Toronto celebrates 7th annual Newcomer Day

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The City of Toronto on Tuesday, hosted its seventh annual Toronto Newcomer Day virtually – a day to welcome newcomers to Toronto and celebrate their contributions to the city.

The day included the Welcome Gesture, a simple guided experience led by Dreamwalker Dance Company, a Land Acknowledgement, and a town hall session with Mayor John Tory.

In the spirit of Newcomer, five events are organized by the Neighbourhood Arts Network, a long-time community partner of the City, scheduled from Monday, May 24 to Friday, May 28.

The Launch of Critical Narratives: Dreamscapes, a relaxed listening session of a mindfulness audio piece created by RBC Newcomer Artist Award recipient Siavash Kaveh, accompanied by Iranian vocalist Milad Bagheri, was scheduled for May 24.

On Tuesday, In Conversation: Indigenous and Migrant Placemaking Through Music will focus on a dialogue between Indigenous musician Aqua Nibii Waawaaskone and multidisciplinary newcomer artist Borelson.

In Conversation: Parenting and Artmaking During COVID-19, which is scheduled for May 26, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., will explore the invisible labour of artists during the pandemic.

Residents can join Esmond Lee and writer Sabra Ismath on May 27, from 6 to 7 p.m., for an Artist Talk and Conversation around Lee’s Gods Among Us photography series at the Virtual Exhibition Tour and Artist Talk Presented in Partnership with Doris McCarthy Gallery.

ImagineNATIVE Short Films Focus + Artist Talk Moderated by Niki Little on May 28, from 6 to 8 p.m., is a free screening of nine dynamic short films. They range from documentary and dramatic to animation films created by Indigenous filmmakers, which were presented at the 2020 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and which will be followed by an artist talk.

Programming for the day also includes a partnership with the Toronto Public Library to showcase author Koom Kankesan, who will share his journey from being a newcomer to choosing a path in the arts; a partnership with Small World Music to showcase two amazing newcomer artists – Medusa and Moneka Arabic Jazz; a virtual tour of Toronto City Hall; and a glimpse into the development of the Spirit Garden, which is being led by Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre.

Toronto Newcomer Day is sponsored by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Metroland Media, Desjardins, Tim Hortons, and New Canadians TV Show.

“Newcomers play such a vital role in building up Toronto and it is up to us to create an environment and city that is welcoming and inclusive for them. Although we can’t gather in-person this year, I’m happy that staff and our partners have found a way to provide a virtual experience for newcomers this year. I want newcomers to know that we recognize the value they bring to our city and the role they can play in bringing us together. By providing them these resources and opportunities, we are ensuring that their success is a priority for us as a city and as a government,” said Mayor John Tory.

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