Trish Bongard Godfrey

What's On For the Holidays: December Event Guide

03 December 2015
Trish Bongard Godfrey

There's plenty to do this December in our neighbourhood and across the city. However you celebrate - and however you like to have fun - there's something for everyone happening this month. Here's a guide to some of the most exciting events this holiday season, including some opportunities to give back to the community by volunteering or donating to charity.

CONCERTS

Wolcum Yole

Dec. 4, 8 pm, Grace Church-on-the-Hill

Upper Canada Choristers celebrate the holiday season with harpist Emily Belvedere.

CBC Sounds of the Season

Dec. 4, 5:30 am–7 pm, CBC Broadcasting Centre

Give generously! Support GTA food banks through a silent auction, plus live performances by musicians and CBC personalities.

Lessons & Carols

Dec. 6, 2:30 pm, St. Michael and All Angels Anglican Church

Sing carols and hear the Christmas story told through scripture, with the Wychwood Clarinet Choir.

Cirque de la Symphonie: Holiday Hits

Dec. 8-9, Roy Thomson Hall

A circus performs awe-inspiring acrobatic feats alongside the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Festival of Carols

Dec. 9, 7:30 pm, Yorkminster Park Baptist Church

Holiday-themed music and stories with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.

Handel’s Messiah

Dec. 16-19, 7:30 pm, Koerner Hall

Tafelmusik baroque orchestra performs the classic Handel's Messiah.

Toronto Children’s Chorus

Dec. 19, 2 pm, Roy Thomson Hall

Toronto Children’s Chorus & Alumni Choir perform their annual Christmas show.

Amahl & the Night Visitors

Dec. 20, 3 pm or 7 pm, Artscape Wychwood Barns

Annual one-act opera production by youth music/theatre company No Strings Theatre. 

Bravissimo! 2015

Dec. 31, 7 pm, Roy Thomson Hall

Annual New Years Eve performance of world-renowned arias from famous operas.

THEATRE & DANCE

Christmas Story at Holy Trinity

Fridays & weekends in December, Church of the Holy Trinity

This dramatization of the nativity story has been performed every December since 1938.

It’s A Wonderful Life: Live Radio Play

Dec. 3-24, Lower Ossington Theatre

Unique stage production of the classic Christmas film.

Jesus Christ Superstar

Dec. 3-27, Lower Ossington Theatre

The popular rock-opera retells the last week of Jesus’ life.

Soulful Messiah

Dec. 4-5, Harbourfront Centre

Ballet Creole combines ballet, jazz, African-Caribbean, tap and modern styles for a twist on Handel’s Messiah.

A Christmas Carol

Dec. 6, 7 pm, Runnymede United Church

All-star dramatic reading of the Dickens classic, in support of the Stop Community Food Centre.

The Nutcracker

Dec. 12-Jan. 3, Four Seasons Centre

The National Ballet’s annual production of the classic Tchaikovsky ballet.

New Year's Eve Comedy Extravaganza

Dec. 31, 7:30 pm, Massey Hall

Hosted by Shaun Majumder, featuring Canada’s funniest comedians.

MARKETS

Toronto Christmas Market

Nov. 20-Dec. 20, Distillery District

Annual holiday street market with local vendors, crafts and entertainment. Tickets are required on weekends.

One of a Kind Show

Nov. 26-Dec. 6, Enercare Centre

Browse unique handcrafted products from 800 artisans. Now in its 40th year!

Union Station Holiday Market

Nov. 30-Dec. 20, Union Station Grand Hall

Pop-up market featuring over 30 artisan shops and gourmet food vendors.

HISTORICAL

Christmas Time at Colborne Lodge

Nov. 21-Jan. 3, Colborne Lodge (High Park)

Experience a Victorian Christmas with traditional decorations, hot cider and wreath-making workshops.

Roaring Twenties Christmas

Nov. 24-Jan. 3, Spadina Museum

Celebrate the holidays 1920s-style, with period decorations, treats and hot mulled cider.

Frost Fair

Dec. 5 & 6, 10 am–4 pm, Historic Fort York

Merchants will be selling heritage–inspired products and reproduction pieces.

Christmas by Lamplight

Dec. 5, 12 & 19, Black Creek Pioneer Village

Celebrate Christmas in traditional fashion, with the entire Village lit only by candles.

FAMILY FUN

Cedarvale Park Ice Rink

starts Nov. 28, Cedarvale Park near Phil White Arena

Our local outdoor skating rink is open daily all winter.

Skating in Nathan Phillips Square

starts Nov. 28, Nathan Phillips Square

Free skating in the heart of Toronto’s holiday celebrations. Skate rental available on site.

Magical Toyland

Weekends in December, 9:30 am–5 pm, Casa Loma

Family activities including games, caroling and visits with Santa.

Magical Winterland Nights

Wednesdays in December, 5-9 pm, Casa Loma

Explore Casa Loma at night! Enjoy hot cocoa, s’mores and a holiday-themed magic show.

Pet Photos with Santa

Weekends in December, Purina Pawsway

Get your pet’s photo taken with Santa!

Toronto Zoo Holiday Shop & Drop

Dec. 5 or 12, 9:30 am–3:30 pm

The zoo provides fun childcare so parents can take care of holiday shopping.

Chanukah Funukah Fair

Dec. 6, 9:30-12:30, Miles Nadal JCC

Interactive Chanukah storytelling and crafts for kids. Kosher snacks provided.

Gingerbread Make and Bake for Kids

Dec. 27-31, Historic Fort York

Kids learn to bake 1800s gingerbread cookies using period tools and ingredients. Yum!

PARTIES & SPECTACLES

12 Trees of Christmas

Nov. 12-Jan. 3, Gardiner Museum

View 12 imaginative Christmas trees created by local contemporary artists, designers, and cultural institutions.

Bloor-Yorkville Holiday Magic

Nov. 14-Dec. 31, Bloor-Yorkville

Bloor-Yorkville lights up for the holidays, with neighbourhood lighting displays and savings and events.

Spectacle of Lights

Nov. 28-Jan. 1, Toronto Waterfront

Gorgeous light displays at the Toronto Music Garden, Fire Hall, Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, and Tall Ship at Amsterdam Bridge.

Ugly Christmas Sweater Cocktail Cruise

Dec. 18, 6 pm or 9 pm, Mariposa Cruises dock

Harbourfront cruise featuring contests for ugliest sweater and ugliest Santa costume, photobooth, cash bar, and live DJ.

New Year’s Eve at Nathan Phillips Square

Dec. 31, Nathan Phillips Square

Variety show, skating, live music & fireworks.

VOLUNTEER / DONATE

For more ideas on how you can give back this holiday season, visit volunteertoronto.ca

Drive for Dreidels

Nov. 23-Dec. 9, Miles Nadal JCC

Drop off new unwrapped toys, gift cards or monetary donations for low-income Jewish children in the GTA.

Second Harvest Turkey Drive

Dec. 12-13, Loblaws locations

Volunteers across Toronto to ask grocery shoppers to purchase a turkey and donate it to Second Harvest.

Daily Bread Food Sorting

Dec. 24, 28 & 29, 191 New Toronto Street

Help Daily Bread Food Bank sort its holiday donations. Bring donations of food or funds if possible. Register in advance online.

Scott Mission Christmas Dinner

Dec. 25, The Scott Mission

Volunteers are always needed to donate food and help serve Christmas dinner to the homeless.