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Monday, November 11, 2013

Experience holiday cheer in Toronto


TORONTO (November 7, 2013) – There’s nothing like the holiday season in Canada’s largest city; the streets bustle with winter festivities with many packed, outdoor skating rinks, a one-of-a-kind Christmas market, theatrical and musical performances and special restaurant menus.

Toronto’s famous diversity adds to the holiday spirit with many themed-displays, a variety of annual events, and different neighbourhood celebrations.

Book your fun-filled Toronto getaway on seetorontonow.com, a one-stop shop to an ultimate Toronto holiday experience with the best rates and availability of Toronto’s hotels, and information on events, attractions and culinary offerings. While making holiday plans in Toronto, don’t forget to check out some of things going on in the city this festive season:

ATTRACTIONS
·         The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) offers two new exhibits this fall. David Bowie Is shows until November 27, 2013 and features more than 300 objects from Bowie’s personal archive. The Great Upheaval: Modern Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection opens November 30 and showcases the dynamism and innovation of art produced in Europe in the years leading up to the First World War. www.ago.net  
·         Artists, scientists and economists joined forces to create Carbon 14: Climate is Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) The resulting exhibition is open until February 2, 2014 and features 13 art installations all confronting the facts of climate change and responding in powerful and creative ways. www.rom.on.ca

·         Toronto Zoo celebrates Fall with interactive and themed activities, educational programs, tours, keeper talks and enrichment programs with the animals including Fall Foliage Tours, Photography-The Zoo and You-sessions, Preparing Your Garden For Winter and Tundra Trek Tours. www.torontozoo.com
·         When it comes to holiday events, Toronto’s CN Tower tops the list of unique, unexpected and unforgettable settings providing a variety of options to mark the season.  The CN Tower provides a unique and versatile backdrop for any holiday event, accommodating 2 to 2,000 for an exquisite reception, leisurely lunch, spectacular dinner dance, or anything in between. Experience a sumptuous sit-down lunch or dinner with seasonal themed menu options and pricing at 360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower. www.cntower.ca
·         TIFF Bell Lightbox offers hands-on holiday workshops for children and youth from December 28 to January 5. Workshops vary from Stop-Motion Animation to How to Make a Film in a Day as well as Prosthetics and Special Effects Make-Up and Make ‘Em Laugh: Physical Comedy. www.tiff.net  
·         Launching November 1 in the HSBC Gallery at TIFF Bell Lightbox, and as TIFF's first major original exhibit, David Cronenberg: Evolution, parallels David Cronenberg's evolution as a filmmaker with his longstanding fascination of the possibilities and perils of human evolution itself. Divided into three major sections that provide a loosely chronological overview of Cronenberg's career, the exhibition traces the development of the director's evolutionary themes across his filmography through more than sixty original artifacts, visionary designs, and rare and unseen footage. tiff.net/cronenberg/exhibition
·         From December 14-22 ring in the festive season at TIFF Bell Lightbox with four beloved holiday films: White Christmas (1954) starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye as army buddies/song-and-dance duo trying to save a failing inn; Miracle on 34th Street (1947), a tale of a young lawyer defending the “real” Santa Claus; an adaptation of the Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol (1951); and the unequivocal favourite, It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). www.tiff.net
·         New to the Ontario Science Centre, The AstraZeneca Human Edge explores the limits that athletes, adventure-seekers and survivors discover through rigorous training, determination or risk-taking. What are the boundaries and thresholds of the human machine? How far can we push our own limits? The AstraZeneca Human Edge will reveal new and exciting science through "bodies-on" activities and new perspectives on unique artifacts. www.ontariosciencecentre.ca
·         The Hockey Hall of Fame is set to welcome its newest Inductees - Chris Chelios, Geraldine Heaney, Scott Niedermayer, Brendan Shanahan and Fred Shero. Be a part of the excitement November 8-11 with tributes to the Class of 2013 including an autograph signing with Leaf great Wendel Clark, an Inductee Q&A Fan Forum, a limited-edition Lanny McDonald and Darryl Sittler autographed poster giveaway. Highlighting the Sunday afternoon schedule of Induction Weekend is the annual Haggar Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Classic where honoured members Darryl Sittler and Lanny McDonald captain two star-studded teams featuring Maple Leaf Legends and the 2013 Player Inductees, in their historic return to Maple Leaf Gardens (Mattamy Athletic Centre at the Gardens). www.hhof.com 

EVENTS
·         The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair celebrates its 90th year. The largest indoor agricultural and international equestrian competition in the world runs from November 1-10 and showcasing everything agriculture. More than 340,000 visitors annually are drawn to see over 300 vendors, regal horse shows, entertaining dog shows and everything in between. RoyalFair.org
·         Santa Claus visits Toronto’s streets in The Santa Claus Parade Sunday November 17. A tradition since 1905, fantastic animated floats, two dozen marching bands and a couple thousand costumed participants wind their way through the city. TheSantaClausParade.com
·         Start and finish holiday shopping at the One of a Kind Christmas Show and Sale from November 28 to December 8. This craft show features works by hundreds of unique artists, designers and craftspeople while creating an interactive personal shopping experience. www.oneofakindshow.com
·         Inspired by the Old World and influenced by the New, the Lowe’s Toronto Christmas Market illuminates the Distillery Historic District from November 29 to December 15. The market holds hundreds of unique and local handcrafted products, specialty beer and mulled wine gardens while musicians, carolers and children’s choirs provide family entertainment. TorontoChristmasMarket.com
Cavalcade of Lights presented by Great Gulf returns on Saturday, November 30 and marks the official start to   holiday season in Toronto.  Featuring the illumination of Toronto’s official Christmas tree, performances by some of Canada’s top musical talent, a fireworks show and a skating party at Nathan Phillips Square, the festive event is the leading family holiday tradition in Toronto. toronto.ca/cavalcade
·         At Mississauga Celebration Square, the New Year’s Eve party starts with treats from gourmet food trucks and continues with Mississauga Art Council’s Limelight Block Party featuring the city’s best dance groups and up-and-coming musicians and artists. www.mississauga.ca/portal/celebrationsquare
·         Winterlicious Toronto brings a series of creative culinary cuisine from around the world at great prix fixe value January 31 to February 13, 2014. 100 of Toronto’s top restaurants participate in offering guests the new, exotic, and/or traditional. www.seetorontonow.com/annual-events/winterlicious
SKATING and SKIING
·         The Harbourfront Centre hosts a number of winter events from November to February. The Natrel® Rink is the place to be with daytime skating lessons and music-filled nights. www.harbourfrontcentre.com  
·         Skate in the open air at Nathan Phillips Square or one of the city parks such as Christie Pitts, High Park, Riverdale Park East or Rosedale Park. The City of Toronto website has more information on parks and ice conditions all season www.torotno.ca/parks/skating/outdoor-rinks.htm
·         Toronto Ski and Snowboard Centres let you discover or rediscover the adventure in your own backyard. Certified instructors lead programs for all ages, absolute beginners to advanced skiers/snowboarders. www.Toronto.ca/ski

THEATRE and PERFORMANCES
·         The Ed Mirvish Theatre hosts the world premiere of Aladdin, the new musical from November 1 to Jan 5, 2014. As the winner of eight 2012 Tony Awards, this anticipated show is a timeless story with extravagant sets and costumes and a host of memorable characters and songs. Aladdin will transport you to a place you only know in your dreams. www.mirvish.com
·         The National Ballet of Canada performs two holiday classics:  Swan Lake (November 9-17) remains a central work of the classical ballet canon since its premiere in Moscow in 1877. From December 14 to January 4, 2014 a family favourite, The Nutcracker, enthralls audiences with costumes, humour and fantasy. www.National.Ballet.ca
·         This year at the Elgin Theatre, acclaimed producer Ross Petty performs his version of The Little Mermaid. Known for his farcical pantomimes of traditional fairy tales, Petty appears as a female character in these plays, now an ongoing tradition. www.rosspetty.com
·         Don’t miss good laughs at The Second City Holiday Spectacular (Miracles Not Included) opening November 18. The Second City Holiday Spectacular (Miracles Not Included) is an irreverent new collection of original sketches, songs, and improvisations that celebrate and satirize all the things that make the holiday season special -- from office gift exchanges and awkward family reunions to overworked elves. www.secondcity.com

SHOPPING
·         The Toronto Eaton Centre gets decked out this season with holiday lights and decorations. Finish your shopping amidst the festive atmosphere. www.torontoeatoncentre.com
·         Elaborate holiday windows are revealed in November. Bundle up and take a stroll to see the stories told by The Hudson’s Bay Company (Queen and Yonge) and Holt Renfrew (Bay and Bloor). www.thebay.com; www.holtrenfrew.com 
·         For luxury and designer labels, head to Yorkdale, boasting the largest number of first-in-Canada stores and luxury brands. Yorkdale offers it all in style: exclusive designer labels, home décor, fine cuisine, and technology, as well as a list of exceptional guest services. www.yorkdale.com
·         Fashion conscious shoppers who prefer designer labels and leading brands visit Toronto Premium Outlets. Shoppers can expect impressive collections of high quality outlet stores from the finest brands and savings of 25 to 65 percent every day. torontopremiumoutlets.ca
·         It's the thrill of the find that draws savvy shoppers to Vaughan Mills. An exceptional mix of outlets and specialty concept stores make it a top destination. One of the most unique collections found anywhere in Canada presents an unrivalled outlet shopping experience for savvy shoppers from all over the globe. www.vaughanmills.com
 
NEIGHBOURHOODS
·         Presented by the Downtown Yonge BIA, Winter Magic transforms the heart of downtown into a winter playground with five unique, seasonal events. These events include: Ice, Wine and Dine, an outdoor food and wine festival on historic Elm St.; Illuminite, a dazzling  tree lighting ceremony; Buskertainment, featuring weekend street performers; Kidzfest, a full day of free rides, entertainment and meet-and-greets; and the Window Wonderland holiday window display competition. www.wintermagic.ca

·         A 40-foot tree decorates the historic Distillery District. www.thedistillerydistrict.com

·         At Yonge-Dundas Square stands a 40-foot sculptural Christmas tree dressed in 52,000 blue and white lights. www.ydsquare.ca

·         Christmas trees full of blue lights line the neighbourhoods of Summerhill and Greektown on the Danforth.  www.greektowntoronto.com

·         Santa Claus also visits the historic Village of Streetsville in Mississauga November 24 in a parade of 75 groups and floats. www.villageofstreetsville.com

·         In December, Kensington Market celebrates the Winter Solstice, a celebration of light on the longest, darkest night of the year. This participatory lantern parade gathers a crowd to light up the streets. kensingtonmarket.to

RESTAURANTS
·         The Drake Hotel’s restaurant offers a special prix fixe lunch menu through the holidays. For under $30, get three courses with festive items like roasted pumpkin ravioli, winter market soup and doughnut bread pudding. Or, you could splurge for the Temaki dinner feast, a roll-your-own-sushi platter that includes lobster. www.thedrakehotel.ca 

·         The Fairmont Royal York Hotel’s famous Christmas Turkey to Go full turkey dinner with all the fixings costs a couple hundred dollars but saves a whole lot of time — and you can even have it delivered. The hotel is donating one turkey to the Daily Bread Food Bank for every order placed. www.fairmont.com/royalyork

Get to Toronto on Via Rail Canada viarail.ca; get around on the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), the
city’s local transit system ttc.ca; and see the sites with the Toronto CityPASS which provides admission into five top attractions citypass.com/toronto.

For more information visit SeeTorontoNow.com or call 1-800-499-2514.

About Tourism Toronto
Tourism Toronto, Toronto's Convention and Visitors Association, is an industry association of more than 1,200 members established to sell and market the greater Toronto region as a remarkable destination for tourists, convention delegates and business travellers around the globe. Tourism Toronto operates in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture as Regional Tourism Organization 5, representing the cities of Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton. For more information please visit seetorontonow.com
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