Toronto Through My Lens

Category: Street Fairs (Page 1 of 2)

Toronto Chinatown Festival 2023

On August 19 and 20 the Toronto Chinatown Business Improvement Area hosted its 23rd annual Toronto Chinatown Festival on Spadina Avenue, running from Sullivan Street to College Street.

This year the Festival’s theme was Flaming Phoenix: Rebirth & Uprising, signifying the rebirth of our city after COVID-19. In Chinese mythology, the Phoenix is an immortal bird whose rare appearance is said to be an omen foretelling harmony at the ascent to the throne of a new emperor – the same might be applied to our city as we try to put COVID behind us.

Falun Dafa Parade

Making my way up Spadina Avenue to the Festival, I encountered a parade from the Falun Dafa practitioners. They were supporting the 417 million Chinese people who have withdrawn from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its youth organizations. The parade began at Clarence Park and wound through the streets of Chinatown. As far as I know, this parade was not connected with the Chinatown Festival in any way.

Toronto Chinatown Festival

Moving further north up Spadina Avenue I found the actual Festival. This year’s Festival seemed really scaled back to me and there didn’t seem to be that much of interest to photograph; regardless I found:

Lots of street food…

Plenty of jewellery and clothing vendors…

Magicians…

Singers…

And various street stuff…

Moving out of the Festival area and further down Spadina Avenue, I encountered Saturday afternoon market shoppers:

And that was about it!

Festival of South Asia 2023

This past weekend saw the two-day Festival of South Asia take over Gerrard Street East from Glenside Avenue to Coxwell Avenue.

The main focus of the Festival of South Asia is to celebrate the diversity of South Asian culture. The festival is now in its 21st year, and is one of the largest festivals of its kind in North America. It’s a multi-cultural experience of tastes, sounds and sights of South Asia.

Throughout the day there were stage performances, a kids zone, an arts and culture market, participatory workshops and activities, and roaming entertainers along Gerrard Street. Unfortunately the sun was particularly cruel last Sunday so I didn’t stay quite as long as I would have liked.

Dance exhibition
Food stalls
Vendors
Colourful clothes for sale in the market
Marketplace
Pakora, Samosas and more
Some of the Kids Zone
Jewellery Vendor
Dance exhibition
Dance exhibition
Mural on Gerrard Street East
Henna application
Food truck
Grilled food on Gerrard Street East

Toronto Pride 2023

Well, the streets have been swept, the tourists have (mostly) gone and the village has settled back down to its everyday rhythm. Toronto Pride is over for another year but it left in its wake a lot of memories. For today’s TOcityscapes, I give you a small sampling of this past weekend’s mayhem (each image is clickable for a larger view).

There were…

Merchants & Vendors…

Dancing In The Street…

Pride Pups…

Lots of Love, Colour & Messages…

Random Oddities & Mayhem…

If I could put a thought bubble above this woman, it would say: “What the f…?!” I thought the same when I first saw this tree taking a cigarette break.

And Of Course, Drag Queens!…

– That’s about it… see you next year! –

Toronto Ukrainian Festival 2022

The Toronto Ukrainian Festival is North America’s largest festival of its kind. It’s a colourful, weekend-long event celebrating the Ukrainian culture, its people, music and dances. Every year the Festival attracts audiences well in excess of 500,000 from across Canada, the U.S. and abroad.

The Festival stretched from Runnymede Road to Jane Street this year. It was a sunny and hot day when I went to the festival yesterday; these shots are just a very small sampling of what I saw.

Lechowia Dancers

With its unique flair and style, Toronto’s award winning Lechowia Polish Canadian Folk Dance Company recreates for the stage the rich artistry of Polish folk culture while delighting its audiences at home and abroad! Founded in 1977 as an amateur dance organization, Lechowia (pronounced le-hovya) takes its name from Lech, a prominent Polish legendary figure credited for establishing the Polish nation. Today, the Company comprises over 200 dancers, singers and musicians ranging from children to adults. Lechowia’s varied repertoire includes the stately court dances, the Mazur and the Polonaise made popular by Frederic Chopin; the high-spirited Polka, the colourful Krakowiak, the fiery Oberek, the dazzling Goralski mountaineer’s dance as well as the beautiful songs of Silesia.


Cresendo Chamber Choir

The Crescendo chamber choir was created in 2020 under the direction of Pavlo Fondera. The choir has an interesting, complex and diverse repertoire. During its existence, the group took part in many charity concerts in support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and for humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The members of the group are talented young people from Toronto who enthusiastically and passionately perform and popularize Ukrainian choral and pop music in Canada.


Tryzub Ukrainian Dance Ensemble

A prominent figure in Canada’s fabric of Ukrainian Dance groups, the Tryzub Ukrainian Dance Ensemble is a vibrant group of semi-professional dancers from Calgary, Alberta. Tryzub is a consistent feature artist of the Calgary Stampede Parade and Calgary’s Globalfest. Tryzub has performed across Canada, the USA, Mexico, Panama, Columbia,Australia, Turkey, and the beloved Ukraine.


Bandura Beyond Borders

Bandura Beyond Borders is a Toronto-based instrumental bandura quartet made up of close friends Borys Ostapienko, Orest Chornomaz, Oleksander Petlura and Ivan Dusanowskyj. Together, they approach the bandura from a new, fresh perspective. In traditional ensembles, the bandura is used for accompanying singing, but Bandura Beyond Borders demonstrates that the bandura can have a voice of its own. The group’s skillful playing showcases the bandura as a versatile and expressive instrument that can be used to play different styles of music, including classical, adaptations of popular music, and inventive arrangements of traditional Ukrainian songs. Bandura Beyond Borders has entertained audiences from New York City to Sault Ste Marie. The quartet also share their passion for the bandura and inspire people of all ages to learn through the Toronto Bandura School, which they founded together in 2015.


Barvinok Hamilton Ukrainian Dance Ensemble

In this year’s Festival, the Barvinok Hamilton Ukrainian Dance Ensemble presented traditional costumes worn by Ukrainian people. The Ensemble has been in existence for over 60 years and is home to over 30 students between the ages of 3 and 25. Based in the Holy Spirit Church Hall in Hamilton, Ontario, and under the direction of Nadine Usyk and Taras Gulka, dancers perform year-round at various church celebrations, festivals, concerts, and celebrations within the Greater Toronto Area, as well as the Hamilton & Niagara regions. Barvinok performed on the televised broadcast revival of the “Tiny Talent Time” show, and in front of appreciative audiences at the Bloor West Village Toronto Ukrainian Festival, the Capital Ukrainian Festival in Ottawa, and the St. Josaphat’s Ukrainian Festival in Rochester, where it made its US debut.


Natalya Gennadi

Ukrainian Canadian soprano Natalya Gennadi is establishing her operatic career in North America in a wide range of repertoire. Natalya caused a sensation when she stepped in at short notice in her debut in the leading role of Oksana G, Tapestry Opera’s harrowing tale about human trafficking. Her critically acclaimed performance of this world premiere was nominated for the prestigious Dora Mavor Award. Natalya’s 2022 engagements include solo collaborations with Music and Beyond Festival, Ottawa, Gryphon Trio, Rose Orchestra, Brampton, Counterpoint Orchestra, Toronto Concert Orchestra and Tapestry Opera. Recent opera roles include Violetta in La Traviata, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Mimi in La Bohème. During the pandemic Ms. Gennadi produced a digital Ukrainian Art Song Mini Series and became a 2021 recipient of the prestigious REACH Development Grant.


The Vendors


The Games


The Food!


The Crowd


Stuff For The Kids

Market Street

For the summer of 2022, Market Street (parallel street to St. Lawrence Market), is pedestrian-only. There are comfortable chairs and plenty of patios to sit in, and live entertainment happens over the lunchtime hours.

Bijoux Mulali Performs
Bijoux is a 21-year-old Nigerian-Congolese singer-songwriter based in Ontario. At the age of 12 Bijoux landed her first gig as a performer for a conference. Since then, she has gone on to sing at sport games, festivals, concerts, and production shows, including performing for a crowd of over 9000 in 2019 and 2020. In 2021, Bijoux released her single “Joker” and has gone on to not only perform at El Mocambo stage but was also invited to attend the 2022 Junos awards show. Throughout the years, Bijoux has been honoured with musical awards like Outstanding Singer Of The Year and People’s Choice award at music festivals. She has also been recognized for her musical achievement by the Mayor of Moncton and the former Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor. She is scheduled to release an EP and more musical projects in 2022.

On To Front Street East

Under Construction: the new St. Lawrence North Market
Jarvis and Front Streets
Watering The Plants
Front Street East, between Church and Jarvis Streets
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