TORONTO PURSUITS — Come to the Global Party in July 2014

The movement of people and the exchange of ideas are more fluid than ever, and our easy access to the food, movies, news, music, and products of other countries can make our planet feel small, and give us the sense that we’re in tune with all of it.

But when it comes to culture, in particular the arts, I’d say it’s a BIG (and largely unfamiliar) world after all. Here in the West, we still feel very connected to a tradition that comes to us from ancient Greece and Rome, through Europe, to North America. It is a grand and rich repository.

But there is so much more.

poems-1-340(And at Toronto Pursuits this July, we turn our attention to The Rest. In our morningseminars we will immerse ourselves in a selection of masterpieces from cultures and continents we may know little about. Throughout the week, we will take full advantage of our location in the heart of the most culturally diverse place on the planet to meet people and learn more from firsthand encounters. We will be delighted and challenged as we discover both universal similarities and new perspectives.

Our dozen seminar offerings range from the ancient – the Mahabharata and the Qur’an to the more recent – Caribbean Voices in Diaspora and Muslim Women Writers of the Middle East. We have options in literature, art, film, and music, something for everyone.

rsz_torontoemblemThose of us from Toronto are proud to live in a city that prides itself on its diversity. Here is our official emblem. Kind of corny, but heartfelt.

What does this mean? We are open, welcoming, safe and responsive. We are vibrant, eclectic and creative. Yet, even living here, we often miss the richness at our doorsteps. I am having a wonderful time seeking people and places to enrich your week at Toronto Pursuits.

Here are a few!


We will learn about the phenomenon of world music, an inclusive and elastic category that thrives in Toronto, where many different styles of music from around the world intermingle. On Tuesday evening, the group Ventanas will thrill us with upbeat Bulgarian dance tunes, Greek, Lebanese, Turkish, Ukrainian and Sephardic love songs and heart-wrenching flamenco palos.

Iain Scott will acquaint us with far-flung places the European operatic tradition has gone – the Far and Middle East, India, Africa, the steppes of Asia.

Farook Ikram
Farooq Ikram

Fabric designer Farooq Ikram will demonstrate the pious and provocative language of draping in South Asia.

A panel of newcomers to Canada will discuss how living in such a diverse city has influenced their lives and their traditions.

Susan Lahey will introduce us to Chinese decorative arts and tell us about the current exhibit at the nearby Royal Ontario Museum – The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors.

The Cult of Beauty in Japan seminar group will travel to the home of master potter Yumiko Katsuya to see her studio, enjoy a bento box lunch, and participate in a traditional tea ceremony in her garden.

Shirley Lum
Shirley Lum

The Red Revolution group will take a culinary walking tour of Chinatown with Shirley Lum. In addition to various tastings, weCoC will learn about the impact of the Cultural Revolution on local residents.

What you will find at Toronto Pursuits this summer is the fun that arises from bringing cultures and individuals together in a forum for respectful and meaningful conversation and shared experience.

Come join our global party! Read all about it.

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