Taste of the Middle East, celebrating Arabic Music, Art, and Heritage in the heart of the City! July 14-16 at Nathan Phillips Square!

Featuring over 60 local artists over 3 days and celebrity artists from Lebanon, Iraq and Syria!

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Taste of the Middle East is coming back to Nathan Phillips Square for its 6th annual Summer Festival on July 14, 15, and 16, 2023. With over 50K attendees at our 5th annual summer festival in 2022 at Nathan Phillips Square, we are the first and largest-scale Middle Eastern festival in Toronto to date. Taste of the Middle East is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to create unique and unforgettable experiences celebrating Middle Eastern culture, art, music, and cuisine while adding to the diversity of Toronto.
Our stage will be on fire! Showcasing an electric mix of over 67 new and emerging local artists, old favorites, and some of today’s most prominent performers in Toronto’s Canadian Arabic
community. Get ready to shop ‘til you drop with over 70 vendors of merchandise, art, jewelry, fashion, and artisans.


The festival is the brainchild of Lebanese Canadian Hamsa Diab Farhat, an entrepreneur who started a similar summer festival in 2018 to tackle the negative associations surrounding the Middle East. “The mainstream media shows our culture from a political point of view and one that is often connected to war and terrorism. I wanted to change the narrative by creating a positive bubble in the city. To see the cultures in a different light.”
Each day we offer a unique opportunity to celebrate and showcase different cultures and talents. Let’s break it down day by day:
Friday: “El Sham in Toronto”
This day is dedicated to celebrating the rich culture of Syria and creating a sense of belonging for newcomers. It will likely feature various activities and performances that highlight Syrian traditions, music, dance, and cuisine. The goal is to provide a welcoming and inclusive space for Syrians and others to come together, share their experiences, and appreciate the beauty of Syrian
culture. Featuring local artists and celebrity singer Hadi Aswad.
Saturday: Talents in Toronto This talent show provides a platform for new emerging artists and talented individuals. It’s an excellent opportunity for performers to gain exposure and connect with the audience. Our Talent Show will showcase and give our stage to new emerging artists and talented individuals in the heart of Toronto.
Saturday 5 pm – 7pm: “Show me how you Dabke – The longest Dabke in Toronto”
Co-hosted by Ismaila Alfa, CBC Toronto Host of Fresh Air.
The stage will be on fire with a special segment dedicated to the traditional dance called “dabke.”
Dabke is a folk dance commonly performed in the Levantine region. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn and participate in this lively dance style, adding an interactive element to the event. We will also attempt to get the longest dabke line in Toronto!
Saturday Evening: “Baalbek in Toronto” with Brigitte Yaghi and Badih Abou Chakra, 2
celebrities from Lebanon.
This evening’s highlight is a celebration of Baalbek, a city in Lebanon known for its rich history and cultural significance. The headliners Brigitte Yaghi and Badih Abou Chakra, celebrities all the way from Lebanon are set to provide captivating performances. Attendees can expect a mesmerizing display of music, entertainment, and an authentic taste of Baalbek’s vibrant atmosphere. Local celebrity artist Karl Wolf may join us too.

Sunday Evening: “Babil in Toronto”
The day concludes with a dedicated celebration of Iraqi culture. This segment will showcase Iraqi music, dance performances, traditional attire, and culinary delights. It aims to honor the contributions of the Iraqi community in Toronto while providing an engaging and enjoyable experience for all attendees. The day will feature lots of local artists in addition to Salam Al Iraqi singer from Montreal and celebrity singer Saif Amer all the way from Iraq.
What differentiates us from other Middle Eastern events is the fusion we create in the festival, especially with the music. We aim to attract the younger generation by choosing artists that mix Arabic music with English music and this, in turn, brings thousands of attendees from other cultures around the city.
“Toronto is such an incredibly diverse place,” says Farhat. “We are all proud to be Canadian, yet we are still able to celebrate our differences. It is truly a beautiful thing.”
We cannot do this without our sponsors and community partners including our Presenting Sponsor Paramount Fine Foods, Chef Faris Awad owner of many well known brands in Toronto including Eggstatic, Masrawy Egyptian Kitchen, Khan AL Sultan and Hicham Farhat, RealEstate Broker in Toronto and supporting us for 6 years in a row.
Stay up to date with the Taste of the Middle East Toronto Festival at tasteofthemiddleeast.ca
Follow them on Twitter and like them on Facebook and Instagram @tasteofthemiddleeasttoronto

3 DAYS of Celebrating Arabic Music, Art, and Heritage:
Friday, July 14 from 6 pm to 11 pm
Saturday, July 15 from 11 am to 11 pm
Sunday, July 16 from 11 am to 8 pm

 

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