By: Farihah Chowdhury is a social media specialist and writer on K-POP culture
It’s every K-POPER’s dream to fly to Korea and live the K-POP life, but not all of us can afford it. When I first got into K-POP, back in 2005, it was challenging for me find people who share the same interests as me, and have a chance to fully experience K-POP to its fullest, BUT FEAR NOT! Toronto’s K-POP sub-culture has grown so much since then! So if you’re feeling lonely, and, or living in Toronto and looking to get K-POPPIN, you have come to the right place. Here is my list of top 5 ways you can get involved and have fun as a K-POPPER living in Toronto.
Facebook is a great way of keeping in touch with other Toronto K-POP fans. There are 100s of different fanpages and groups you can like, some who actually have meet up events around the city. I personally started off joining the Toronto K-POP Meetup Group (TKMG). It is a great place to start meeting other fans and keeping up to date on the latest events that are happening in and around the city. Some of my closest friends today are people who I met through TKMG. Having friends who share the same interests as you makes it easier to plan hangouts and fangirl, or fanboy all you want! You don’t need an official K-POP related event to have fun and release your feels! In the past TKMG has held flashmobs, organized Hallyucon (a mini K-POP convention), and fandom meets.
This was actually my 1st event I attend (Toronto’s YG Flash MOB)
4) DANCE GROUPS
If you and you friends like learning the dance moves to your favourite songs then why not form your own K-POP cover dance group! This is especially popular among K-POP fans in Toronto. Now of course you can just do this for fun, but if you’re comfortable enough there are all sorts of contests and events that you can participate in. I actually have friends who have formed their own K-POP cover dance groups and have competed in events. In particular a group named UNDERGROUP PULSE (UP) have participated in numerous events and won prizes including: A1 Chinese Radio Dance It Up Competition: Best Live Fan Award in 2013, AllTV Kpop Cover Dance Competition: 3rd Place, Nongshim K-POP Dance Festival: 1st Place, and So You Think You Can K-POP: 2nd Place in 2014. Make sure to check out their facebook page and show your love to UP
Check out one of their dance covers here (AOA’s Like A Cat)
3) SARAH AND TOMS
Almost every K-POPPER in the city is familiar with the store Sarah and Toms that’s located in Korea Town, 624 Bloor Street West. If not then now is your time to go check them out for yourself! This is the number one store in Toronto to buy K-POP merchandise from: posters, albums, clear files, calendar, accessories, and photocards! Of course you can just simply order things from online, but not everyone has a credit card! Not to mention the owners are really nice, and it’s a great way to spend any spare time you might have checking out the store. The cool thing about this store is that they do custom orders! So if there’s a certain album you want, just leave a request for it and they will do their best to order it in for you! Check out their official facebook page for more information! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Just-You-Sarah-Tom-Gift-Toy-Shop/101574529911559?fref=ts
2) POP GOES THE WORLD (PGTW) EVENT
Pop Goes the World is an organization, that creates all sorts of K-POP events throughout the city. Not only do they hold events in Toronto, but also other parts of Canada as well. They’re most famous for their themed dance parties that they hold once every month. Now these parties are age restricted and are mainly 19+ (due to them being held in clubs) but fear not! Every once in a while they have all ages events.
What’s really exciting about this year is that the PGTW family have arranged Toronto’s 1st ever official K-POP convention! The convention is being held at the Metro Toronto Convention Center on Saturday May 2ND 2015, and will feature a live concert from the NU’EST! Check out the PGTW official website for more details if you’re interested in attending this event! http://www.kpopcanada.com/
Of Course no K-POPPER can live without going to karaoke and singing along to their favourite songs! One of my favourite places to go with my friends is BMB Karaoke located in Korea Town at 593 Bloor Street West (by Bathurst Subway Station). They have a cheap rate of only $6.00 a person (of a group of 5 or more) and have a wide range of song selections. In particular what I like about this place is that Monday-Wednesday from 3:00PM-9:00PM they have a special offer know as HAPPY HOUR! This mean you only pay for 1h and can stay as long as you want within the given timeframe vs. just paying per hour. So if you’re looking for a place to go for some karaoke I highly suggest you check out this place!
Now these are just some of the personal things that I take part is as a fellow K-POPPER living in Toronto. I listed these things in no particular order and thought it would be nice to share with any new K-POPPER who wants to be more involved in Toronto’s K-POP community. If you have any other suggestions I would love to hear from you!!!