Public iftar (fast breaking) events are becoming popular in the Greater Toronto Area as Muslims share the fasting experience with their fellow citizens in public squares across the city.
On May 23 and 24 at Nathan Phillips Square outside Toronto City Hall, Northern Lights Relief Foundation, a non-profit organization, held a free Iftar event to share the Ramadan experience and a meal with Torontonians, especially the needy.
“People from all walks of life joined us to share generosity in our City,” said Northern Lights Relief Foundation in a statement. “Sharing a meal is also an opportunity for us to come together with people from different beliefs, cultures, and identities.”
“Great to join Northern Lights Relief Foundation at their Ramadan festival in Nathan Phillips Square,” tweeted Toronto Mayor John Tory. “It’s a fantastic event that shares the Ramadan Iftar meal with those less fortunate. This is the true spirit of our city.”
Meanwhile on June 1, Fast in the 6 will return to Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square for a public iftar after a successful launch last year that brought together thousands of people from all walks of life.
The event will celebrate the diversity of Toronto through the common experience of breaking the Ramadan fast.
“It will be an event open for Torontonians of all backgrounds to take part and share in the spirit of the breaking of the fast which is common to many heritages and to enjoy an evening of entertainment and fireworks,” said the organizers of the Fast in the 6 event.
Toronto philanthropists, Dany and Lisa Assaf lead Fast in the 6 event with its inclusive message, “Diversity – Unity – Prosperity”.
“Fast in the 6 aims to affirm the city of Toronto’s leadership as a major global centre of both social and economic opportunity,” said Dany Assaf.
Toronto Mayor John Tory and Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland are expected to address the crowd.
“Toronto’s greatest asset in today’s global economy is our foundation and history of inclusion and openness to a diversity of talent and ideas,” said Mayor John Tory. “Reaffirming that is important for the future prosperity of our great city.”
The evening will be hosted by Mark Strong, Toronto Raptors home game host, and will feature performances by Kareem Salama, Kelsi Mayne and Nemahsis, as well as appearances by spoken word artist Mustafa the Poet and comedian Mo Amer. The program will conclude with a fireworks display above Toronto’s City Hall.
In Mississauga, another public iftar event is planned for Tuesday, June 5 at the Mississauga Celebration Square.
“This first-ever Celebrate Ramadan Iftar is aimed at bringing together civic and interfaith members of the Mississauga, Brampton, and Toronto communities for a unique evening dinner,“ said the organizers, Dawanet and MuslimFest.
The theme for the evening is ‘Celebrate Ramadan Iftar – Building Bridges of Love and Compassion’ and several nonprofit organizations, interfaith communities, local leaders, and dignitaries are anticipated to be in attendance.
“Our Celebrate Ramadan Iftar is an inspirational gathering to honor Canadian and Muslim values of inclusivity, diversity, and generosity,” added the organizers. “Holding this dinner during the Islamic Holy month of Ramadan signifies coming together as a unified community to exchange greetings and share positive experiences.”