Toronto Storytelling Festival director outlines what’s in store for 2017

Get excited, storytelling fans! The Toronto Storytelling Festival returns to Harbourfront Centre Sunday, April 2 with storytellers from Haida Gwaii, Quebec, Japan, Ethiopia, Iran, Newfoundland, Haiti, Cameroon, Zimbabwe and even outer space.

Keep reading below as Toronto Storytelling Festival director, Dan Yashinsky, outlines what you can expect to hear this year.  

There’s a Jewish saying that asks: “Why did God invent human beings?” To which we respond: “Because God loves stories.” We seem, among all of the other creatures on earth, to be the species that turns to stories like sunflowers turn to the light. It’s a deep impulse. You can see it with little kids when you sit by their bed at night and retell the adventures of the day. Or when you take them into the realm of folktales and wonder. I see it in my work at Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, where I do storytelling in the psychiatry, rehab, and palliative care units. The people I meet there are eager to speak the language of story, especially when it is a heroic struggle just to get through a single day.

What I love about the Toronto Storytelling Festival is how many kinds of stories you can hear. I have a special passion for long stories, stories that I can get lost in, stories that make me revel in reverie. Ron Evans, our unofficial “elder”, brings First Nations and Metis stories that can take 2-3 hours to unfold. When I listen to his unhurried, wonderfully musical voice, I hope that the story doesn’t end any time soon. Don’t miss Ron  at Harbourfront Centre on April 2, alongside some of the world’s very best children’s storytellers, as they share their wares, riddles, songs and rhymes. Plus, young tellers from refugee and immigrant backgrounds will be sharing stories they brought with them to Canada – the folktales their parents and grandparents told them. From distant, sometimes war-torn places, these story-gifts will be woven into the tapestry of Canadian culture. As my old friend Angela Sidney, a Tagish elder from the Yukon, used to say: “My stories are my wealth.” I’m so happy our young tellers will be bringing the wealth of their stories to share with all of us.

Don’t miss the Toronto Storytelling Festival at Harbourfront Centre on Sunday, April 2!