Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lest We Forget... Remembrance Day in Toronto's Chinatown, Nov 11th, 2012

Day of the Dead display,
 Courage My Love window
along Haunted Kensington, Chinatown &
The Grange Walk, 2012
The days keep getting shorter and the nights are getting longer... we slow down, reflect and remember the deceased loved ones... All Hallows' Eve became Halloween, and for the vast majority, Halloween has become synonymous with sweet treats, ghoulish movies, and vampy costume parties...  as the Hispanic population grows within the Toronto area, we see more authentic Dia de los Muertos aka Day of the Dead events from October 28th through to November 2nd. Meanwhile, there is an interesting overlap as Halloween  and Day of the Dead wraps up with All Saints' Day (November 1st) and All Souls' Day (November 2nd). Halloween 2012 flashed by but we can't help but find markers or reminders that within the cycle of Life, there's a beginning, middle and an end. 

Have you noticed lately as you watch the news on TV, that the anchors are wearing their red poppies? Stroll along the streets of Toronto and you'll start to  see them pinned on coats, blazers or hats (yes, yours truly has done that in the past and will do it again this year). Remembrance Day is coming. Lest we forget...

Usually if I am within the vicinity of the University of Toronto, I will drop by for the Remembrance Day service by Solders' Memorial Tower.  Growing up in Toronto, it was a tradition since public school years to recite on Remembrance Day 
In Flanders Fields poem written by John McCrae, an Alumni of Victoria College at University of Toronto. Those of you, who attended my Haunted Yorkville, U of T & Queen's Parks Walks, would have seen his haunting poem carved on a special wall close by Solders' Memorial Tower. If you've had wedding photographs taken near the Soldiers' Memorial Tower, you might have stood right by it and didn't see it as it is fading due to time and elements.

In Flanders Fields 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row.
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below. 

We are the Dead.  Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie, 
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields. 
                        - John McCrae (November 30, 1872- January 28, 1918)

This year, I'll be hosting my Second Chinatown Foodies Tour on Sunday November 11th, 2012. We will meet under the auspicious Lucky Moose Statue (393 Dundas St W) to start at 10:00 am sharp.  Plans are to pause at 11:00 AM during the hosted the Dim Sum experience, so all attending can contemplate, reflect and pay thanks to all Canadian soldiers for the freedom we all enjoy. Were there Chinese-Canadian soldiers? Find out along the tour... Those attending will come away with new eyes and a better appreciation of the Chinese BBQ and bakery shops, as Culinary Historian, Shirley Lum makes the connections with remembering dead loved ones with food offerings within the Chinese culture. You're going to find that Toronto, the Meeting Place lives up to its unique name, as we end up with a plethora of ways to remember loved ones lost...  Pre-register at (416) 923-6813 or and join us for this unique Remembrance Day experience...

Lest we forget....