Celtic Village

Celtic Village

Heritage preserved in story and song

By Tom G. Kernaghan

Their ancient ancestors roamed Europe, often telling stories and playing music. Today, the descendents of Irish and Scottish immigrants are still on the move, forever drawn to sad tales and sweet tunes. And here in the west end, people inside and outside the Celtic community enjoy the beat of the bodhran and the fling of the foot.

The Bard of Ukraine

The Bard of Ukraine

Local museum honours Ukrainian hero

By Tom G. Kernaghan

In the Taras Shevchenko Museum (1614 Bloor St. W.), the brilliant man known as the Bard of Ukraine lives in copies of his artwork, books of poetry, and works rendered in his honour. His greatest home, however, is in the hearts and minds of people the world over. Here in the west end, members of the museum are preserving and spreading the memory of the man who dared to speak out against Tsarist oppression in the 19th century.

“He’s considered the greatest son of Ukraine,” says Bill Harasym, local resident and president of the Taras H. Shevchenko Museum & Memorial Park Foundation. “And he’s considered the father of the modern Ukrainian language.”

Fifty years of freedom in Canada

Fifty years of freedom in Canada

Budapest Park monument celebrates Hungarian 56ers

By Tom G. Kernaghan

You may have missed it. At the east end of Sunnyside Beach, in a small area called Budapest Park, sits a haunting cluster of big interconnected steel shards. This sculpture is a monument to the Hungarians who gave their lives for freedom almost fifty years ago. It’s also a reminder to those who lived through the revolt, one of whom is Geza Matrai.

Quietly seeking tolerance

Quietly seeking tolerance

Queer West Village home to growing lesbian community

By Tom G. Kernaghan

“I don’t need to be a big urban dyke,” says Stephanie Rogerson, a lesbian artist and writer who lives in the Annex but wants to move to the west end.

For many years, lesbian women, like gay men profiled in this section of last month’s Village Gleaner, have been choosing to live in the west end instead of Church and Wellesley streets, or what is often referred to as the Gay Ghetto.

Somewhere over the rainbow

Somewhere over the rainbow

West end gay community is spreading out

By Tom G. Kernaghan

“In North America, we tend to put people in one spot or another,” says Tom Riley, a local gay man in his 50s. “Sexuality is really a continuum.”

Riley is one of many gay men who have chosen to make Toronto’s west end, sometimes called Queer West Village, their home. For over 15 years, there has been a general shift of the city’s gay population away from Church and Wellesley streets, or what is often referred to as the Gay Ghetto.

Jami Mosque served changing community

Jami Mosque served changing community

Toronto’s oldest mosque welcomes all

By Tom G. Kernaghan

Toronto’s oldest mosque sits on a quiet street just east of High Park.

Jami Mosque has served many Muslim newcomers by offering youth and marriage counselling, funeral services, religious education, and settlement advice since it opened in the late 1960s. Located at 56 Boustead Ave., the mosque has been a spiritual Canadian home to a diverse mix of Muslims from all over the world—Europe, India, Pakistan, the Middle East, Africa, and the West Indies.

More action for Afghan women

More action for Afghan women

AWO tackles a legacy of oppression

By Tom G. Kernaghan

There is an Afghan proverb that reads, “Little talk, more action.”

Here in Toronto, the Afghan Women’s Organization (AWO) is talking and acting in an effort to serve the specific needs of Afghan women. Through its Village area head office on Dundas Street West, and three additional outlets in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), the AWO provides Afghan refugees and immigrants with a wide array of services in the areas of advocacy, settlement, employment, language, training, and education.

Viva Latino

Viva Latino

Latin community expresses itself through art, dance

By Tom G. Kernaghan

Forty-five years ago, the Argentinean poet Jorge Luis Borges wrote that each one of us ultimately discovers the “patient labyrinth” of our life’s work is really a drawing of our own face.

Today, Toronto’s Latin population, estimated by some at around 250,000, has a multitude of faces. This richly expressive community, which hails from more than 20 countries, is comprised of individuals diverse in education, income, national culture, history, and values. But there is a unifying similarity: their desire to move forward together and become part of Canadian society.

Jane Jacobs

Original activist

Neighbourhood pays tribute to Jane Jacobs

By Tom G. Kernaghan

Like all prophets, her name preceded her. And though Annex resident Jane Jacobs passed away on April 25, the words and work of this legendary urban writer and activist live after her in the many books she penned, the initiatives she supported, and the people she inspired.