How to become part of the Irish Community in Toronto

You’re new to the city, house and job sorted but now you want to join the Toronto Irish community, make new friends and develop a sense of self in Toronto, But how do you get started?  After four years of living in Toronto, I’m still finding out about a broad range of groups with whom you can get involved. This weekend I had the pleasure of going to The Irish Person of the year Celebration, and I got to meet immigrants who came in the 50’s/60’s 80’s as well the newer immigrants, chatting to these people allowed me to see how successful you can be in Toronto and hearing how they kept their links to home was inspiring. Hence this list which attempts to highlight organisations that are out there. Obviously I’ll miss a few, so If you want to add any please let me know….

You can tune into the local Irish Radio programmes (Yip they exist!) to hear about local events in the Irish community and about groups and organisations

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There we are now…on the wireless 🙂

Saturday Mornings with Ceol agus Craic AKA Mark and Ken, broadcast live at 11AM EST on AM 1430 every Saturday morning.

Sunday Mornings with Mr Hugho Straney, Hugho brings us songs from home every Sunday   10am-11 am on AM 1540.

Toronto GAA: This is probably the most obvious way to get involved in the Irish Community, there are teams all over the city and they are always looking for new members. The GAA recruits members from all ability levels and even if you don’t get involved, its great craic to head out the the park on a Sunday just to cheer the on You can find out more here

Darkness into Light Toronto: The Toronto DIL will take place once again from the Jack DIL75Layton Ferry Docks to Ireland Park and back again on May 6th beginning at 5a.m.Our ultimate goal is to get 1,000 people walking this year. The demographic for this extraordinary event is quite special in that it truly gathers people of all ages, plenty of new arrivals as well as the more established Irish in the city. Taking part in this family orientated event is the first step in eradicating the stigma around suicide and mental health because for the children who take part, the conversation has already begun. In Toronto we work with the local charity Progress Place who work tirelessly to help people – free of charge – with mental health issues. In addition to the annual walk, Toronto DIL holds events throughout the year from table quizzes to skate nights, keep and eye on Facebook to learn of upcoming events

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Toronto Irish Players: The Toronto Irish Players (TIP) was founded by a group of new

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Some of the TIP gang. Photo from FB

Irish immigrants in 1975 and is Toronto’s only Irish community theatre group.  Over the last 40 years, they have produced more than 80 plays, connecting Toronto’s Irish community and sharing Irish heritage with Toronto audiences by presenting classic and modern works from Irish playwrights. TIP has strives to bring the numerous sides of Irish theatre to Toronto. For forty years TIP has seen friendships forged and tested, bonds created, immigration and emigration, and more than one family has multiple generations become part of TIP, while they welcome new members every year. If you wan to learn more about TIP, have a look at their website 

The Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce: The Chamber’s community involvement includes: a monetary contribution to Ireland Park, support for many community organisations, and assistance for new immigrants through networking opportunities. They are connected to a number of groups and associations and serve as our membership’s voice in the business community in Canada and Ireland. The ICCCTO provide networking events that are ideal for business and socialising. If you are a new immigrant or have been here for years they can provide the venue for this.

Ireland fund of Canada:-The Ireland Fund of Canada, is part of the largest worldwide network of people of Irish ancestry and friends of Ireland, and is dedicated to raising funds to support programs of peace and reconciliation, arts and culture, education and community development, in all of Ireland and in Canada. The Canadian Ireland fund was established in 1978 by Hilary Weston. The Ireland Funds worldwide have raised over $500 million dollars to fund projects in Ireland and in the countries where the funds were raised. Here in Canada, the Ireland Fund over the past 10 years has contributed around $2.5 million to projects in Ireland and in Canada.  Young Ireland fund of Canada hold networking events for young professionals in the city. You can find out more about IFC young Leaders or by emailing jnoonan@irelandfunds.org

The Irish Cultural Society of Toronto: Aims to stimulate interest in, promote, sponsor and foster Irish culture in all its forms, be it historic, linguistic, music, drama, dance, sport or other forms of artistic entertaining or educational expression. They promote mutual understanding and goodwill among the members of the Society. They also sponsor  and conduct activities the Society deems advisable to maintain, develop, promote and foster the Irish cultural heritage in Canada.

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Louise with her Rose of Tralee sponsors, The Irish Embassy.

The ICST are partnered with the Rose of Tralee and if you are interested in representing Toronto in the upcoming Rose of Tralee you can find information here.

CraicTo had a rose last year, Louise. She said of the experience “Great experience – 10/10. Everyone should do it if they can. Not only did I have a great time but I know my friends and family had a lot of fun too. To be honest I was not looking forward to the competitive aspect of the contest or meeting the other contestants. But I was happily surprised to find out my preconceived notions were incorrect. All the contestants were sincerely nice and friendly. There was little to no competitive nature amongst us, after the first meeting. Throughout the contest I met some really interesting people and made some genuine friends along the way. I think it’s a great way to get involved with the Irish community here in Toronto and to make some friends!”

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Irish design house interior. Image from Facebook

Irish Design House: I know technically not an organisation but a great way to meet some Irish as well as develop a new hobby. Sinéad at the Irish design house has a sewing school The Green Seam that teaches you everything you need to know about sewing and pattern making. Based in a quaint sewing studio in Toronto’s east end in the beautiful Riverside neighbourhood where you can receive one-on-one attention in sewing, pattern making, pattern cutting and all the skills needed to design and manufacture your own garment. Classes can cater for beginners and start with the very basics, and also for those with experience who may need assistance with a particular project.

You can find out more here or email hi@thegreenseam.com.

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DIL at St Patricks day parade

St Patricks day Society: The St. Patrick’s Parade Society are the custodians of a tradition to
celebrate Ireland’s history, culture and heritage through entertainment. They are a not for profit event staging organization responsible for The Grand Marshal Ball and The St Patrick’s Day Parade. They call for volunteers to join in the parade every year, contact them 

If you are an organisation or if you know of any that I’ve missed, Please get in touch. S xx

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Toronto Library….More than just books!

Did you know that you can get more than just books at Toronto Library, well if you did then proceed with your day, if not read on!

Whilst discussing a recent library trip with Barbara she informed me that with your trusty library card you can access Lynda.com

Through Lynda.com, you can access over 3,500 video tutorial courses by experts on web design, software development, photography, business skills, home and small office, project management, 3D + Animation, graphic design audio, music, video editing and more. This simply requires the creation of a personal account which will allow you to track your progress through your tutorials.

Access to Lynda is great for anyone who wants to make their resume stand out, or if you just want to get a new hobby!

You can also get FREE passes to some amazing places in the city by requesting a Museum + Arts Pass. Places like the Toronto Zoo, AGO, ROM are on list of places you can visit. Different places are available depending on the library branch you visit and quantities are limited, but its def worth checking out.

If you have any other advice for us or for newbies to the city, let us know. Sharing is Caring. Sinéad x

Ireland is……

“Ireland is…”, a collaborative poem performed by people in Ireland and around the world in aid of Focus Ireland.

On December 5th, Members of a popular Irish Facebook forum (omgwaca) were asked to submit lines about what Ireland means to them, and the most popular submissions were collated into a poem by Aidan Strangeman. Other members (and some of the original writers) from around the world, and in Ireland, sent videos of themselves saying selected lines.

Written by the members of OMGWACA
Collated by Aidan Strangeman
Video produced by Bob Murphy
Music by Hugh Rodgers
“Ireland Is…”
This is a poem about how important home is to all of us. It is disgraceful that so many will be without a home this Christmas. We would ask you to give as generously as you can to this campaign at http://www.tinyurl.com/irelandis, and if you aren’t in a position to donate, please share the video so it can be seen by people who are.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this project.

Don’t forget Donate here 

As if I’m not homesick enough at this time of year! 

P.s If your not a member of OMGWACA join, pure craic! SXx

An Post….what a bunch of legends!

Can we take a moment to appreciate An Post, pin particular to appreciate Celcius who managed to deliver this card to Nicole Lally! Her friend Amanda sent her a Christmas card with the following written on the front:

Ya know yer wan, her mother’s Hogan from Castleblakeney, but the daughter’s an ex townie. Grew up in Athlone and moved to Ballymacward (between Ballinasloe and Galway) when she got married. Lives next door to her in-laws now, she has a rake of children and 7 dogs and 4 cats and about 30 hens + ducks and some rabbits and fish & I think she has a hamster as well. She has a shrine to the virgin mary in the left corner of her garden.

Can you give this to her please? Xx

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The inside of the card reads “…sure aren’t An Post great”… indeed they are . Legends

Tempted to try this myself, S xx

 

From The Coolest to Most Hipster…

Calling all Donegal folk here in Canada…

Nat Geo Traveller recently came out with The Cool List: 17 for 2017, which ranked countries based on “culture capitals, hipster hotspots, wild escapes and places generally keeping it cool in 2017.”

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Deadly print of the world’s coolest place by Gary Reddin

 

 

Donegal came in 1st place!!Described as “a weather-nibbled coast spotted with sea stacks, Blue Flag beaches and offshore islands, Donegal is a land that feels undiscovered.” Star Wars: Episode VIII  was recently filmed on the Inishowen Peninsula. This area of Ireland is also expecting 2017 to be a big year, reasons to visit, include surfing beaches in Magheraroarty and Ballyhiernan Bay to Horn Head — a driving, walking or cycling loop that squeezes the 1,600-mile Wild Atlantic Way into a 4.5-mile nutshell.

Canada landed in the 7th spot overall. Heres what they had to say about Canada-  2017 is going to be a hugely symbolic year for Canada — it’s the 150th anniversary of the Confederation, with celebrations including a tall ships fleet sailing along the coast in July, and summer-long events in Charlottetown, where the movement started. This is a year of openings as well as commemoration — from the zip-line along the gorge edge at Niagara Falls to a ‘seafood trail’ launching in Nova Scotia, and a new UNESCO World Heritage Site in Labrador, Mistaken Point. Add in free national park entry all year, Montréal’s 375th anniversary and the Invictus Games taking place in Toronto in September and it’s clear there’s never been a better time to be here.

 

The Cool List: 17 for 2017

  1. Donegal
  2. Santiago
  3. Helsinki
  4. Greenland
  5. Peru
  6. Aarhus
  7. Canada
  8. Portland, Oregon
  9. India
  10. South Africa
  11. Iran
  12. New Zealand
  13. Seoul
  14. Sudan
  15. Dusseldorf
  16. Sicily
  17. USA

Donegal folk in Canada you must be feeling pretty cool right now. S xx

Kanpai! TFC…..Thats Taiwanese Fried Chicken

The best Fried Chicken, I’ve ever tasted.img_7671

 

Located on Parliament and Carlton, Kanpai is the only Taiwanese fried chicken place in the city. Every day every table in the place is occupied. It’s a casual setting that attracts families early in the evening but you can also take advantage of the late night kitchen and unique bar program.

We went on Saturday and we certainly weren’t disappointed. The menu is rich with old-school rap references, and contains a collection of small plates primarily priced between $4 and $8 that are influenced by Japanese, Korean, Dutch, and even Hakka cuisines.  We tried a wide selection of their dishes, alongside the chicken obviously.   The Taiwanese fried chicken,  TFC, is crispy skinned poultry which is seriously moist. You can have it by the bucket ($19) or as a three piece order ($8). It comes topped with chilli peppers, cilantro, and scallions alongside a little pot of sweet chilli-spiked sauce. The sides we had (with the promise to share) were so good that we reluctantly passed the around. I had the “Ain’t nothing but a green bean baby” and they were soooo good!

Dinner and drinks for 2 was around $60
Beers are $6 and only $4 a Jameson, sure I thought Gavin was gona stay the night!

Thanks to Gavin, Grainne, Babs and Kyle for the pics

If you do pop in let us know what you think. S xx