‘Tis the season to spend joyful and precious time with dear loved ones, especially with those who we don’t see often during the rest of the year. If you’re looking for things to do in December with the special people in your life, here’s a quick guide to holiday events in Toronto to help you make the most of this holiday season.
Toronto Zoo: Christmas Treats Walk
If you have a soft spot for animals, the 35th Annual Christmas Treats Walk is the holiday event for you. Watch as zoo animals get their favourite treats from Santa and the zookeepers. Admission is half-price if you bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the food bank, and the money also goes to the Endangered Species Reserve Fund. This one-day event is on December 26 and starts at 10a.m. For more information, see the official website .
Toronto’s Waterfront: Winter Wonderland Cruise
Join Santa and his elves on a special cruise by the Waterfront. Admission is $10 per person, and it is free for children aged 6 and under. There are also dog shows, photos with Santa, and skating by the harbour. The cruise sets sail on Saturdays December 11 and 18; boarding time is 10:30a.m. For more information and to buy tickets online. visit the Cruise’s site.
Many events are happening in City of Toronto museums like Colborne Lodge in High Park, Gibson House, Mackenzie house, Montgomery’s Inn, Spadina Museum, and Scarborough Museum. Daytime and evening activities include tours through recreations of historic Christmas décor, samplings of holiday treats, a full stage production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, Christmas storytelling, and workshops on baking and craft-making. Hours and admission prices vary; you can see them here.
Over 50 community skating rinks are now open for leisure skating and skating lessons. Skating at the Harbourfront Centre deserves special mention: you can listen to some of Canada’s hottest DJs spin as you skate in the Natrel rink on DJ Skate Saturday Nights, from 8p.m. to 11p.m. In addition, the Harbourfront is also offering skating lessons.
Kensington Winter Solstice
If you’re more interested in grassroots, community-driven events, join the Kensington Winter Solstice lantern parade on Tuesday December 21. Instruments and costumes are welcome, and there is also a lantern-making workshop before the parade. The parade starts at 6:30p.m. at Oxford St. and Augusta Ave., and will walk through Kensington Market toward Alexandra Park. More information.
102.1 The Edge Jingle Bell Rock
Rock music fans should check out The Edge’s holiday concert series, featuring Wintersleep, The Dirty Heads, My Chemical Romance, and others. $1 from each ticket contributes to the food bank, and non-perishable food items are also collected at the shows. Tickets are available online.
Black Creek Pioneer Village
Black Creek is offering a host of family-oriented activities throughout December. There is Christmas by Candlelight, where the Village becomes the setting of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, with holiday decorations, live music, and various activities like carol singing, a reading of Dickens’ seminal work, and a meeting with Scrooge.
You can also have Lunch with Santa, with the chance to take pictures with him and ride on a horse-drawn wagon around the village. There’s also Gingerbread Village, a new event that displays edible replicas of Toronto tourist landmarks. The gingerbread models will be raffled off to sugar-loving winners on December 22.
Finally, there are Sunday Christmas dinners, with baked potato soup or winter greens to start, roasted turkey with mashed potatoes as entrée, and bread pudding or chocolate mousse for dessert.
Prices vary for each event, and discounts are available for Black Creek members. Tickets are available at 416-667-6295 or at blackcreek.ca.
Downsview Park: Trail of Lights
A popular annual Toronto tradition, Downsview Park lights up the holiday nights with over 400.00 LED lights, animated displays and themed arches. The Trail of Lights runs from now to the New Year, from 6p.m. to 11p.m.; Wednesday evenings are for pedestrians only, while vehicle drive-throughs are on Thursday to Sunday evenings. The Trail of Lights is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Admission tickets are available online.