expanding the parameters of finnishness

Vappu (May Day) Pubnight – Friday April 30, 2010

Posted by Markus Raty on April 27, 2010

Greetings Finnophilers!
This is your invitation to join us in celebrating Vappu on Friday, April 30th at Black Swan!
This Friday we’ll be celebrating Finnish Style…This is your opportinity to dust off that student hat! No white hat no problem! Be creative and your efforts will be rewarded!
Want to share your favourite Vappu snack? Finger food donations are welcome!
Date: Friday April 30th
Time: 7:30 pm to …?
Location: 2nd floor of the Black Swan, 154 Danforth Avenue, Toronto M4K 1N1

Vappu, the 1st of May, is one of the biggest festival days in Finland! While some students party the whole week leading to the 1st of May, the main celebrations take place starting the evening before on April 30th at 6 pm and continue through the 1st of May to the early morning hours. Vappu is celebrated by everyone from young to old. High school graduates wear their ylioppilashattu, a white and black student cap, while the university students also dress up in colourful overalls. Families gather in the marketplaces to buy balloons, toys and cotton candy for the children. In the evening the restaurants, patios, dance halls, and concerts are full of happy party goers. The folks with sisu head straight to a local park to continue the celebration right on through morning of Vappu. Big picnics are arranged at the public parks, with some beautifully tables serving herring, sima (home made mead), meatballs, salted salmon, and champagne.

Come and celebrate Vappu with us! Finnophile is starting our own tradition and celebrating on Friday April 30th 7:30 pm to …? (we’ll let you decide!) Meet us on the Patio at the Black Swan 154 Danforth Avenue, Toronto M4K 1N1.

Eat, Drink and be Merry!

The Finnophile Crew

Join us on facebook or visit us at

Ever wonder what’s going on in the rest of the Finnish Community…? This is list of some of the upcoming events (courtesy of the Finnish Credit Union)

An Evening Featuring Pertti Voutilainen
Date: Thursday, April 29, 2010
Time: Please arrive by 6:30 p.m. for Cocktails
Venue: Miller Thomson LLP – Main boardroom
40 King Street West, Suite 5800 Toronto, ON
Price: Members $20.00 Non-Members $30.00
RSVP according to which group you are affiliated to as follows:
Canada-Finland Chamber of Commerce Members By Monday April 26th to Bawani Thayalan at
Canadian Friends of Finland Members By Monday April 26th at or by telephone 416-730-8350
Details: The Canada-Finland Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Friends of Finland invite you to an evening featuring Pertti Voutilainen. Mr. Voutilainen is a former CEO of Outokumpu Oyj, former Chairman of the Board, CEO and President of Kansallis Banking Group, after its merger with Union Bank of Finland. He is currently an independant director of Agnico-Eagle Mines and will provide his perspective on the differences between business practices and culture in both Canada and Finland.

Destination Finn Grand Fest Soo
Date: Saturday, May 1st, 2010
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Venue: Thornhill Golf and Country Club – 7994 Yonge Street
Price: $35.00 available in advance only at Osuuspankki and The Finnish Place
Details: Spring Concert and Dance / Kevätkonsertti ja tanssit. Performers include: Heikki Perttu and Hilkka Helena, Soprano Miriam Kemppainen, Toronton Pelimannit, Violinist Andrea Hansen, Laura Repo, Violinists Satu and Suvi Ylänkö, Sisu Folkdancers
Ylös, Ulos ja Lenkille! / Get Up and Go! (Fundraising Walk)
Date: Saturday, May 15, 2010
Time: Gates open and start time is 8:30 a.m. – Rain or Shine
Venue: Tommy Thompson park (Leslie Street & Unwin Street), Toronto
Details: Walk 5km, 10km, or 20km. Registration is $35, the fee is waived if you collect at least $50 in pledges. Fee includes bottled water, light lunch, eco-shopping bag etc. Pre-register now by emailing Miia at OR pick up your registration form at Suomi-Koti. You can also register on May 15th at the park starting at 8:30 a.m. If you have any further questions, please contact Miia at 416-425-4134 ext. 225.

Canada Cup Floorball (Salibandy) Championship
Date: Friday, May 21st to Sunday, May 23rd, 2010
Time: All Day
Venue: Tait McKenzie Centre at York University in Toronto
Price: Free Entry for spectators
Details: Grassroots Floorball Inc. is hosting the event. For more details on cost and where to purchase tickets, visit for details.
For more information or to list your Finnish event visit:

Osuuspankki –


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Celebrate Laskiainen at the Finnophile Winter Frolic

Posted by Markus Raty on February 10, 2010

Celebrate Laskiainen at the Finnophile Winter Frolic
Saturday February 20th, 2010
2pm to 6pm

Join us at Riverdale Park East (550 Broadview Avenue, 3 blocks south of Broadview subway station) from 2 pm to 4 pm for skating & tobogganing adventures! Laskiainen tradition dictates that you should bring whatever “toboggan” you want to get down the hill. We’ll be looking for the most creative and effective toboggans out there! Find us by the Finnish flags.Don’t forget to bring your own skates! Kids are welcome!

After the some snowy fun follow the finnophile troops up the hill to warm up from 4 pm to 6pm (or more) at our traditional gathering place the Black Swan 4 pm to 6 pm (154 Danforth Avenue)! Winter woolies and gear are expected dress! Enjoy some nibblies, beverages and loads of camaraderie to warm the very cockles of your heart! Kids are welcome at the Black Swan too!

Donations Welcome!
Donations of snacks are welcome, bring them to the hill or drop them off at the Black Swan before you come to the park!

Bad Weather?
No problem! We’ll see you at the Black Swan from 4 pm to 6 pm

Like to help?
Here at finnophile we’d love have you toss us your ideas for venue’s, event ideas and even lend a helping hand. Drop us a line at

Hope to see you there!

The finnophile crew!

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A finnophile thank you….

Posted by Markus Raty on February 2, 2010

Hay Finnophilers!

We hope you enjoyed December’s Pikkujoulu party! Over 70 folks dropped by to say hi and have great time!

We couldn’t have done it without the help of the following fabulous supporters!

Liisa Keevalik – Osuuspankki –Toronto Finnish Credit Union
Heikki Walden – Royal Lepage
Laura McSwiggan – The Consulate of Finland
Vesa Lahtinen – DJ
Matti Temiseva
Our Hosts Bill & John at The Black Swan

And of course the pikkujoulu finnophile crew Milla, Riitta, Markus & Paula

Our next event is right around the corner. Save February 20th for the Finnophile Winter Frolic. Details coming soon!

If you would like lend a helping hand with finnophile email

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Finnophile is back!

Posted by Markus Raty on November 24, 2009

Finnophile is back!
It’s been a good two years since we last made merry with a group of our fellow Finnophilers and now due to a tidal wave of demand WE’RE BACK! Join us for our relaunch and Pikkujoulu (Little Christmas) celebration at finnophile’s resident watering hole The Black Swan!

The important information:
what: Finnophile – Pikkujoulu “Re-Launch” Pubnight!
when: Thursday December 10th, 2009 7:30 pm – ?
where: The Black Swan 154 Danforth Avenue, Toronto M4K 1N1

Prepare for a night of Christmas cheer with snacks, door prizes and a little holiday goodness. The Black Swan is just steps from Broadview subway station, with “Green P” parking right out back. Potluck snacks & door prizes are welcome, just let us know what you are bringing!

The news:
In an effort to continue “expanding the parameters of finnishness” finnophile is pleased to announce a year of events to keep us in the Finnish spirit. Keep your eyes on your email for these upcoming finnophile events:
Laskiainen – Winter Fun Day
St. Urho’s Day – A little green and purple goodness
Vappu – May Day
Juhannus – Midsummer Night
Pikkujoulu – Little Christmas

Spread the word:
We are working with a fairly old email list of previous participants. Please forward this email to anyone you think should know about this event and remind them to sign up by sending us an email at

The world wide web:
Join us on facebook or visit us at

The events:
We want your events! If you know of an upcoming event that will “expand the paremeters of finnishness” of your fellow finnophilers. Drop us a line and we’ll add it to our email.

Like to help?
Here at finnophile we’d love have you toss us your ideas for venue’s, event ideas and even lend a helping hand. Drop us a line at this email.

Hope to see you there!
The Finnophile crew!

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Back by popular demand!

Posted by Markus Raty on January 8, 2007

Ashes to Ashes back on stage JAN 19th!


Ashes to Ashes, Boom to Bust is the most recent production of the Toronto Theatre Company, an award-winning Finnish-Canadian theatre troupe.

After a sold out premiere,  Ashes to Ashes will be back on stage on
Friday, January 19th
at 8pm at the Toronto Centre for the Arts (North York City Hall, 5040 Yonge Street)

This promises to be a highly entertaining evening; a great opportunity to catch some theatre and meet and greet with finnophilers and others.

TICKETS are $15 and can be purchased online via Ticketmaster HERE or at the door.

Below you can read a preview of the play, directed by renowned Finnish director Janne Suutarinen. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by Markus Raty on December 11, 2006


Please join us this coming Thursday for an evening of traditional Finnish fun!

The first annual finnophile pikkujoulu (Little Christmas) will take place at the Black Swan Tavern on DEC 14, 2006. (Danforth/Broadview – on the subway line, lots of parking)

 After a string of successful pubnights, a handful of the “regulars” have decided to step it up a notch and bring a taste of a long-loved Finnish tradition to Toronto.

As always, the premise of the evening is simple: to meet new friends and greet old ones. However, this time good ol’ Joulupukki (Finnish Santa) will be joining us, bringing along special treats for everyone and serving hot glögg.

AND, if that weren’t enough there will be yummy homemade Finnish pastries and other baked goods and even my Mom is getting in on the act, promising a batch of her famous lihapiirrakkas (if you dont know by now you better get there early).

The evening will kick off around 8pm, however feel free to come earlier if you like.

This is an INCLUSIVE event so please feel free to invite/bring along friends and family as we share a little slice of Finland in the heart of Toronto.

And a BIG thank you to Tuuli, Samantha, Paula, Rita, Riitta, Markku and others for organizing our little soiree.

Christmas Cheers, Markus

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Canadian Friends of Finland

Posted by Markus Raty on October 23, 2006

Annual Symposium and Awards Dinner

Hello! As the colours change and the wind starts nipping, so does the event calendar start filling up. October is one of the busier months of the year and one of the events, a great Finnish cultural experience, is this coming weekend!

The Canadian Friends of Finland have long been on the leading edge of building cultural bridges between Canada and Finland. Throughout the year they put on a variety of cultural events like concerts, film nights and lectures. This coming Sunday is their Annual Symposium and Awards Dinner.

During the afternoon five of the most prominent Finnish-Canadian filmmakers will present their films and then join in a panel discussion with the audience. They are: Pirkko Karvonen, Susan Poizner, Albert Karvonen, Kelly Saxberg and Stefan Randstrom and they represent a very accomplished body of work.

Following the film symposium, the Awards Dinner will take place and it will include a screening of Randstrom’s short film, A Finnish Guide to Canadian Winter, which some of you may have seen on CBC.

The day and evening promises to be entertaining and enriching and all are welcome.

The Details:

what: CFF Symposium and Awards Dinner
where: 100 St. Joseph Street. Carr Hall, St. Michaels College, U of T
when: Starting at 1pm on Sunday, October 29th, 2006
tickets: or call 416-730-8350
more info:

Disclosure: I have recently become a member of the CFF Board of Directors, although I have been attending their events for many years.

Cheers, Markus

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finnphile pubnight 3.2

Posted by Markus Raty on September 21, 2006

Time for a finnophile pubnight

coupla regularsOKAY! i’m sorry. it’s time to get together..physically! meaning let’s get off this site, for a nite, and hook up at old faithful for a coupla coca colas (or whatever may be your beverage of choice).

For those of you new to finnophile pubnights, they are simply that; a gathering of Finns, Finnish-Canadians, their partners, friends and colleagues and any other interested parties therein, for an evening of revelry. We get together at a pub on the subway line and meet, greet and eat. (ok, there aint usually any eating going on but it rhymed so i went with it)

Usually there are anywhere from 50 to 120 people out anytime from 7ish to 1ish to chat and mingle, see old friends and meet new ones.

Always a great crowd and I’m super-pumped to see all of ya again!

So, we’ll meet at the ol’ Finn-friendly Black Swan Tavern on the Danforth next Thursday, Spetember 28th!

what: finnophile pubnight 
where: Black Swan 154 Danforth Ave (@ Broadview Station)
when: 7ish. Thursday, September 28th

check out some pictures from a past pubnight here

Always a fun evening so hopefully many many of you can make it out

any questions, gimme a buzz (416-875-6783)

cheers – markus!

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Floorball season set to begin. You in?

Posted by Markus Raty on September 11, 2006

Toronto Floorball League picks up steam for fourth season

toronto floorball 

You may think this is another sports posting and you’d be right and wrong! It is about sports and much more. Although I do have a penchant for staying active through sports, a by-product of engaging in various physical pursuits is the myriad quality folk you meet along the way.

I stumbled upon floorball almost by accident, by way of covering the inaugural Canada Cup tournament a couple of years ago whilst working for Vapaa Sana. Soon I was playing the sport and one of the engaging young chaps I met was Juha Mikkola, Toronto’s floorball guru. I now have a clutch of floorball friends, and while I am taking this season off (these old knees are crying for a break), I would strongly recommend you to check out the scene if you are looking for a fun way to stay fit.

Floorball is an exciting cross between ice hockey and floor/ball hockey, employing the best of both without the stickwork or contact. It also incorporates elements of basketball and the result is a fun, fast-paced indoor hockey game. It has quickly grown from a grassroots sport in Sweden to the sport of choice in Sweden, Finland (Finnish floorball info), Czech and is now quickly gaining fans in Canada. 

The Toronto league has both competitive and social divisions and is stacked with all manner of Finns, Swedes, Canadians, amongst others all playing and partying together. Another bonus is that the league is fully co-ed with men and women playing together. Or, if you prefer (and are female ;-), there is a women’s division.

AND, it’s cheap. All you need is a stick and sneaks and you’re set to go!

Check out the Toronto Floorball League and Social Scene for more info and to sign up, and for more on floorball itself, surf to Floorball Canada’s site. The league starts soon so don’t delay.

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Nokia takes on Blackberry

Posted by Markus Raty on September 7, 2006

Finnish mobile giant launches potential Blackberry and TREO killer

Canada will be first to receive the new much-hyped Nokia E62, dubbed by tech reporters as a potential Blackberry and TREO killer. The phone (if it can still be called that), is a serious piece of equipment, offering cutting edge wireless Internet, an MP3 player and the usual bells and whistles.

What’s the big deal you say? I guess it really isn’t one except to note that the unit looks a lot like…a Blackberry! Usually one to lead, in this case Nokia, by its own admission is content to follow a design paradigm that works. Kudos to Canada’s RIM.

Read more on the E62 and its launch in today’s Globe and Mail.

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