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Christmastime is here: Santa comes to town, tree lighting events this weekend

Santa Claus makes his appearance at the 111th annual Santa Claus Parade on Nov. 15, 2015. CNW Group/The Santa Claus Parade

Santa Claus is coming to town on Sunday. So soon, you ask? No, he is right on time.

With Christmas just over a month away, the holly and jolly festive season kicks into high gear in the GTA this weekend. The parade in Toronto is one of the highlights of the season.


Toronto Santa Claus Parade
It’s that time of year, again, when St. Nick temporarily leaves the North Pole to make his appearance at the Santa Claus Parade in Toronto on Sunday.

He is a very busy man at this time of the year. While he is making a list of who has been naughty or nice, he also has a list of places to visit before Christmas Eve.

On Sunday, Santa will make his way to the 112th annual parade but not before floats and marching bands delight children (and the young at heart). The parade starts at 12:30 p.m. at Bloor and Christie streets. It then heads down Bloor to Queen’s Park Crescent East, University Avenue, Wellington Street, and ends at Front and Jarvis streets around 3-4 p.m. Click here or see below for the parade route.

The route for the 2016 Santa Claus Parade. TORONTO SANTA CLAUS PARADE
The route for the 2016 Santa Claus Parade. TORONTO SANTA CLAUS PARADE


Ahead of the parade, the Holly Jolly Fun Run will travel the parade route at 11:45 a.m., but ends at Maple Leaf Square.

Toronto Christmas Market
Rediscover the magic of Christmas at the Toronto Christmas Market. The Christmas Market is now in its seventh year and has once again taken over the Distillery District.

Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery District. Photo via torontochristmasmarket.com.
Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery District. Photo via torontochristmasmarket.com.


Revellers can take in sparkling Christmas displays, traditional music and carols, and dance performances. There are also family-friendly activities including Santa’s House, a Ferris wheel, a carousel and a life-sized gingerbread house. You can get cozy with your loved one at the “Under the Mistletoe” sculpture, or strike a pose in the Hershey’s Kisses Deluxe Photo Booth.

The event officially kicks off on Friday with a special tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. The market runs until Dec. 22.

Tree lighting
In the lead up to next weekend’s Cavalcade of Lights at Nathan Phillips Square, several tree-lighting events will brighten up Toronto this weekend. There is also a tree-lighting event in Mississauga.

People gather at Yonge-Dundas Square for Illuminite.
People gather at Yonge-Dundas Square for Illuminite.


Illuminite, the tree-lighting ceremony at Yonge-Dundas Square, will take place on Saturday. Revellers can enjoy live music starting at 5 p.m. ahead of the tree lighting at 6 p.m.

Around the same time, a tree lighting ceremony takes place in Bloor-Yorkville. The event, which runs from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Village of Yorkville Park, features a live performance from Shawn Desman. For a suggesting donation of $2, you can enjoy some refreshments too. Money raised will go to the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research.

Christmas lights in Bloor-Yorkville. Photo via bloor-yorkville.com.
Christmas lights in Bloor-Yorkville. Photo via bloor-yorkville.com.


That same day, at 2 p.m., Rosedale will hold its own Cavalcade of Lights celebration along a portion of Yonge Street. Aside from the tree lighting, there will be live music, food and drinks, photos with Santa and carriage rides. The event runs until 6 p.m.

Light Up the Square
Mississauga’s Celebration Square will be turning into a wintry wonderland this Saturday with Light Up the Square.

There will be skating, carousel rides, family activities, a pop up Holiday Street Market and plenty of cheer to go around. There will also be food trucks, in case you get hungry. Canadian singer Stella Rio will perform Christmas classics and new music to help celebrate the season. Mayor Bonnie Crombie, members of council and Santa Claus will be on hand for an official lighting of the Christmas tree.

Light Up the Square runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and guests can check out the Holiday Street Market all day long from noon to 11 p.m.

Hot Docs Podcast Festival
You listen to them while your commuting to work, washing the dishes, at the gym and falling asleep. Now, you can see your favourite podcasts live on stage. Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema is hosting a Podcast Festival from Friday to Sunday.

It includes one-of-a-kind events, live podcasts, various panels and networking opportunities. Some of the podcasts include Criminal, Under the Influence with Terry O’Reilly, and Mystery Show.

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo
Wine and cheese lovers, rejoice. The Gourmet Food and Wine Expo is back for its 22nd year at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

People gather at the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo. Photo via foodandwineexpo.ca.
People gather at the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo. Photo via foodandwineexpo.ca.


The four-day-long event, which starts on Thursday, will allow you to sip and savour your way through international gourmet cuisine, exotic delicacies and over 1,500 fine wines, spirits and beers. Highlights include the Tutored Tasting Program, the Chef Stage and the Spiritology Pavilion.

There will also be live entertainment throughout the show. Guests must be 19 years or older to attend.

Trinity Bellwoods Flea Pre Holiday Market
It’s never too early to get a head start on your Christmas shopping list, and the Trinity Bellwoods Flea Pre Holiday Market is here to help.

The market features 75 vendors offering one-of-a-kind gifts. You will be able to find everything from art, fashion and beauty to baby supplies, jewelry and food. The market runs Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Studio Bar located on Dundas Street West near Bathurst Street.

TTC closure

Line 3 shutdown
TTC riders in the east end will have to rely on shuttle buses to get them downtown on Saturday. The entire Line 3 (Scarborough RT), from McCowan to Kennedy stations, will be shut down for track work.

Line 3 will also be shut down on Nov. 26 for track work. Shuttle buses will be running.