WHAT’S NEW & HAPPENING IN TORONTO, HOLIDAY 2019
Thursday, November 14th, 2019
Download the press release: What’s New & Happening in Toronto (Holiday 2019).
TORONTO, CANADA November 2019 – From favourite holiday traditions to the city’s hottest new restaurants, here are the latest announcements across Canada’s largest city. Click through for a full list of updates on New Events, Annual Holiday Programming, New Year’s Eve, Restaurants, Exhibits and Performing Arts.
Go Tours Canada is excited to announce all-new 2019 Toronto Christmas Market Walking Tours. Launching with the Christmas Market on Thursday November 14th, the walk features Go Tours’ classic Distillery District history along with limited-time winter stories. Learn about winter life in 1800’s Toronto and why whisky may have been your best friend in the most frigid months. Best of all, weekend visitors get in free with a Walking Tour! Skip the line and the admission fee when you book on Friday afternoon, Saturday or Sunday during the 2019 Toronto Christmas Market.
Canada’s Wonderland is being transformed into a magical, winter wonderland for WinterFest – an all-new, immersive holiday experience, for the first time in the amusement park’s history. This event will feature ice-skating on Snow Flake Lake (in front of the iconic Wonder Mountain), more than a dozen live shows and holiday entertainment, thousands of spectacular lights and hundreds of beautiful Christmas trees throughout the park, including two 50-foot Christmas trees on International Street. There will be a nightly tree-lighting ceremony, savory and sweet holiday food, hands-on family activities like cookie decorating with Mrs. Claus, Pics with St. Nick, crafts and interactions with the newest park characters like Jack Frost, the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Ice Prince and Ice Princess. Select dates, Nov. 22 to Dec. 31
Christmas GLOW comes to Toronto this year. Glow has become one of the world’s largest indoor Christmas festivals, brightening up 11 cities in 3 countries. Join the joyous 1.6 million guests ready to Glow and celebrate the warmth of the season! It’s all the magic and wonder of an outdoor festival, hosted inside their cozy and spacious venue. Open Nov 28 – Jan 4, 2020
Terra Lumina: An Enchanted Night Walk into a Bright Future is coming this winter to the Toronto Zoo. Terra Lumina takes visitors on a journey through a luminous vision of our planet’s future. Passing through a portal, travelers will be transported to a fantastical vision of the year 2099, a time when humans have learned to live in harmony with nature, protecting our planet and the wildlife that calls it home. Created specifically for the Toronto Zoo, Terra Lumina creates positive moments of connection. Vibrant lighting, multimedia effects, animated projections, inspiring storytelling, and an original score conjure an immersive future world that shares a message of hope for a brighter tomorrow. Select dates in December
For the first time ever this holiday season, Toronto’s busiest transit hub, Union Station, will be hosting its own free, outdoor ice skating rink as part of its annual “Union Holiday” celebrations. Approximately half the size of an NHL ice rink, the new skating spot on Front Street will be the largest free outdoor rink in Toronto and it’ll be completely free to access — skate rentals included! You can hit the rink at Union Station’s Sir John A. MacDonald Plaza from November 29 until January 4
From December 13th to January 5th, 2020, Toronto’s luxury urban oasis, Hotel X Toronto, is joining forces with the comedic talents from The Second City Toronto for the first time to host a free holiday show for hotel guests that the whole family can enjoy: The Second City Presents –Improv Showdown! All hotel guests who book a Family Fun Package at Hotel X Toronto during the holiday season will get free, unlimited access to The Second City’s Improv Showdown. Because the show’s plot is always changing, guests can see the show as many times as they like!
For the fourth year in a row, the CF Toronto Eaton Centre will erect and light up a 108-foot tree, the tallest Christmas tree in the country. The official reveal and lighting ceremony will take place on November 14, and usually features some surprise guests to help ring in the holiday season!
The Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery District is a five week-long event celebrating the sounds, sights and scents of Christmas. Gather with friends and family, sip on mulled wine and peruse the selection of hand-made ornaments, wood carvings and crafts. Free admission Tuesday to Friday and charged admission Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday (not open on Mondays). Open November 14 – December 22
The popular Nutcracker Afternoon Tea experience at the Shangri-La Hotel returns November 14 – January 5, 2020. Inspired by the famous ballet, The Nutcracker, this tea service features a selection of whimsical delicacies. Also available is their children’s Nutcracker Afternoon Tea featuring a chocolate mousse festive bear, snowman macaron, Christmas cake pop as well as other holiday-inspired treats. You can also experience Gingerbread Afternoon Tea – the perfect holiday pairing of Nutcracker Afternoon Tea – followed by a gingerbread house decorating lesson with their pastry chef to decorate and take home. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 29 – December 15, December 20 – 24.
Black Creek Pioneer Village has tons going on this holiday season. Step into a Christmas wonderland as your senses come alive with the sights and sounds of a Victorian Christmas. With special Christmas activities, your family will discover old traditions and perhaps start some new ones of your own. Make Christmas crafts, decorate cookies, enjoy a wagon ride and explore the village. Gather round Santa’s chair to hear a classic Christmas tale read by the jolly man himself. During Christmas by Lamplight, enjoy the wonder of a Victorian Christmas as Black Creek Pioneer Village is transformed by the glow of lamps and lanterns, flickering candles and cozy fireplaces. Looking for a unique present this holiday season – Black Creek Pioneer Village has you covered with one-of-a-kind experiences, handcrafted items and satisfying treats as well! Select dates, November 16 to December 23
The Santa Claus Parade has been a highlight on the calendars of tiny Toronto revellers since 1913! Fantastic floats leave the corner of Parliament and Bloor Street in the company of marching bands, dancers, prancers and costumed characters all cheered on by hundreds of excited Santa fans along the 5-kilometre route. November 17th
For a truly unique shopping experience visit the One Of A Kind Winter Show, November 21 – December 1 at the Enercare Centre in Exhibition Place. For more than 40 years, the show has brought together a community of makers and craft enthusiasts who unite over an appreciation of creativity and an unparalleled passion to support local businesses.
InterContinental Yorkville is bringing back their IGLOOsive experience. A special Igloo menu has been created by their culinary team to keep you warm. Starts November 21st
The Aurora Winter Festival returns to the West Island at Ontario Place that will feature mystical worlds, stunning light installations, enchanting characters, fabulous food experiences, marketplaces, amusement rides and more! Start your trip through the brilliant Light Tunnel and make your way to the Frozen Pond where you can skate amidst magical light displays. Selfie your way through the Polar Passage and follow the laughter to the midway and giant Tube Park! After some thrills on the holiday rides, complete your day with a visit with the man himself, Santa Claus. But don’t forget about the delicious food trucks, festive marketplace and Entertainment Tent with daily live performers next to the spectacular 50-foot holiday tree. Select dates, November 22 – Jan 5, 2020
The Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood gets in on the fun in the Village of Yorkville Park (Cumberland Street and Bellair Street) with Holiday Magic. Featuring a musical performance by Ruth B, the event also shines the spotlight on animated storefront windows, enchanting displays and charming decorations filled with holiday magic. November 23rd
Miracle is a Christmas-themed pop-up cocktail bar that serves holiday cocktails in a festive setting. With kitschy holiday décor, professionally-developed cocktails and the nostalgic energy of the best office party you’ve ever been to, Miracle is sure to get even the grouchiest grinch in the holiday spirit. 146 Ossington Avenue, North of Queen Street W. November 25th – December 26th
The 53rd annual Cavalcade of Lights officially kicks off the holiday season with the illumination of Toronto’s famous Christmas tree in Nathan Phillips Square. Featuring performances by some of Canada’s top musical talent, a brilliant fireworks show and an outdoor skating party, the event takes place November 30th.
Enjoy winter in a place like no other in Toronto – a reimagined historic brickmaking factory nestled in Toronto’s Don Valley. This winter Evergreen Brick Works is transformed into a magical Winter Village where you can skate on the free, outdoor skating rink, shop local craft goods at the Holiday Market, listen to live music and end your stay with tasty and toasty eats and drinks. Every weekend (Saturday and Sunday) from November 30 to December 22.
Guests are invited to take part in the holiday magic at Casa Loma during A Nutcracker Christmas at the Castle. Holiday décor includes a 40ft tall tree in the Great Hall and eight other signature trees by talented Canadian designers. Kids are invited to visit Santa in his castle workshop and participate in festive arts and crafts, decorate tasty treats and more. Guest can also explore the holiday magic of Casa Loma at night select evenings. Wander through the dazzling lighting display in the gardens and experience all of Casa Loma’s holiday festivities as well as the outdoor holiday Christmas Market and performances by the Casa Loma Holiday Orchestra. Events run daily, beginning December 1st
Warm up this season with the Hoppy Holidays Beer Experience at Berkeley Church. Come sample festive brews and holiday cocktails from local breweries, ciders and distilleries. Spend the night making your boozy Christmas list from all your favourites or finding inspiration for your own holiday parties. Don’t forget to wear your ugly sweater for a chance to win prizes. December 3
The Royal Botanical Gardens is staging Winter Lights at the Rock Garden from Fridays to Sundays, Dec 6 to Jan 5 + Dec 23, 30, Jan 2. Thousands of festive lights lead you through a winter wonderland of charming Christmas melodies, festive sips and bites and the Escarpment Train Exhibit. This unique holiday experience provides a special evening for you and your loved ones to capture those perfect holiday memories!
Part Christmas market and part carnival – shop for unique gifts, ride a carousel, go for a skate or enjoy a festive cocktail at the ice bar from December 7 – 23 at the Holiday Fair Nathan Phillips Square.
Santa is making a special trip to the CN Tower and he wants you to join him for breakfast 346 metres above the city! Enjoy a buffet breakfast with your family and have your own photo taken with the big guy himself. All children will receive a special gift and one complimentary photo with Santa. Ticket includes breakfast buffet, special gift (one per child), photo (one per child), and access to the LookOut and Glass Floor levels. December 8 & 15
The Bentway’s 220 metre figure-eight skate trail opens for the holiday season on December 20th and offers Toronto residents and visitors alike a chance to skate under the Gardiner Expressway from 12-9pm each day until January 5th. The Bentway Skate Trail offers guests a winter village with bar, warming stations, hot chocolate and will feature a very special Polar Bear Skate – a twist on the traditional polar bear dip inviting skaters to strip down and skate in their knickers – slated for Sunday, December 29th. The Bentway Skate Trail will remain open following the holiday season with an amended schedule – weekdays 5-9pm and weekends 12-9pm.
December 26 to January 5, 2020, ROM for the Holidays invites guests of all ages to discover the wonders of nature with hands-on activities and live entertainment. Enjoy extended hours and take part in interactive experiences inspired by the feature exhibitions like Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
Check out a wide variety of (holiday) movies playing at the Cinesphere in Ontario Place this season! Blade Runner 2049, Scrooged, Love Actually, E.T. are just a few of the great flicks playing. Various dates in November & December
The City of Toronto Historical Sites put on a wide variety of fun, family friendly activities during the holidays. Learn more about what is going on this season at places such as Colborne Lodge, Fort York and many more! Various dates in November & December.
NEW YEAR’S EVE
Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Nathan Phillips Square. Ring in the New Year with DJ skating parties sponsored by Tim Hortons, live musical performances and spectacular fireworks. Admission is free to this all-ages, alcohol-free event.
How do you plan on starting the New Year? On December 31st, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada will be hosting its second annual 19+ New Year’s Eve shell-ebration!
Ring in the New Year at the Aga Khan Museum with a lavish celebration! Saharan Splendours 2020 New Year’s Eve Celebration features a buffet dinner, a DJ and dancing and special exhibition galleries open.
Elevate your New Year’s celebration and ring in the New Year on top of Toronto at the CN Tower! All event guests are encouraged to bring a pair of clean unused socks to donate to Socks 4 Souls Canada.
• Dance the night away on the Glass Floor as the DJ spins Top 40 hits. Tantalize your taste buds with delicious local cuisine, including roast beef tenderloin, Ontario artisanal charcuterie & cheeses, bao buns, tacos and passed hors d’oeuvres and sweets. Party favours and poutine at midnight, followed by a dessert buffet featuring some of the CN Tower’s sweetest creations. This party has a view that can’t be beat!
• Why should the adults have all the fun? Join the CN Tower for an early New Year’s Eve celebration as they count down to 2020 from on top of Toronto! As the sun sets on 2019, live entertainment will usher in 2020. Enjoy a buffet featuring a selection of kids’ favourite foods and some healthy choices too! You’ll be home early enough to do it all over again at midnight. 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm (sunset and countdown at 4:50 pm).
• New Year’s Eve in 360 Restaurant – four-course Canadian-inspired menu, starting off with a taste of the 360 Blanc de Blancs Sparkling. First reservation at 4:30 pm, and last at 10:00 pm. Ticket includes access to 360 Restaurant, four-course menu and wine pairings.
Hy’s Steakhouse and Cocktail Bar has returned to Toronto’s financial district with a spectacular new flagship at the corner of Bay St. and Richmond St. W. (365 Bay St.) Timeless and dramatic, the impressive 18,000-square-foot space ushers the beloved Canadian-family-owned-and-operated establishment into its 65th year of operation, building on Hy’s classic menu and tableside experience with an expanded bar and lounge program to deliver a modern steakhouse at its finest. Opens October 25th.
Located at York Mills Shopping Centre, Babel is a welcoming neighbourhood restaurant serving delicious, creative and colourful Mediterranean fare. Featuring live-fuel cooking and warm hospitality, Babel is open for lunch and dinner daily. Embracing the cultural mosaic, Babel’s chefs pay tribute to the culinary traditions of countries that border the Mediterranean Sea – including Greece, Turkey, Israel, Morocco and Lebanon – just to name a few. In addition to shared platters of flatbreads, salads, spreads and dips, Babel’s menus are centered around the use of the kitchen’s 12-foot hearth, featuring meat, fish and vegetables cooked over an open flame. Opens November 1st.
Eataly Toronto opens at Manulife Centre. The authentic Italian marketplace opens its first Canadian location with over 10,000 products, seven food counters, four restaurants and an in-house brewery. Over three floors, guests can explore the many flavours of Italy’s 20 diverse regions at Eataly Toronto. The brand’s immersive approach celebrates Italian culture through its one-of-a-kind in-store elements, which all connect to Eataly’s guiding pillars of Eat, Shop, Learn. Eataly was originally founded on the foundation of the Slow Food Movement of good, clean & fair food. The selection fits any wallet and offers something for everyone. From $2.20 Focaccia Genovese to vintage Barolo and white truffles, Eataly is sure to satisfy every palate and mood. Opens November 13th.
Gusto 501, designed by the award winning architecture firm PARTISANS, will anchor Toronto’s evolving East End, with an inspired space and innovative culinary experience. It’s a multi-level restaurant that will offer an array of independent dining experiences designed to be distinct to each of the building’s five levels. The varied options include an open concept ground floor dining room, semi-private amari lounge, cocktail bar, top-floor chef tasting kitchen, aptly named ‘Attico’, and a seasonal rooftop patio. The menu will integrate some of the much loved classic dishes from its sister restaurant, Gusto 101, as well as fresh takes on contemporary Italian fare. Opens November 27th.
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) hosts The Wildlife Photographer of the Year: All-new photographs from around the world reveal striking wildlife, breathtaking landscapes, and the remarkable beauty of our natural world. The exhibition opens to the public November 23.
New Musical! The ornaments are hung up, the tree is lit, and the JOY is here with jingle bells! A holiday musical production that will have your feeling the warmth inside your heart – get ready to JINGLE all the way! Bring the whole family and share the gift of Famous PEOPLE Players! November 15th – Jan 4th, 2020
Ross Petty’s latest production LIL’ RED ROBIN HOOD will play at the Winter Garden Theatre from November 29 to January 4, 2020.
Soulpepper Theatre Company once again presents their wonderful staging of Dickens’ timeless tale, A Christmas Carol, starting December 1st. Their version of Ebenezer Scrooge’s story is richly drawn and sparsely staged, bringing the original’s emotional stakes and lovable assortment of characters to life.
Back by popular demand, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is presenting Home Alone in Concert with the orchestra and Resonance Youth Choir playing and singing along with the film. Enjoy this new Christmas classic in a fresh way, at Roy Thomson Hall December 6 – 7.
Join Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra for an uplifting and profoundly moving performance of Handel’s Messiah. Experience this baroque masterpiece in the intimate and acoustically perfect Koerner Hall. This is a limited seasonal run, on stage December 17 – 20.
Alexander Shelley, Music Director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, conducts Handel’s Messiah with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, and four dazzling Canadian soloists. Experience music’s most inspiring message of faith—in Mozart’s colourful orchestration. December 17 – 22.
The National Ballet of Canada welcomes back The Nutcracker starting December 12th. One of the country’s favourites – a traditional version of the beloved Holiday classic, with all the trimmings. With choreography by renowned Canadian choreographer James Kudelka, the production is filled to the brim with whimsy, fantasy, charm and humour.
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