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FAM Report
TORONTO - A CULTURAL MOSAIC DESTINATION
by: Bertha Rush-Summers
Visiting this lake city for short periods of time will merely tease your appetite, giving a truncated glimpse of its multiple offerings. It is like a cultural mosaic tree rooted in fertile soil producing some of the best succulent life sustaining fruit, leaving you yearning for more. Visualize walking down the heritage memory lane, visiting some of its preserved historical landmarks of Black achievements, listening to the taped oracles of our Black ancestors and interacting with many embracing cousins. You will become infected by the enormity of it all. The aura produces a sense of international connectedness to your ancestors who were able to rise from the fire-pits of slavery with such humility and presence, to conquer unimaginable feats while recognizing there is no going back and to arrive in a country where they could inhale a comforting breath of liberation that would become a permanent part of the DNA of their decedents forever. Absolutely Awesome!

As you know, over 60,000 Black slaves from America and the Caribbean used what is known as the Underground Railroad (UR) as a means to escape to Canada. The UR is not a railroad nor is it underground whatsoever. It is a name given to the secret networking process of guiding slaves to an alternative way of living. At the time, Canada provided this protective haven for slaves with its established unprecedented legal statutes that prohibited extradition requests for slaves and abolished slavery with the enactment of the British Abolition of Slavery Act in 1834. Hence, the establishment of a thriving Black community with a significant number of freed Blacks in Canada. Understandably as in America, Toronto too celebrates Black History Month with official commemorations whereby Torontonians and visitors can equally share. So, if you wish to experience Black History Month in another country, try Toronto. You will not be disappointed.

WHERE TO STAY
When looking for a place to stay that perfectly meets the needs of a traveler seeking a "home away from home" then try:

Fairmont Royal York, a Toronto landmark of superlative traditional grandeur, located in the heart of downtown shopping, entertainment and sight-seeing districts - across from the Union Train Station. 100 Front Street West

HUNGRY YET?
It won't be difficult to catch a good meal during your stay, here are a few favorites:

  • Harlem Restaurant
    (Soul Food) was inspired by the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920's. Its cuisine reflects a cultural diversity of finger licking good collard greens, yams, cornbread and more.
  • Stonegrill on Winchester
    Minutes from downtown, Stonegrill is located in the heart of Cabbagetown. While experiencing an exciting interactive culinary fete, you will be soothed by the musical artistry of the legendary Jazz artist, Archie Alleyne at the "Art and Jazz Brunch." 51 B Winchester Street
  • Epic Restaurant at the Fairmont Royal York
    Redefining every notion of a hotel restaurant, Epic's menu combines European ingredients with North American culinary innovation.
  • Horizons Restaurant at the CN Tower
    Lunch only is served at the Horizon's Restaurant located at the CN Tower on the Look Out level. Its location offers a spectacular view of the city and Lake Ontario from the vantage point of 1,136 ft. above the ground. Its culinary menu reflects seafood from the lake, butternut squash, chicken pot pie and more. 301 Front Street West
  • Rendezvous Ethiopian Restaurant
    Warm hospitality and exquisite flavors are the draw at this Ethiopian restaurant. Large platters of injera come piled with special delights to be served communally. 1408 Danforth Avenue

WHERE TO PLAY

  • Trane Studios
    A venue for artists and audiences interested in experiencing Jazz as a vibrant and contemporary music. Concerts at the Trane Studio celebrate the history of Jazz while embracing and nurturing its current manifestations in Africa, Urban, Latin and worldview styles. 914 Bathrust Street
  • Harbourfront Center
    This is a venue for showcasing festival International talents of music, art, film, dance and vocal artists. 235 Queens Quay Street
  • Factory Theatre
    Canadian plays extraordinaire. 125 Barthrust Street

CULTURAL IMMERSION

  • St. Lawrence Hall
    Visit the old town of Toronto's historical landmarks including the St. Lawrence Hall and listen to the tour guide, Bruce Bill, as he discusses the contributions made by Toronto's early Blacks as well as their different journeys made on the Underground Railroad. Bruce Bill Tours - www.brucebilltours.ca
  • Spence Gallery
    Check out some African-Canadian artists who are making their mark on the Canadian and international art arena. This gallery specializes in works by artists with a Caribbean ,Latin American or African heritage. 600 Markham Street - www.spencegallery.ca

SHOPPORTUNITIES

  • L' Elegante Limited
    Dream of designer labels at a substantial discount, L' Elegante takes designer consignment items and sells them at approximately one third of the original price. 132 Cumberland Street
  • Cat's Meow
    Specializes in quality vintage fashion and luxury designer resale (1920's - 1980's with a focus on the 50's, 60's and 70's). 180 Avenue Road
  • Shoppe D' or Ltd
    Specializes in resale designer items. 18 Cumberland Street
  • Circa Forty Inc.
    Specializes in resale designer (high-end) items at affordable prices. 456 Queen Street West

DAY SPA ESCAPE

  • Elizabeth Milan Day Spa
    It's not the journey, it's the destination: End your journey with a relaxing and rejuvenating delight. Visit the Elizabeth Milan premiere day spa, located in the Fairmont Royal York Hotel and indulge yourself in one of its signature specialties: Organic Raspberry Souffle Facial. This unique facial treatment uses fatty acids present in natural cocoa. The powerful antioxidants present in cocoa protect the skin from radicals that cause skin damage. www.elizabethmilanspa.com
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