What to see & do in Toronto in December ~ finding joy edition

The twinkling lights have already begun lighting up the night skies across the city and just in time! The weather is beginning to cool down the glow of holiday lights are a welcomed dose of happy. We don’t have to press pause on the holiday season but we do have to be more cautious. There are still lots of ways to find little joys this time of year. Just go with the flow according to city official health and safety guidelines. While Santa visits have gone virtual and festive gatherings will end up on zoom, we’ll try to make the most of these wild times and try to end off the year on a better note. Here are a few holiday happenings you may be interested in exploring…

Canadian Tire’s Christmas Trail: 1000 Murray Ross Parkway. This drive-along holiday experience takes you on a journey surrounded by the sights and sounds of Christmas. While safely viewing from your vehicle, you’ll encounter thousands of twinkly lights, sparkling trees, and live entertainment. We won’t give away all the magical surprises! A downloadable podcast brings the sounds of the holidays to life. Santa awaits all visitors at the end of the stunning trail for a photo opp (professional photographer, digital photo emailed).  Admission is $25 per vehicle. Tickets must be purchased online ahead of time. All proceeds going to Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities.

Canadian Tire Christmas Trail. Photo credit: Sonya Davidson

Casa Loma Holiday Light Tour: begins December 3 and runs to January 3. The fabled castle is always a favourite go-to of the festive season. This popular destination will feature a dazzling themed light display throughout the historic tunnels and gardens. The self-guided outdoor walk will be filled with spectacular decorations including Ebenezer Scrooge’s Mansion from A Christmas Carol where the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future will bring the spirit of the season. Refreshments (hot cocoa and cookies) available for purchase online ahead of visit. Tickets can be purchased online beginning November 18.

Distillery District Winter Village: the historic destination is transformed into a winter wonderland featuring starlit canopies and garlands. A grand Christmas Tree is the focal point located in Trinity Square and stands 44 feet high. Outdoor dining chalets (pre-reserved) will have comfort Canadian foods on the menus. Festive music can be heard throughout the pedestrian-only walkways as visitors explore the shops and take in holiday photo opps. New this year: you can pre-order your fresh Christmas tree or wreath and pick up at nearby parking loot. Proceeds from tree sales will go towards Forest Ontario’s tree planting and education programs.

Photo: Derek Thomson/Unsplash

Polar Drive: Toronto Pearson Parkade, 6164 Viscount Road. Opens November 27 to January 3.  Experience an immersive multi-level winter wonderland drive through that brings the magic of the holiday season to life. Photo-friendly staging filled with holiday decor, sparkling light tunnel, crystal cave and of course, Santa IRL! Visitors can also tune into 90.9 FM and sing along with our custom holiday radio station while you take in the sights of all 6 magical levels of Polar! Lots of glitter and joy produced by The Concierge Club. Early bird pricing currently $45 per vehicle.

Window Wonderland at The Junction: is the first of its kind display created with Augmented Reality (AR). The magical display is a new interactive and magical way to walk, shop and discover the Dundas Street West neighbourhood. Become immersed` in winter-inspired artwork from 20 local artists brought to life with technology right from your mobile device. Visitors can see the creations come to life by downloading the Augle App to their phones. By pointing their phone cameras at the large-scale artwork displayed on the windows of the ten storefronts they will be able to engage with the public art experience outdoors.

Photo by Tim Mossholder / Unsplash

Ross Petty’s Holiday Family Musical “There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays!” combines the best of the holiday shows and interactive entertainment to create a new kind of seasonal celebration and give families in Canada some festive joy in support of Kids Help Phone. Ross Petty’s shows have been a tradition in the city for 24 years and not to be missed. Guaranteed laughs for the entire family. The shows take place virtually on December 19 and 20. this year’s story picks up from the iconic heel click in Wizard of Oz and follows Dorothy on her journey home meeting new friends and encountering many entertaining moments along the way. Tickets for the live broadcast are $35 per household and available at www.rosspetty.com

Canadian Tire Christmas Trail. Photo credit: Sonya Davidson

The Nutcracker with The National Ballet of Canada and Cineplex: This annual tradition continues but this year, the vision of sugar plums will dance in your head right  in the comforts of your own home.  In partnership with the National Ballet of Canada, Cineplex presents a special screening of this beloved classic holiday tale that was recorded live at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto in 2008. This performance features Principal Dancers Sonia Rodriguez and Piotr Stanczyk as The Sugar Plum Fairy and Peter/The Nutcracker. This performance also includes 233 performers — 50 dancers, 98 children, 65 musicians, and 20 young singers. It will be available online ($29.99) at the Cineplex Store beginning December 4. Tickets on sale starting November 25.

Journey into Enchantment Christmas Drive Through Festival: Beginning November 20 and running until January 4, this light show is located at the Angus Glen Golf Club (Markham) and is a cute outing more suited for families with younger kids looking for an outing. You’re greeted at the entranceway by a few characters. Some displays are animated. The highlight is the sparkly tunnel for those who want photo opps. Having said that, this is a quick drive through. Ticket prices starting at $29.95 per vehicle and up to 8 passengers. Visitors are permitted to bring their furry family members as long as the pets are in the vehicle with owners at all times and safely secured. Pets are not permitted outside of the vehicle. Part of the ticket proceeds going to Sick Kids Foundation and a Toronto animal shelter. No food or drink on the premises.

Photo: KT/Unsplash

 

*Be sure to check on individual event sites for the most current news on health and safety protocols.

 

 

 

Sonya Davidson
About Sonya Davidson 688 Articles
Born and raised in Toronto, this city girl covers the latest in arts, culture, food, and style. She also shares interesting stories about Toronto's people, places, and things. Follow @theculturepearl on Instagram and Twitter.