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November 27, 2006
Fifth annual Sharing our Traditions events at Spadina Museum
Celebrate Estonia’s culture, December 3, 10 and 17, noon to 5 p.m.

Spadina Museum: Historic House & Gardens presents the 5th annual Sharing our Traditions: Cultural Holidays in Toronto on three Sundays - December 3, 10 and 17 - from noon to 5 p.m. Sharing our Traditions is a program that allows visitors to experience the seasonal celebrations of one of Toronto’s vibrant cultural communities alongside those of turn-of-the-century 1900 Toronto. In the past, through our community partnerships, we have explored the holiday traditions of Mexico, China, Ukraine and Iceland.

This year, Spadina Museum has partnered with The Estonian Central Council in Canada and the Estonian Ethnographic Society in Canada, with financial support from the Estonian Credit Union, to present Christmas traditions of the Estonian Canadian community. These family Sunday events will explore such themes as holiday foods, seasonal crafts, Christmas stories and music. Sharing our Traditions family Sunday admission rates are as follows: adults: $8; seniors: $7; children $6.

Each Sunday afternoon, visitors can listen to performances by Estonian and Edwardian-style musicians, and visit the second floor of the museum, which has been transformed into a traditional Estonian Christmas setting. The historic kitchen presents cultural cooking demonstrations with holiday favourites, including Edwardian turkey and goose, and traditional Estonian blood sausage. Children can sample sweet treats and partake in hands-on holiday season crafts from both cultures. Each Sunday also features storytelling by Laas Leivat and Dace Veinberga in the recreated “saunatuba.” The “sauntatuba” is representative of the Estonian steam bath tradition on Christmas Eve.

Decorated for the season with cedar boughs winding down a magnificent staircase, Spadina Museum’s dining room is dressed for a children’s party in 1901. In the billiards room stands a 12-foot Christmas tree, adorned with many of the Austin family’s original decorations.

Sunday musical performances include:
• December 3 - Enjoy Estonian Christmas songs with Andres & Järvi Raudsepp. Be enchanted by a story told by Laas Leivat and Dace Veinberga in the “saunatuba.” Edwardian Christmas music will be provided by the Taffanel Ensemble.
• December 10 - A special performance by a 30-piece Estonian Choir, accompanied by Spadina’s 1882 Steinway piano at 3 p.m. Enjoy jõulujuted (Christmas) stories with Laas Leivat and Dace Veinberga and Edwardian Christmas music by the Taffanel Ensemble.
• December 17 - The Estonian Baptist Church Ensemble will perform holiday music and Laas Leivat, and Dace Veinberga will present Estonian Christmas tales.

Evolving from a Victorian country estate into an Edwardian city mansion, Spadina Museum: Historic House & Gardens chronicles four generations of the Austin family. The museum’s six acres of parkland include one of Toronto’s finest restored Victorian gardens. Exquisite furniture and décor reflect the Toronto art scene of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Spadina Museum, one of 10 historic museums operated by the City of Toronto, offers engaging and enriching public education and special event programming.

Festive activities at Toronto’s Historic Museums run throughout the month of December and most extend until the first week in January. For a complete listing of Christmas event hours and holiday admission fees, please visit and click on Holiday Season Events or call the information hotline at 416-338-3888. Hours of operation vary at each museum.

Media contacts:
Nancy Reynolds, Spadina Museum, 416-392-6910
Kristen Juschkewitsch, Museums and Heritage Services,



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