Buenos Dias mamis, papis, amigos y everybody! What a beautiful morning to wake up to, sun is shining and a nice breeze is coming in through the window. Oh wait, what is that? Amazing, both chamacos are yelling and crying. Jajaja. Pero por supuesto, what kind of morning would it be if everyone were just calm and content. En mis suenos jeje. Asi es, anyways – let’s get excited because I’m sharing some info on events happening in the city – not just any city, but the 6ix, Drake’s hometown and where you will find mi gente reppin Toronto Mi Barrio gear & celebrating our cultura every day. Bienvenidos a Toronto, Canada. Vamos a chismear!
Unos taquitos de huevito to start my day, well, 4 of them to be exact – pero who’s counting?! Get your day going with a pansita llena, I always say.
If you don’t recognise the title for this post, Toronto Mi Barrio, I will question your latina-ness in this city. Toronto Mi Barrio is a brand for Toronto Latinos to unite and rep our cultura and backgrounds. It has been ground breaking for highlighting and promoting Latinos in Toronto. If you don’t already follow them on IG, go follow. Pero ya!! Not only do they have merch for you to gear up in and take todos esos selfies, pero they host and promote Latino events, concerts, businesses and restaurants.
Ever since I moved here in 2013, from Ottawa, and Thunder Bay before that (I know, long story, go read my second ever blog post to catch up) – I only dreamed of living somewhere where I felt complete. Growing up in Thunder Bay, I felt too foreign, too different and a little too unique. I felt like I had to leave pieces of myself behind to fit into the environment I was in. For instance, at home, I was truly MexiCanadiense – I could speak in Spanish & English, I could eat my taquitos, pray and refer to my religion – really just indulge into my cultura and background. At school, I had to leave some of that behind. I went to a public school, because I was in a French Immersion program and my parents paid their taxes to the public board for my brother’s needs of being Deaf. At school there were no other Latino kids, and the few that were in the city went to the Catholic schools – obviamente. There was no acknowledging God, or praying at school either. Who I was, was always represented only during certain times. Pero, I was used to it – that was my normal.
Going to Mexico every year with mi familia was my absolute favourite. I wanted to live there, I felt more me. Pero, by the end of every trip, I was also ready to come home to snow, to the cold, to my life and amigos. So I didn’t fully fit there either. I mean, I was la guerita to most, la nina canadiense and the one they would get to read anything and everything in English because my “accent” sounded muy padre. Jajaja.
I needed a place where all my world’s could collide. Well, I moved to Ottawa for University – mi papa was not thrilled – pero, whatever. Everyone who goes away, whether for school, travels, vacations, a break – cualquier excuse, always says “I need to go find myself”. Pues, as cliche as it sounds, that’s exactly what I ended up doing, even though it wasn’t my intention. I just went there because they offered me the highest amount in scholarship dinero, let’s be honest.
Ottawa ended up being a melting pot for myself. I studied in French (like always), but the city is so bilingual I could actually use my French outside of school – que padre! There was a big Latino community, which I delved into because like, FINALMENT! I worked at a Latino nightclub bartending, Caliente – and also at a Mexican restaurant called Burrito Borracho. If you’re ever in Ottawa or Montreal (they’ve expanded), make sure you check out Burrito Borracho, or el Mercadito. The owners are also mis compas and you will love it! 5 years in and I was set. I had even gone back to the church and started my faith journey again. Don’t get me wrong – this took lots of encouragement from a good amiga, pero I’m forever grateful.
5 years in and I was set. Now teacher’s college was done, and I had applied everywhere for a job. Landed my first LTO which became my permanent position the year after with the YCDSB (York Catholic District School Board) in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) – Aurora & Markham. Y ahora que? I have to pick up my vida again and start from the beginning? Enserio?! Pero, I had it so nice in Ottawa. Pues, so it goes amigos. Time to grow, time for change, time for more. Vamonos!
Moving to Toronto was muy dificil. I was alone again. I didn’t know anyone. Started my career, with a new apartment, in a new city – alone. Ay Dios. Luckily, I was paired up with a dope teaching partner and we became amigas. She was my first real encounter with Filipinos jajaja – I know, so ignorant – but, truthfully, I just hadn’t been exposed to THAT many cultures. Ottawa was multicultural, pero I stuck with mi gente Latina.
Y donde ‘sta mi gente?! 6 months in and I am so deprived again of everything I had built up for myself in Ottawa, y ahora with my teaching job, it was puro chambear. I needed to get out there and connect again. So I did. I found some old amigas from Thunder Bay who were also Latina but living here now, and we lit it up!! Jajaja. I started going out again, into the latino scene, finding restaurants, products, barrios, events and IG pages to keep me in the loop with my busy new career life.
That’s where Toronto Mi Barrio comes in. Por el social media, I could be kept up to date and current with what was happening in the city – and make it out to what I could. Again, go follow @torontolatinos. Hazlo!
So, enough about me – let’s get into these events. So if you don’t know, there is always a summer street celebration, Salsa St. Clair – usually takes place in July and is on the west end of St. Clair. Shops, restaurants, food trucks, music, dancing, parade, kids area, merch – todo lo que te imaginas, is at this street fair. Se pone muy lit. You can go with your familia, you can go with your comadres, you can take your mama, you can use it as a romantic date night – uy uy uyyyy – and its FREE. Orale!
Another one I’m looking forward to is new this year, MAS festival. This will be in Vaughan, same type of idea – food, music, dancing, merch, regardless you gotta be there.
Dancing events. There are always events happening at nightclubs, just follow the ones you like and they will be promoted. If you like the Toronto Latinos vibe – check out Baro. They host fiestas every weekend, get on the guest list – se pone bien shido. Plus, Baro has delicious comida. Ve a ver.
Otro de baile, is the Latin Sparks event. Now, this one is extra dope for me because it started in Ottawa! Sparks street is a pedestrian street downtown Ottawa, where they would host Latin Sparks and have salsa, bachata, merengue lessons followed by an outdoor nightclub scene – afuera! Best summer nights, uuffff ni sabes!!
Conciertos! My fav. Okay, so there is lots going on this year for us Latinos in the city. There is quite the lineup this year, so preparanse and cuida tu dinero, because this is a locura. This May Long weekend, we had Chayanne at the CAA Centre in Brampton. Chayanne brings back all the childhood memories jajaja – gracias a mi mama, who looooved him.
We also have la reina del Bronx – JLo!!! AHHHH YA SE RIGHT?! Okay, this was a HUGE one for me. She is my childhood, my teenage years, my university days, and even now as a Mama!! She is PODEROSA!! I kept tabs on the pre-sale, I was getting codes, finding someone with an Amex card, because I don’t have one – UGH. Pero, enserio – I HAD to be at this concierto. Thankfully, lo hicimos and we have tickets. This is happening on July 7 and 8. No puedo esperar!
August, Bad Bunny is returning to the 6ix! He was here last year, almost on the exact date, but we were out of town. This year, we didn’t know if we would be out of town, so I don’t have tickets to this one yet. Asi que, if anyone wants to get me an early 30th birthday gift – regalame esto porfis!!! Jajaja.
September, we have J Balvin reaching the ACC – digo, el Scotiabank Centre – whatever, you know it’s the ACC. Jaja. He is here September 7, and I do have tickets to this one. It’s gonna be liiiiiit. Vamonos!
October, OVO’s stand up!! Aqui estoy! YES, I am an OVO baby – if you don’t know this reference, we are going to have issues because mi compadre Drake – is my fav. We almost share the same birthday, he is the 24 & I am the 25. Ademas, his musica is hella dope, AND el guey sings in Spanish, like CMOOONNNN. Yaaaaassss mi gente!! He knows what’s up, getting on this Latino tip – because you know we on the come up! Anyways, October – October we have big tings a gwaning. <— you may catch some TO slang in here as well, just to keep things real, that’s just me.
Okay, so early October we have Maluma *uy uy uyyyy* all the ladies go nuts over this guy – he comes to the 6ix on the 6th. I also didn’t grab tickets to this one – only because MANA will be here in the middle of the month, and let’s be honestos – soy Mexicana – I am going to MANA. I have only ever dreamed of being present at a Mana concierto, so this is another HUGE one for me. Va ser lo mejor de mi vida, and its close to my birthday – so let’s turn up!
November, are you still with me or is this too much for you to handle?! Ya se right?! I told you from the beginning, the lineup of Latinos coming this year is almost demasiado. En noviembre, we have Marc. Friggen. Anthony. Mujeres. Stay with me here. Ay Dios mio. El Marc Anthony!! No pos esta buenisimo!! Pero, like pick your outfits and your zapatos para bailar, because THIS va ser un noche mas buena, ni sabes. Are you already singing his songs and salsa dancing in your cocina?! Yo tambien! No puedo, la verdad. Le-gen-da-ry!! I definitely copped tickets to this one, so I will see you there.
Ay ay ay, Laaaatiiiiinooooos stand up!! Donde ‘sta mi gente! I am rooting for all Latinos, everywhere. Muchisimo happening in the 6ix this year for us. This is an epic year for celebrating nuestra cultura and getting out there and involved. So of course I jumped on it as well, with this blog. We need mas y mas y mas. Asi que, andale chismosos!! Do what we do best, a chismear!! Spread el chisme jajaja Get the tickets, check for events, follow social media pages, talk to people and get connected. This chisme es lo mejor! These events don’t mean anything and won’t continue to happen without you! Every event needs your apoyo y amor.
I am so grateful and orgullosa that all my decisions, hard work, perseverance, my poderosa-ness got me to where I am today. Living in this beautiful, diverse, inclusive and accepting city of Toronto, where I, and others alike, can live out dreams of having the best of all worlds. Arriba mi gente Latina!!
IG: @torontolatinos or go buy some merch at http://www.torontolatinos.com
Side note: I do not work for any of these places I link you with – I am in no way affiliated, or paid to do promo. These are just real things I genuinely like and support. 🙂