York centre celebrates Cervantes


Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, the famous creator of Don Quixote, one of the world’s most enduring literary characters, died on April 23, 1616. This year, for the third time, York’s Spanish Resource Centre marked the anniversary with Cervantes Week, five days of workshops, readings, talks and films.

About 100 people, including Hispanics living in Toronto, attended the week’s events, held at Glendon College and downtown at Toronto’s Spanish Centre.

The highlight of the week was special guest, Joaquín del Valle-Inclan, grandson of the late great Spanish writer Ramon del Valle-Inclan. On April 23 as part of a brief Canadian tour, he gave a talk at Glendon College about his grandfather’s books and life. During a question period, he stressed the importance of Spanish as a very rich language, common to so many countries on both sides of the Atlantic, something his grandfather was well aware of when he wrote his books. The event was organized by York’s Department of Hispanic Studies at Glendon College and the Spanish Consulate in Toronto.

The week began with a workshop by Pilar Alderete, a Trent University lecturer who showed Spanish teachers audiovisual material they could use to introduce students to Don Quixote and the region of La Mancha, Spain. It was followed by a workshop for Spanish teachers, led by Belen Huarte, a PhD student at the University of Seville, Spain, about introducing students to idioms and sayings in the Spanish language.

One of the most popular events of Cervantes Week was the public reading of Don Quixote hosted by the downtown Spanish Centre. Magdalena Aguinaga, director of York’s centre, introduced Cervantes’s work. The consul general of Spain started the reading, followed by Hispanic Torontonians and students brave enough to read Cervantes’ words in front of all present.

Finally, on April 26 York’s centre presented a special showing of two Spanish films from the National Film Board of Canada: Bodas de Sangre, a film version of a play by Federico García Lorca, and Amor Brujo by Spanish director Carlos Saura.

This special program by the Spanish Resource Centre was designed to celebrate Cervantes and other famous Spanish writers and to offer the Hispanic community in Toronto and others a chance to enjoy a common interest in Spanish language and culture.

Information submitted by Rosó Gorgori Bonet, Spanish Resource Centre