naw Ruz) is celebrated on March 21.” For more information, The Toronto Bahá’í Centre, 288 Bloor Street West. Tel. 416-944-3636. https://www.bahaitoronto.org/
Bulgaria. Svet Radoslavof concert. March 3. 7:30-9pm. $15-$25 general admission online sales, $15 seniors and students, $30 at the door. Todmorden Mills Heritage Site, 67 Pottery Road.
“Svet is often referred to by media as a musical prodigy. The Bulgarian literally conquered the social media with his modernist electro- and hip hop violin performances…He was the first Bulgarian to be invited to participate in the show America’s Got Talent. Shortly afterwards, he became popular all around the world. Svet was also a finalist in the Bulgarian version in the show – Bulgaria’s Got Talent”: https://www.facebook.com/events/188255425615945
Caribbean. Caribbean Winter Carnival. March 6. 6:30–11pm. $20. JC’s Banquet Hall, 1686 Ellesmere Road.
“The Caribbean Philanthropic Council is thrilled to host the second annual Caribbean Winter Carnival. Guests will have the opportunity to taste food inspired from the islands, shop from local vendors, support the 50/50 raffle, bid on a selection of silent auction items and much more!” https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/caribbean-winter-carnival-tickets-85255875619?aff=erelexpmlt.
First Nations: For upcoming events related to the Wet’suwet’en Nation in Toronto, British Columbia, England, the U.S. and elsewhere: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SupportWetsuweten/events/
Also: Wet’suwet’en Solidarity Events – https://www.socialjustice.org/community/?f_cat=2w
Hong Kong. Talk. Emily Mo, Director, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office. Sunday, March 1. 2pm. Free. Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Room 5150. 252 Bloor Street West (St. George subway station).
“The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) serves as Hong Kong’s diplomatic representative in Canada. Ms. Mo will talk about the latest developments in Hong Kong, including the major national initiative that Hong Kong plays a role in, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and about the long running student demonstrations.”
Sponsored by the Toronto Canada-China Friendship Association: www.TCCFA.ca.
Hong Kong. Torontonians Stand with Hong Kong. For updates of events: https://www.facebook.com/TFHKR/.
India. Holi. Festival of Colours. March 14. 12-5pm. Free entry, food and colours. St. George, University of Toronto Campus (exact location to be confirmed).
“A free event for students to come enjoy with us through traditional Indian snacks, music, colours and water balloons! We will start at noon and have the festivities continue until 5pm. Come and bring your friends to celebrate.” https://allevents.in/mobile/amp-event.php?event_id=200019196220358
This festival also takes place in many Hindu temples, community centres, beaches, and backyards in Toronto. People throw powdered colours at each other.
Ireland. Annual Christ Langan Traditional Irish Music Weekend. March 6-8. $10-$85. Passes available. Tranzac Club, 292 Brunswick Avenue.
Uilleann Piper and Flautist Louise Mulcahy; on Fiddle Sophie Lavoie and Patrick Ourceau; Sean McComisky on Accordion; Josh Dukes Flute and Guitar; Fiachra O’Regan – Uilleann Pipes; Master fiddler and session leader, David Papazian will host an open session. http://www.chrislangan.ca/
Japan. Arms Race in Architecture. Wednesday, March 4. 6:30-8pm. Free. Japan Foundation, 3/f, The Hudson’s Bay Centre, 2 Bloor Street East.
Robots versus humans “…in the worlds of computation and architectural fabrication research.” Speaker: Yusuke Obuchi, Associate Professor in Architecture at the University of Tokyo. https://jftor.org/event/yusuke-obuchi/
Middle East, Iran, India. NIYAZ – Fourth Light Project. March 7. 8pm. $15-$65. Flato Markham Theatre, 171 North Town Centre Blvd., Markham.
“The Fourth Light Project, the newest program of the highly acclaimed Persian, Middle Eastern, and Indian electroacoustic super group NIYAZ… presents a new multi-media show unlike any other. This groundbreaking and immersive experience combines live musical and sacred whirling dance performance with interactive technologies, advanced projection, and body-mapping techniques that respond to sound and movement in real time…” https://www.todocanada.ca/city/toronto/event/niyaz-fourth-light-project/
Multicultural. Egypt, France, Ghana, Kven, Lebanon, Norway, Sami, Scotland, Syria. Toronto Storytelling Festival. March 7-29. Discounted rates for The Festival Pass and Camp Pass end February 29. As of March 1st, Festival Passes go up from $100 to $120 and Camp Passes (which include a Festival Pass) go up from $330 to $360. Various venues.
“To put things into perspective, the Festival Pass gets you to shows that, individually, add up to $200 in ticket costs. Getting all of those shows for just $100 is an incredible value.
“We open with StoryFire (March 7-20), independent events highlighting creative diversity in self-produced shows across the city. Storytelling at The Tranzac Club (March 15) showcases our stellar local tellers during a full day of adult programming. Festival Week (March 21-29) features international, national, and local tellers spinning bright threads of traditional and personal stories in performance and at Storytellers’ Camp workshops.
“Our 2020 theme is Conviviality: gathering with radical hospitality and inclusivity to enrich our relationships with each other and the natural world. Creative cultural leadership is needed, now more than ever, for us to re-imagine our world and our way forward together….” “More info on the Festival Website https://torontostorytellingfestival.ca/site/
Multicultural. International Women’s Day. The largest gathering is probably the International Women’s Day March. March 8. 11am-1pm. Free. It starts in the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), Auditorium at 252 Bloor Street West.
The march begins at 1pm just outside the OISE building. There will also be a Fair at 2pm at Ryerson Student Centre, 55 Gould Street. More information: https://iwdtoronto.ca/2020/01/24/the-journey-begins/.
Multicultural. International Women’s Day Celebration. ‘On the Shoulders of Trailblazers: Celebrating Local Leaders Who Challenge the Status Quo’. Saturday, March 7. 2pm. Free. Auditorium, Noor Cultural Centre, 123 Wynford Drive.
Program hosted by Yasmin Ratansi – Member of Parliament, Don Valley East.
Multi-Faith. Environmental Arts Showcase. March 3. 5–7pm. Free. Multi-Faith Centre, Multi Purpose Room, 2/f, 569 Spadina Crescent.
“Come and celebrate different ecological perspectives through an evening showcase of student-led creativity. View artwork that explores the connection between environment and spirituality, share your perspectives with others, and learn origami with UTFOLD. There will be vegetarian and kosher food available!”
Muslim. Muslim Interrupted by Ali Hassan. March 7. 8pm. $26.25-$35. Includes same-day Museum admission. Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Drive.
“…Ali Hassan, host of CBC Radio’s Laugh Out Loud. As a father of four, Hassan is well versed in dodging difficult questions. Or just making up the answers. But when his kids start to ask about religion in general and Islam in particular, Ali begins to consider his heritage…” https://bit.ly/3adR8zt
Netherlands. Toronto Borrel. Thursday, March 5. Every first Thursday of the month from 7pm. Banknote Bar, 663 King Street West (near Bathurst).
RSVP of course not required, but always appreciated (via e-mail, or the event group on Facebook).
“Dutch gezelligheid at the monthly Toronto Dutch Treat Borrel! There’s no need to be Dutch, everyone is welcome, and if you want to practice some Dutch, this is the place to be. Show up, have a drink, meet a couple of (new) friends.”
More Toronto Borrels: http://www.dutchtreat.ca/
Persia/Iran. Tirgan. March 13-15. Various times and prices. Meridian Arts Centre, 5040 Yonge Street. Some events cancelled or changed since the following was published. See https://tirgan.ca/nowruz2020/.
Events include: art exhibitions, dance and puppet-making workshops, bazaar, food, tea house, and musical performances including Lemon Bucket Orkestra (March 13. 10:30-11:30pm. Lobby, Meridian Arts Centre.)
For more information and tickets: https://tirgan.ca/nowruz2020/event.
Persia/Iran. 21st Annual Arya Nowruz Bazaar. March 13-18. Hours of operation for Friday, Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday are from: 12-10pm; Saturday and Sunday. 10am-10pm. Le Parc Banquet & Conference Centre, 8432 Leslie Street, Thornhill, (southwest corner of Hwy 7 & Leslie). https://allevents.in/mobile/amp-event.php?event_id=200018897429324.
Switzerland. 44rd Annual Canadysli, Dinner and Dance. March 7. 6pm. $50. Black Creek Pioneer Village, 1000 Murray Ross Parkway. http://www.canadysli.com/News.html for ticket information: please phone Philippe Moser 416-434-5837 or Hannah Renner 647-231-0976.
Ruth’s note: you might remember this group if you’ve been following this blog for years about an annual parade in Yorkville and later in an industrial district in Etobicoke at 7am on a weekend morning usually the end of February. This parade was inspired by the annual Carnival of Basel, the Basel Fasnacht.
While it was nowhere near the massive scale of the Swiss festival, Toronto’s parade was still a lot of fun with traditional Swiss food for sale and Mardi Gras music. Alas, with the closure of the host restaurant in Etobicoke where it was based, the organizers have turned to a dinner dance, alas without Swiss food. They still play their lively music, and offer a scholarship to high school musicians. And you can join them. http://www.canadysli.com/
Tibet. Losar. Tibetan New Year. February 29. See our: https://www.torontomulticulturalcalendar.com/2020/01/16/897-lunar-new-year-events-january-18-february-29-in-multicultural-toronto-2020/.
For the Tibetan Canadian Cultural Centre celebrations: Please telephone 416-410-5606. It usually has prayers, performances, speeches, and food. 40 Titan Road, Etobicoke: https://www.tcccgc.org/events/losar-2020/.
Toronto. Celebrate Toronto’s 186th Anniversary. March 7. 12-8pm. Free. Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen Street West.
“90 local vendors, including our new ‘Toronto Made Market’, feast upon the diverse cuisines from Toronto-based Food Trucks, get cozy in our licensed Hot Chocolate Bar. Live performances featuring: DUET Dance Company, newchoir and Will Bowes! New this year: ‘Imagination Zone’, a custom built family interaction area, with unique activities and themed photo-op displays… ice skates can be rented on site.” https://www.facebook.com/events/986462475026888.
Toronto. Sugar Bush Maple Syrup Festivals. March 14-April 12. Dates vary by location. Check locations for details. $5.75 – $8.85 per day. Bruce Mills, Stouffville; Kortright, Woodbridge; Terracotta, Halton Hills; Island Lake, Orangeville.
“Come out and tap into spring! Enjoy demonstrations, wagon rides, activities…. and of course pancakes and real maple syrup! Special family-fun activities on weekends and March Break!” https://maplesyrupfest.com/
Ukraine. Workshop. Travlenky (decorative etched Easter eggs). March 15. 2–5pm. $45. St. Vladimir Institute, 620 Spadina Avenue. https://www.folkcamp.ca/events-1/2020/2/3/travlenky-decorative-etched-eggs
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.