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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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

Copacabana Brazilian Steak house

Copacabana Brazilian Steak House; If you are a meat lover – you have to go!

The restaurant is all you can eat, for a fixed price of $37 on week nights and $45 on the weekend. Whilst you dine, waiters will circulate to each table offering a choice of 18 different skewered meats to be carved table-side in unlimited quantities.

Copacabana boasts two locations in the city; Adelaide St. West and Yonge & Eg. There are also two outside the city, Niagara and Vaughan, so there’s no excuse not to go!

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My first time here was to celebrate a birthday. Ourselves and another couple went to the new location on Adelaide Street, on a Friday evening. Its super chic and funky exterior is lit up with neon lights, you would be forgiven for mistaking it for a nightclub.

 *FYI if you go on your actual birthday in a group of four or more you get to eat for free – who doesn’t love free stuff!!!

Our server kindly told us to go and help ourselves to the salad bar and then they would come over with the meat.

DON’T FILL UP ON THE SALAD! You have been warned!

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With 18 different cuts of meat to try, you will soon be full. It is mainly red meat with a small amount of chicken also on offer, If you aren’t big into red meat then this might not be the place for you. But if you do like your meat then you are in for a treat. The best I have tasted since I have been here in the city (1 year and 7 months 🙂 )

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Friday and Saturday nights, is the time to go, talk about dinner and a show!! During our dinner we were treated to two shows, including salsa dancers and an aerial artist hanging from the ceiling above. Along with this they had a DJ playing some great tunes whilst we ate our dinner.

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Definitely somewhere I can’t wait to go back to – it is in my top three of Toronto. They have recently launched their new brunch menu available on Sundays from 10:30am-2pm.

Find out more information here http://www.thecopa.ca

Let us know what you think 

L x

Darkness into Light

dilEach May, thousands of people at locations across Ireland and in the last couple of years across the world, gather to walk or run a 5km route together as dawn breaks. This event is organised by Pieta House and is their largest fundraising and awareness event known as Darkness into Light.  

Darkness into Light represents hope and solidarity, it is symbolic of the work of Pieta House – bringing people from darkness into the light.To date over 80,000 people have taken part in DIL and this year Pieta House in partnership with Young Ones, are taking this special event to Canada with walks in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. Which gives us expats the opportunity to get involved. This event is more than a fundraising activity, and in the light of it spreading across the globe they are inviting us to join as a community to come together and walk from Darkness into Light.

The Toronto Walk will take place on Saturday May 7th at 5.00 a.m. You can view The route here.

Who are Pieta House?                                                                                                                                                             Pieta House, is a suicide and self-harm crisis centre, recognised in Ireland to be one of the most important charities in the country. The Pieta House centres – of which there are 9 in Ireland, provide crisis intervention and counselling, free of charge to those who need it most. Pieta house has helped 14,000 people since its inception in 2006 and the demand is still growing.

Pieta House now has a staff of 170 and continues to grow. In 2014 Pieta House took steps to develop the charity into an international organisation. The charity’s vision is growing and helping more and more people each year, a huge task, which is almost entirely achieved through fundraising and generous donations.

Who are Young Ones?

Young Ones is a Canadian based charitable organization that works to break down the economic and social barriers faced by youth experiencing mental health challenges. Their mission is to assist youth in realizing better mental health through the provision of support, treatment and education from a harm reduction perspective. In partnership with our team of mental health professionals, we provide timely access to treatment and support for youth ages 13 to 24, who are in financial need and struggling with mental health challenges, addictions or concurrent disorders. We are dedicated to raising awareness around mental health challenges and offer anti-stigma education programs facilitated by consumer-survivors.

You can register here

If your still not inspired to get involved, watch this video

So Get involved, CraicTo will be there and would love a few more walking buddies 🙂

Thanks for the info Diane. S xx

A New Dining Experience: Signs Restaurant.

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A restaurant staffed by all deaf Servers and bar staff, What a unique idea?! Signs located at Yonge and Wellesley, the new bar and restaurant — “where noise meets silence” — asks customers to order food and drink using sign language with assistance from a “cheat book” that illustrates how to sign menu items.

I had no idea what to expect upon entering the restaurant, but I know the experience I had surpassed all those expectations.

On entering Signs you are greeted and seated by the hostess, who explains Sign etiquette, the menus, and the handy Sign Cheat book. You are given time then, I presume to study up before your server is introduced. Our Server; Gaitrie was by far the most patient and helpful server, I have ever met. Whilst I feebly tried to order my drinks she interpreted my gestures, all while giggling and encouraging me to continue.

This place is so much fun and at no point do you feel embarrassed by your signing inability. Also no need to worry about order mix ups, and mispronounced/misheard utterances, Your order is confirmed at the table with pictures. Perfect for us with our Irish lilt!

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Now to the food, The menu has a wide selection of foods from traditional Canadian fare to more international dishes. I had Pri Pri Chicken and my Pal had Potato Crushed Salmon, both delicious. Sometimes with restaurants with a unique concept  I worry that the concept is the main selling point, but the food at Signs is amazing, and the wine list is pretty good too!

I would totally recommend Signs Restaurant as a fun and educational dining experience.

Have you been? Whats you thoughts?Sxx

Boyfriend Brooch….Yes Please!

Quirky, unique, fabulous….All the words I would use to describe a Boyfriend Brooch. I  stumbled across this talented lady one lazy Sunday whilst browsing Instagram and she has become my new obsession. Normally I like to keep finds like these to myself, but this I HAD to share….

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Hannah Browne and her hand made felt pins, depicting famous faces including the Beatles, The Fresh Prince, Ron Burgundy and also ‘custom’ boyfriends, encourage people to wear their hearts on their chest or hats or bags.

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I had to get  a Kanye brooch, but I don’t think I’ll stop there, I’m already thinking that my real life ginger could be immortalized in brooch form, she even does couple brooches, but I’m thinking that might be a bit much for my man friend.

boyfriend brooches

You can purchase Hannah’s pins on her Etsy store, the Drake General Store in Toronto. She visits various pop up shops and if you give her a follow on Instagram, shes super speedy to respond.   These super cute pins retail from $15 and up. I cannot wait to add to my collection, I wonder could I have a little Niall Horan Brooch?!

Who would your ideal brooch be modeled on?

S xx

 

Where to get your Christmas Jumper!

Let me start by saying WE LOVE CHRISTMAS, and this love extends to the Christmas Jumper, that’s sweater for you Canadians.

You might be wondering where the feck am I going to get a Christmas jumper here in Toronto – no Primark and its too late to ask the mother to post one over now.

Every time I see a great Christmas jumper this pops into my mind!

Every time I see a great Christmas jumper this pops into my mind!

 

We have found a few places for you!

 

The Irish Design house

Have a fab selection on route! Keep an eye on their Facebook page for more details.

Christmas Jumper selection

Christmas Jumper selection.

 

 

Kensington Market

Great spot to go for a root around if you have a spare afternoon, good food here too! You can expect to pay $20-$25 for a jumper here – you might be able to bargain them down for less!

Kensington Market

Kensington Market

 

 

The Eaton Centre

This place can get crazy busy and not to mention hot on the weekends so pop in midweek if you can. Try H&M, Old Navy or Bluenotes for Christmas t-shirts and jumpers – cheap and does the job.

 

The Eaton Centre

The Eaton Centre

DIY

Like this little beaut did here!

DIY Mulgrew

DIY Mulgrew

 

Red jumper, battery operated lights, some tinsel and you are good to go!

Points going for effort!

Deck the Halls

Deck the Halls

 

 

 

Send us your Christmas Jumper pics, we’ll share them on our facebook page 

S & L xx