Category: Festivals

The Annual Toronto Bachata Festival is here!


Toronto Bachata FestivalThis is going to be one bachata-filled weekend as the 3rd Annual Toronto Bachata Festival officially begins tonight. Bachata has been a passion of mine ever since I took up Latin dancing several years ago, and I’m glad to have a chance to attend this festival once again.

Organized by Go Dance Mambo‘s Stephanie Gurnon, this weekend will be filled with workshops, shows, dance competitions and parties in bachata, zouk and salsa dance. International instructors and performers will be in town, none that I’m more looking forward to seeing than¬†Jorjet Alcocer and Troy Anthony. I’ve been watching Jorjet’s amazing footwork in Dominican-style bachata on YouTube, and she’s definitely something to watch! She and Troy will be instructing several workshops over the weekend. I can’t wait to learn some pachanga (there’s only so much you can pick up from repeating YouTube videos), and try to improve my bachata technique. I’m also kind of interested in finally learning some zouk this year as well.

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If you’re new to the Latin dancing scene, there will be some beginner workshops in both bachata and zouk taking place at the Estonian House (near Broadview station). Passes are available at the door.

Yours Truly will also be performing a bachata routine with Steps Dance Studio at the kick-off party tonight at Acrobat Lounge. Thank goodness Monday’s a holiday, because I’m going to definitely need some R&R after all the dancing I’m going to be doing this weekend!

Let’s go to The EX!


The EX

It’s that time of year again. The Canadian National Exhibition opened last Friday, and I finally made my way down there yesterday. Great crowd (esp. because of the Canada vs. Jamaica soccer/football game at BMO Field). Of course my first stop was the Food Building, since I was starving.Wheelchair Basketball Olympic Exhibit at The EX Had a potato roti (no, I couldn’t afford the one with meat… lol), shared some fries & gravy with my friend and then we rolled out of there after we overate.

It’s a good thing the Olympic Exhibits are right outside the food building. After seeing some awesome trampoline work by some athletes, my friend and I tried wheelchair basketball which was a cool experience (check out my form :P ).

Then it was off to shop in the warehouse outlets housed in the Direct Energy Centre… got myself some nice deals at Stitches (can’t go wrong with $2.50 for a graphic T-shirt).

We missed a part of the Grand Illusion & Escape Artist show (featuring The EXKevin Ridgeway and Kristen Johnson), but we did manage to see her get submerged into a tank of water and escape from locked chains which was cool.

As the sun went down, we managed to sneak in a bit of the game by watching the giant screen just outside BMO Field (ended up in a tie game). Then it was time to call it a day.

I’ll probably be going again next week to get more Tiny Tom donuts. :D

Jump Up! It’s Caribana!


Caribana Parade 2008

Yesterday was Toronto’s popular Caribana parade, the highlight of the two-week celebration that brings a huge amount of tourism and Caribbean flavour to the city.

It was a gorgeous day on Saturday (after the morning rain let up at least), so I decided to make a last minute trip and head down to see the parade. I think I spent more time on transit than I actually did at the parade itself! Getting from any of the subways stations down to the Caribana Parade 2008Exhibition grounds was crazy. My friend and I were lucky enough to get a seat on the way down there and on the way back (makes a huge different walking to the previous stop). The bus was packed and there was a lot of traffic on the road heading down to to the parade.

Once along the Lakeshore, we were greated by wonderful sounds of steel pans, soca music and the smell of delicious Caribbean food. There were so many people, many of which were adorned in in a flag from their retrospective Caribbean nation, in costume (I guess they got all tired out from playing mas), or wearing as little as possible/dressed to impress. What sucked though that all the ‘real’ Caribbean food was on the lake-side of the parade, and there were fences sectioning off the parade from the other side that we were on: I couldn’t find a way to get the roti I was craving! :( Plus my friend had to head to work, so we walked around for a bit, took some photos, grabbed the Caribana Parade 2008most DELIOUS, sweet-tasting corn-on-the-cob ever (which was the most ‘Caribbean’ option available over hamburgers, fries, hot dogs and cotton candy) and headed home.

All in all, it was a fun day (especially the people-watching… if only we were fashion police). I was planning to go to Olympic Island today for the Island Festival, but I think I’m too late to buy tickets. :P Next year I’ll make better plans though, and make sure I get there early!

2007 Toronto International Film Festival


2007 Toronto International Film Festival PosterThe 2007 Toronto International Film Festival is underway. This used to be one of my favourite times of the year, because for seven years straight I was a volunteer with TIFF and got to see some free films, meet interesting people, and be thisclose to talented actors and actresses.

Alas, ever since I got a “real” job, I couldn’t find enough time to devote to the festival, especially since they now require all volunteers to work a minimum of four shifts. But I enjoyed it while it lasted.

Being a self-professes shop-a-holic, I obviously ran out of funds to purchase advance ticket packages. I didn’t realize that tickets were almost $20 a pop! Regardless, I am going to have to fork over some cash to buy tickets to the Midnight Madness screening of Wilson Yip’s Flash Point starring Donnie Yen (Hero, Iron Monkey).

There’s also several must-see films such as Across The Universe, Michael Clayton, Elizabeth: The Golden Age and Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution, but for me these screenings can wait several weeks until they’re publicly released in theatres for 60% of the TIFF ticket price.

Visit the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival website for a list of all films, schedules and box office info. If you don’t have the funds to watch any screenings, you could always head down to Yorkville or the Galas to catch a glimpse of your favourite celebrity. :)

I Love Greek Food


I think Krinos Taste of the Danforth is going to be one of my ‘must-attend’ events every summer. Last night was my first time there, and I didn’t realize there would be so many people craving everything Greek at 9 o’clock in the evening!

The Danforth was PACKED. I should’ve worn my runners because I got my toes stepped on a couple times, and nearly slipped on a watermelon peel with my sandals. The food was absolutely delicious. I had a chicken gyro, some pork shiskabob, stuffed vine-leaves and some super-sweet loukoumades (honey balls) for dessert. I’m tempted to reach down there again today, but I have a family BBQ to attend.

I’m sorry that I didn’t take any photos to post, but my hands were kind of full with food. :D