“Christmas is all around me and so the feeling grows … so if you really love Christmas, c’mon and let it snow,” Bill Nighy sings as his character Billy Mack in Love Actually.
This weekend, the magic of Christmas will continue to envelop every area of Toronto, so take your time and enjoy what the spirit of the season has to offer. There are so many events to choose from but we have made the planning easier for you with some suggestions below. The list also includes a couple of non-festive events taking place this weekend.
Cavalcade of Lights
The Cavalcade of Lights will illuminate Nathan Phillips Square and kick off the city’s holiday season this Saturday night. The 52-year tradition features the first lighting of Toronto’s 60-foot Christmas tree, a skating party, fireworks, and performances by some of Canada’s top musical talent. There will also be circus entertainment using fire and light by the city’s most acclaimed circus company, Illuminair. In total, more than 525,000 energy-efficient lights and 500 ornaments will twinkle during the event. The Cavalcade of Lights runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Toronto Christmas Market
The European-inspired Christmas market has returned to the Distillery Historic District for its ninth year. You can rock around the 50-foot Christmas tree adorned with more than 40,000 lights, or dance merrily as you listen to carolers, choirs and brass bands. Santa Claus and his friendly elves — who have so many places to be in so little time — will be at the market spreading good will and cheer. Browse the various vendors offering unique gifts and tummy-warming snacks. As the temperature drops, gather at the outdoor heated spaces for some beer and mulled wine. The market is open Tuesday to Sunday and is closed on Mondays. Admission on weekdays is free until Friday at 5 p.m. and $6 after that and into the weekend. Children aged two and under can attend for free.
Winter at Ontario Place
Ontario Place is kicking off winter this weekend with a series of activities and attractions on the park’s West Island. Events include a winter light exhibition, synthetic skating rink, Cinesphere featuring Blade Runner, community bonfires and over 100 trees wrapped in fairy lights. Winter at Ontario Place continues through March 17. For more information about the winter activities schedule, click here.
Toronto Christmas Pet Expo
With exactly one month to go until Christmas, the Toronto Christmas Pet Expo is taking over the International Centre in Mississauga this weekend. The event is Canada’s largest Christmas pet festival, featuring entertainment, shopping, a festive Santa’s village, pet photos with the jolly old elf and pet celebrities, including Merlin the Ragdoll, Horton McSnorton and Spartacus the Turtle. There will also be a Canadian Kennel Club sanctioned dog show and a Clawsome Cats show.
Cabbagetown Holiday Kick Off
Every part of the city is getting into the Christmas spirit, and this weekend, that includes the Cabbagetown neighbourhood. The festival on Saturday includes music, wagon rides, book giveaways and selfies with Santa. Although the event is free, you can make a monetary or food donation that will go to local children’s organizations and others in need. The holiday kick-off runs from noon to 3 p.m.
Veg Holiday Market
Do you feel that you miss out on the festive fun because you are a vegan? That was all in the past. Stop by the Artscape Wychwood Barns on Sunday for a spread of all things vegan — from holiday treats and recipes to handmade gifts and animal-free products. Around 40 vendors will be at the market, which will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 but children under five years old can attend for free.
CN Tower Climb for the United Way
Hundreds of ambitious stair-climbers will be taking part in the UP2018 United Way CN Tower Climb this weekend. Saturday’s event runs from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and features a student climb and a public climb. Sunday’s event also runs from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and is reserved for corporate and presidential climbs. There are 1,776 steps to the top of the tower. All of the funds raised goes directly to United Way’s ongoing work in fighting poverty across greater Toronto.
Tom Green in Toronto
Canadian comedian and actor Tom Green is bringing his comedy tour to the city. He’ll be making a stop at Comedy Bar on Bloor Street this Sunday night. Tom Green exploded on MTV with his ground-breaking comedy series The Tom Green Show. The success of the show landed the 47-year-old roles in movies like Road Trip, Stealing Harvard and Charlies Angels. Tickets for Sunday’s event are $34. The show gets underway at 7 p.m.
TTC and road closures
Partial Line 1 shutdown
Construction continues on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT at Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue, which means trains won’t be running between Lawrence and St. Clair stations on Saturday and Sunday. Shuttle buses will be running, and Wheels-Tran buses will be available upon request. TTC riders heading southbound on the subway line who require the elevator need to get off at York Mills Station.
Cavalcade of Lights: Several roads around City Hall will be closed from 4 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday. Click here for a full list.
Toronto Christmas Market: The northbound and southbound curb lanes of Parliament Street, from Lake Shore Boulevard East to Front Street East, will be closed from 4 p.m. on Friday to midnight Sunday.
Kidzfest: Dundas Square Street from Yonge Street to O’Keefe Lane will be closed from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday.
Cabbagetown Holiday Kick-off: Carlton Street from Parliament Street to Exchange Lane will be closed from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.