Sunday, January 29, 2017

Toronto Light Festival

The cold, dark winter days can have us feeling like Netflix, tea, unlimited carbs and bed every night but it’s important for us to get out and enjoy some type of activity not only for our bodies but to also help improve our moods. Although it’s only the end of January, thankfully this winter so far has not been too bad for us. –Knocks on wood-

With the lack of sunlight and shorter days, the number of outdoor activities available may seem limited.  However, this year Toronto has brought another free event for us to enjoy this winter called the Toronto Light Festival.

From the same creators that brought the Toronto Christmas Market to the Distillery District, this festival showcases creativity of local and international artists through different forms of light art installations. 

Located east of downtown Toronto, the festival offers an open-air art gallery throughout the Distillery District. The pieces are a bit far from one another, allowing people to journey through each display. Although most of the displays are located outdoors, there are a few exhibits inside the buildings allowing you to warm up from the chilly weather. 

Run Beyond- Angelo Bonello

Angels of Freedom- OGE Group

Locks of Love

Digital Origami Tigers- LAVA

Our House- Tom Dekyvere
The Magic Dance Mirror- Kyle Ruddick 

Bands of Friendship- Vikas Patil and Santosh Gujar

My Overall Impression:
 Since the Distillery District also contains many restaurants, shops and cafes, I highly recommend checking out the Light Festival as a side activity to lunch or dinner with friends and family. Since the exhibits are not all in one area, it allows for a nice walk before or after a meal. 

Otherwise, if you are trekking from afar to only see the Light Festival, it may not be worth it. Since this was Toronto’s first Light Festival, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought that there would be many more light displays but the exhibits that were there were still really neat to see. It’s also fun to go with friends to experience this art journey together as with all art, people have different perspectives and it’s nice to hear about what other people see it as. My favourite pieces were Run Beyond, the Magic Dance Mirror and the Digital Origami Tigers. 

 When: Jan 27th to March 12th
 Sunday to Wednesday: Sundown to 10pm 
Thursday to Saturday: Sundown to 11pm 

 Where: Toronto Distillery Historic District 

 Admission: Free

Visit for more information

Chinese New Year Traditions: Fo Guang Shan Temple

 Happy Lunar New Year!

Celebrated on the first moon of the Lunar Calendar, Chinese New Year is a time for family reunions and traditions. Check out my post from last year on superstitions some people follow for good fortune for the New Year.

My family celebrates Chinese New Year with a nice, big dinner and of course, distributing and receiving lucky money. With my Buddhist background, it’s also a tradition for my family to go to at least one temple if we can. We make this a mini family reunion, meeting others at the temple and catching up with one another. This year I was able to visit two temples, one on Chinese New Year eve and one on Chinese New Year morning.

Below are some pictures from the Fo Guang Shan Temple in Mississauga. The Fo Guang ShanTemple is a beautiful centre with traditional Chinese architecture and artwork. As you walk through the large red doors, you are greeted with a large shrine encompassing several statues. If you choose to go into this part of the building, be sure to remove your shoes for respect and be prepared for the subtle smells of the incenses. Upstairs houses a mini museum explaining the history and culture of Buddhism. In celebration of Chinese New Year, the basement acted as a night market with several vendors offering many goodies. We were able to learn to write Chinese calligraphy and try some delicious candied frozen fruit as well as shop for some cute knick-knacks. Even if you aren’t Buddhist, this place is still neat to check out.

Statues displayed in the main prayer hall of the Temple

Free calligraphy lessons hosted by the Temple

Roosters on display by one of many vendors

Candied Haws: frozen fruit dipped in pear syrup

When: Night of Chinese New Year Eve
 Regular Temple Hours are Tuesday to Sunday, 9am to 6pm

Where: Fo Guang Shan Temple: 6525 Millcreek Dr, Mississauga

Admission: Free 

Did you celebrate Chinese New Year? What did you do with your family?