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The Ultimate Guide to Celebrate Ramadan in Toronto

Ramadan in Toronto

This comprehensive guide details everything you need to know about celebrating Ramadan in Toronto – from where to go for tarawih prayers and special events to booking activities for family time, iftar dining options and tips for professionals balancing work and fasting.

Ramadan is the most sacred month in the Islamic calendar when Muslims around the world fast from dawn to dusk. As one of the five pillars of Islam, Ramadan commemorates the revelation of the Quran to Prophet Muhammad and is a time for spiritual reflection, charity and strengthening community ties.

Toronto has one of the largest Muslim populations in North America, with over 400,000 Muslims calling the city their home. For Toronto’s Muslims, Ramadan is a very important part of the year. Mosques, community centers and neighborhoods come alive at sunset with the bustle of Muslims breaking their fast together. Iftar tents are set up, night markets spill into the streets and the athaan marks the excited rush to take the first bite of the day.

The city provides a wealth of opportunities to fully embrace and celebrate Ramadan. This article provides tips for Muslims living in or visiting Toronto on how to maximize the blessings of the holy month. From recommendations on where to go for tarawih prayers and iftar meals, to charity initiatives, family friendly activities and spiritual practices, we cover everything you need to make this Ramadan truly special for you and your loved ones.

Where to Go for Ramadan Prayers and Events

Major Mosques Hosting Ramadan Activities

The Islamic Centre of Canada is one of the largest mosques in Toronto and offers a full Ramadan experience. The mosque has extensive tarawih and tahajjud prayers scheduled throughout the month, often led by renowned guest imams. Make sure to arrive early to get a spot in the main prayer hall. The mosque also hosts iftar meals every evening, Quran recitation sessions, lectures by Islamic scholars and communal suhoor meals before fajr.

Location

The Khalid Bin Al-Walid Mosque has a very active and engaged youth community. The mosque organizes Qiyam ul Layl nights, especially on weekends, where people spend the night in worship and end with suhoor just before dawn. They also host fun activities like Ramadan cricket tournaments to build community.

Location

Suburban Mosques

For those living in the suburbs, the Islamic Institute of Toronto in Richmond Hill offers a full calendar of Ramadan programs. Their outdoor tent is a popular spot for large iftar meals. On weekends, they have carnival rides and games for kids after iftar. They also organize street iftars for new Muslims and those unaffiliated with a mosque.

Spiritual Mosque Environments

The majestic Jaffari Shia Mosque provides a more traditional approach. Along with the daily prayers, they have all-night Quran recitations and majlis sessions where learned scholars deliver lectures on Islam. The mosque atmosphere is very spiritual, perfect for meditative reflection.

Notable Ramadan Events in Toronto

Some major Ramadan events hosted by various mosques include:

  • Outdoor iftars set up in parks, especially on weekends
  • Marketplaces with local vendors selling Ramadan supplies
  • Ramadan fundraisers like fast-a-thons where people collect charity for each fast 
  • Eid Al-Fitr festivities with carnival rides, nasheed concerts and fireworks

Be sure to check mosque websites or call ahead for timings and event details. Many mosques also stream sessions live online for those unable to attend in person. Experiencing Ramadan with fellow Muslims can make worship more rewarding.

Ramadan-friendly restaurants in Toronto

Restaurants Offering Iftar and Suhoor Meals

Several restaurants in Toronto cater especially to fasting Muslims during Ramadan by offering iftar and suhoor deals.

Mint Restaurant is a popular option, with a special iftar buffet spread every evening. They also have an a la carte menu for before iftar. Mint adjusts its hours during Ramadan to remain open from 4 p.m. for iftar all the way until fajr.

Ghadir Meat & Restaurant sets up an outdoor tent to host large groups for lavish, made-to-order iftar meals. They have options like mixed grills, biryani and curries. For suhoor, their menu focuses on lighter fares like sandwiches and wraps that are easy to digest.

DD’s Iftar Tent should definitely be on the list for an authentic desi-style Ramadan experience. They serve traditional iftar items like dates, pakoras, samosas, chaat and delectable curries. The restaurant is run by a Pakistani family who infuse traditional hospitality into the setting.

Restaurants with Dedicated Prayer Spaces

Many restaurants designate special prayer areas to accommodate large groups coming for iftar. 

Baro Afro Asian Cuisine is a Nigerian-Somali restaurant with a small masjid on the upper floor. The mosque is opened up at iftar time for prayers before the meal. Their iftar menu features Somali dishes like sambusas, while the regular menu is also available.

Kabab Stop Restaurant sets up cordoned off prayer spaces in their parking lot as makeshift musallahs where people can pray in congregation before iftar. They offer budget-friendly family meals for iftar with classic desi dishes.

Zaytun Restaurant stays open from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. during Ramadan, with a special menu for suhoor including items like fried breakfast platters, noodles and rice dishes. Their outdoor courtyard is also open for shisha.

Volunteering opportunities during Ramadan in Toronto

Food Banks and Shelters Needing Volunteers

Several Toronto food banks and homeless shelters need extra volunteers during Ramadan to distribute iftar meals or food hampers to the underprivileged. 

Volunteering opportunities during Ramadan in Toronto

The Toronto Muslim Food Bank sets up food hamper packing shifts that people can sign up for. Volunteers help sort through donations and pack boxes with pantry staples, breads, halal meats and more for delivery.

Raahco Homes operates a shelter for women and families in need. Volunteers help serve nightly iftar meals or distribute food packs that families can take away. Getting involved is a humbling experience.

The Fred Victor Centre offers a meals program, drop-in and transitional housing for the homeless. During Ramadan they need volunteers especially in the evenings to help serve hot iftar meals and distribute food packages and toiletries.

Organizations Collecting Zakat and Fitra

Many mosques and community associations facilitate zakat al-fitr collection ahead of Eid.

Organizations Collecting Zakat and Fitra

IQRA Halal Food Bank accepts both cash and food donations for zakat, which they distribute to needy families before Eid so they too can enjoy the celebrations. Many volunteers offer their time doing packing and delivery runs as well.

Human Concern International has zakat coordinators who determine where funds can be properly allocated during Ramadan – be it for food, education or healthcare of the poor. Those able should calculate and pay their zakat promptly to facilitate timely distribution.

LaunchGood facilitates crowdfunded Ramadan campaigns to finance initiatives like delivering meals to the elderly, sponsoring orphans or supporting struggling refugee families. Muslims can donate towards an inspirational project of their choice.

In addition to monetary zakat, Muslims can donate everyday food items to local mosques and associations that assemble Ramadan food boxes for families in need.

Ramadan Fundraisers

Various mosques and associations organize fundraisers like fast-a-thons where people collect sponsorship for each fast they complete.

Ramadan Fundraisers

The Fastathon organized by Islamic Relief Canada raises funds for their global humanitarian projects focusing on food, water, income and education. Participants get sponsored for each day they fast.

Such interactive events make charity during Ramadan more engaging, especially for youths. Muslims who are able should partake in such initiatives or donate generously towards Ramadan campaigns.

Things to do during non-fasting hours in Ramadan in Toronto

Ramadan Themed Cultural Events

Various cultural centers and organizations in Toronto host events and exhibitions celebrating Islamic history and culture during Ramadan.

Ramadan Themed Cultural Events

The Aga Khan Museum has a special Ramadan Nights series with live performances, readings, craft activities for kids and more on weekend evenings. The atmosphere is lively yet still in keeping with the spirit of the month.

The Islamic Booth Festival organized by DawaNet features over 30 booths showcasing Islamic art, books, clothing, food and more. It’s a great place to shop for Ramadan supplies and gifts before Eid.

The Ramadan Suhoor Festival organized by the PMT Grande Banquet Hall is a night market extravaganza with music concerts, shopping bazaar, amusement rides and games for adults and kids. It’s the perfect community event after taraweeh prayers.

Family Friendly Activities

Many recreational spots and amusement parks in Toronto stay open late during Ramadan to allow families to enjoy outings before or after fasting hours.

Ramadan Family Friendly Activities

The Funsville indoor amusement park is open until 2 a.m. during Ramadan, with go-karting, arcade games, mini golf and rides for an action-packed evening outing.

Laser Quest hosts special midnight battles during Ramadan weekends for teens and adults. Groups can engage in exciting laser tag matches in the wee hours of the morning.

Topgolf keeps their driving range open 24 hours, so families can tee off for a round of golf under the moonlight on Ramadan nights. They also have fun mini golf courses.

Tips for working professionals during Ramadan

Tips for working professionals during Ramadan

Maintaining Energy and Focus While Fasting

Fasting for long hours while working can seem daunting. Here are some tips to help professionals stay energized and focused through the day:

  • Have a wholesome and filling suhoor – things like oats, eggs, fruits and yogurt provide slow-burning energy. Avoid caffeine and sugary foods that lead to a crash.
  • Hydrate well during non-fasting hours. Keep a water bottle handy to sip through the night and at suhoor.
  • Take afternoon power naps if possible. Even 15-20 minutes can refresh the mind and body.
  • Go for a short walk outdoors during lunch break to get some sunshine and fresh air.
  • Snack on dry fruits, dates and fresh juices at iftar to quickly restore nutrients and fluids. 
  • Stick to lighter proteins and complex carbs for iftar versus fatty, fried items.

Letting Colleagues Know About Fasting 

It’s considerate to give colleagues a heads up about fasting obligations:

  • Politely inform them you are fasting and explain what that entails. Most colleagues will be understanding.
  • Request to avoid meetings over lunch hours as that time is needed to rest and recharge.
  • Assure them you will maintain the same productivity levels and will only need minor accommodations.
  • Offer to make up time by starting a bit early or staying late when needed. 
  • Answer any questions and offer to explain more about Ramadan if colleagues are interested to know.

Making Adjustments at Work

Simple workplace adjustments can make fasting easier:  

  • Take advantage of flexible hours or work from home options on harder days.
  • Move most demanding or collaborative tasks to mornings when energy is higher.
  • Schedule lighter tasks like computer work, paperwork, or calls for later in the day.
  • Request a workspace away from the kitchen or food prep areas with tempting aromas.
  • Use lunch breaks to rest in a quiet area versus socializing at a restaurant.

With some preparation and understanding from colleagues, professionals can manage workplace duties while fulfilling their spiritual Ramadan fasts.

Things to do with family and friends during Ramadan in Toronto

Things to do with family and friends during Ramadan in Toronto

Hosting Communal Iftars

Hosting iftars brings people together to share in the blessings of Ramadan. Set up patio lights in the backyard or deck for a festive communal iftar meal under the evening sky. Ask everyone to bring a dish and have fun bonding over delicious food.

Potluck Iftar Dinners

Organize a potluck with friends and family where each household brings a special iftar dish or dessert to share. Set up seating in a large basement or rented venue. The variety of home cooked meals adds to the experience.

Ramadan Watch Parties 

Schedule watch parties for special Islamic programs like the Ramadan Daily shows or Laylatul Qadr taraweeh broadcasts. Prepare some snacks and have friends and cousins over to watch together.

Group Outings After Iftar

Plan group outings to recreational spots like Topgolf, go-karting tracks or theme parks that are open late during Ramadan. The kids can have fun together before heading home to rest up for suhoor. It’s a great way to celebrate the evenings.

Iftars are joyous community occasions. Bring loved ones together throughout the month to create special Ramadan memories.

Conclusion

Ramadan is a spiritually rewarding time for Muslims. From partaking in taraweeh prayers at the mosque to gathering for nightly iftars, the holy month rejuvenates the soul. Through fasting, reflection, and charity, Muslims embark on a journey to get closer to Allah. For those residing in or visiting Toronto, the city provides abundant opportunities to enhance this sacred experience. From the lively Ramadan nights at the mosque to recreational activities specially tailored for Ramadan hours, the occasion can be fulfilling for all. May Allah accept our efforts this Ramadan and grant us the opportunity to reap its boundless blessings.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What are the best mosques in Toronto to attend tarawih prayers?

Some of the most popular mosques are the Islamic Centre of Canada, Khalid Bin Walid Mosque, and Islamic Institute of Toronto in Richmond Hill. They host special guest imams and extensive prayer programs.

Q2. Are there any Ramadan themed events happening in Toronto?

Yes, venues like the Aga Khan Museum host Ramadan Nights events. There are also festivals like the Islamic Book Festival and Ramadan Suhoor Night Market.

Q3. What family friendly activities can we do during Ramadan evenings?

Places like Funsville indoor amusement park, Laser Quest, and TopGolf are open late into the night during Ramadan for families to enjoy recreational activities and games after iftar.

Q4. Which restaurants have nice ambience and set menus for iftar meals?

Some recommended options are Mint Restaurant, Ghadir Grill House, DD’s Iftar Tent, Crema Coffee House and Dawaat Restaurant. Check timings as many offer extended hours.

Q5. How can working professionals manage their fasts?

Stay hydrated during non-fasting hours, take afternoon naps, avoid heavy meals for suhoor and iftar, and request adjustments like flexible hours from employers. Most colleagues will be supportive.

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