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Celebrate the Christmas countdown this weekend

Members of the local community skate in a media preview of the Bentway Skate Trail, a 220-metre ribbon of ice running under a section of the Gardiner Expressway, in Toronto, on Jan. 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Christmas Day and Hanukkah are literally around the corner so if you’re done your shopping and looking for a fun way to celebrate, or are looking for those last-minute gifts and can’t face the malls, we’ve got you covered. And, the biggest gift to transit riders is that there are no planned subway closures this weekend.

Bentway Skate Trail Opening
It’s a winter wonderland under the Gardiner Expressway as the Bentway staking trail opens for the season. Skate arm in arm with the one you love, bring the little ones or just get a group of friends together to enjoy the 220-metre figure-eight skate trail. Take a break and enjoy the warming stations while sipping hot chocolate — or an adult beverage for those of age. The holiday festivities runs from Friday to Jan. 5 from noon to 9 p.m. Don’t worry, you can rent skates on site for a reasonable price.

12 Beers of the Holidays
If your holiday cheer looks more like a plucky pilsner than a cup of spiced eggnog, you’ll want to head down to the Gladstone on Friday for an epic 12 Beers of Christmas Party! Sample beers from 12 different Ontario breweries while enjoying a live performance from The Goodtimes Holiday Band. And bring out that supremely ugly Christmas sweater for a chance to win a ton of prizes. This is a ticketed event.

Kensington Market Winter Solstice
Ignite the longest night of the year at the 30th Kensington Market Winter Solstice Parade. Gather at the corner at Oxford Street and Augusta Avenue around 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Lanterns will be available for sale in the hour before down the street at 260 Augusta. The parade starts at 7 p.m. This non-profit, commercial free event will be fun for the whole family. And then why not take in some dinner or drinks or even live music in one of the city’s most creative neighbourhoods.

Chanukah Menorah Lighting
Chanukah is here and it brings with it a message of light and warmth. Gather the family and head on down to Mel Lastman Square on Sunday where you’ll be reminded that the days may be shorter and darker but the greatest challenges can be brightened with steadfast faith and determination. The event begins at 6 p.m.

The Distillery Christmas Market
It’s become a holiday tradition for thousands of people and this weekend will be your last chance to check out the Christmas market at the Distillery District. From tiny booths to local shops, you’re bound to find something for that hard to buy friend or relative. Or just walk the cobbles and breath in the Christmas spirit with a cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine. There are rides for the kids, carollers spreading Christmas cheer and plenty of places to grab something to eat.