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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Heat up the holidays with festive fun in Toronto

(News Release)
TORONTO – With spectacular shows, countless shopping opportunities, outdoor skating rinks and top-notch restaurants, Toronto transforms into an urban winter wonderland and a great getaway during the holiday season.

The city is abuzz with the holiday spirit offering cultural, culinary and magical adventures only a global city like Toronto could.  Visit www.seetorontonow.com and follow @SeeTorontoNow on Instagram and Twitter for an insider’s guide to staying in Toronto, which includes a calendar of exciting events, theatre performances, shopping destinations and hotel deals. 

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT                                                       
Winterlicious, running January 30-February 12, 2015, is one of Toronto's favourite culinary celebrations, and the perfect opportunity to explore the great variety of delicious cuisine that the city has to offer. The popular prix fixe program offers three course menus for exceptional value. The culinary event series offers a variety of programming including cooking classes and demonstrations, dinner theatre, tastings and pairings, intimate chef dinners and more! www.toronto.ca

The National Ballet of Canada’s opulent, comical and spellbinding Nutcracker was created in 1995 and has been enthralling audiences – especially children – ever since. It is a refreshingly traditional version of the story, replete with the details of childhood dreams and the appeal of fantasy, a ballet gloriously designed and costumed and brimming with affection for and insight into the passage from childhood to maturity that all children make.  James Kudelka’s glorious re-imagining of the evergreen Christmas classic is pure pleasure to experience, both for children and adults. Bursting with humour, surprise, emotion and, best of all, brilliant choreography, the ballet glides effortlessly from whimsy to bumptious comedy to awe-inspiring extravaganza to touching sentiment. It is a feast for the senses and the imagination. national.ballet.ca

The beloved TV classic RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. Come see all of your favorite characters from the special including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, of course, Rudolph, as they come to life in RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL. It’s an adventure that teaches us that what makes you different can be what makes you special. Don’t miss this wonderful holiday tradition that speaks to the misfit in all of us. Based on the animated television special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and the stage production directed and conceived by Jeff Frank and First Stage. mirvish.com

Since 1975, the One of a Kind Show & Sale has been the flagship destination to shop handmade. Stop by between November 26 and December 6 at the Enercare Centre to meet and shop from makers, artisans and designers across Canada. oneofakindshow.com

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, the largest indoor agricultural and international equestrian competition in the world, runs from November 6-15 and showcases 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  

The Toronto Zoo is the place to be on Canadian Boxing Day! Enjoy 50% off admission all day and check out the extensive Keeper Talk Program that offers a fun holiday theme and delightful seasonal treats for the Zoo's animals. Plus, if you are looking to warm-up from the cold why not drop by and visit Mstari, Twiga and Kiko in the Zoo's new Indoor Giraffe Exhibit or one of the Zoo's five indoor and exotic pavilions. torontozoo.com

Celebrate and take part in the holiday magic at Casa Loma!  Enjoy two brand new magic shows created by famed illusionist entertainers Professor Wick and the duo Incredibrent and Super Sarah! These 30 minute spectacles of illusions and wonder will amaze audiences young and old alike!  As always kids are invited to visit Santa in his castle workshop, scour the castle on a scavenger hunt, participate in creative arts and crafts, visit with wintery holiday mascots, decorate tasty treats, sing along with live carollers and much more!  In the evening experience the Magical Winterland Nights at Casa Loma (select nights in December). casaloma.ca

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) offers two new exhibits this fall. Into the Woods: Two Icons Revisite shows until February. This focused installation offers a rare opportunity to view Tom Thomson's two best-known works, The Jack Pine (1915-16) and The West Wind (1916-17), with their oil-on-panel sketches. Annie Collier, on until January 2016, traces the photographer's career from 2002 to the present. Encompassing about 40 of her large, coolly elegant prints — including works from her signature Woman with a Camera series — the exhibition presents themes that have dominated her work, from pop psychology, to the clichés and conventions of commercial photography, to the act of seeing. www.ago.net  

On at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) until January 2 is Pompeii: In the Shadow of the Volacno. Almost two thousand years ago, a volcano in southern Italy - Mount Vesuvius - erupted with tremendous force and little warning. Within 24 hours, the nearby Roman city of Pompeii was buried under a rain of hot ash and falling debris, lying undiscovered for over 1,600 years. www.rom.on.ca

When it comes to holiday events, Toronto’s CN Tower provides a variety of options to mark the season. From December 1-24, experience a sumptuous sit-down lunch with seasonal themed menu options starting at $55 at 360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower. Award-winning Canadian cuisine, wine and spectacular ambiance at 360 Restaurant provides a memorable experience.  Bring in the year 2015 as the restaurant gently revolves to offer a magnificent 360-degree view of Toronto’s city lights.  Visit the lounge one level below for after dinner cocktails. The CN Tower’s famous LookOut, Glass Floor and Sky Pod Observation Levels will be open throughout the evening for those who wish to mark the occasion with a visit to the top of Canada’s National Tower.  cntower.ca

TIFF Bell Lightbox’s major exhibition this fall features over 800 artworks and artifacts including Andy Warhol’s personal Hollywood memorabilia collections, a rarely seen Marilyn Monroe tapestry, episodes of Andy Warhol’s television series, and a re-imagined Silver Factory lounge; plus two film programmes, special guests, and a series of accompanying contemporary art installations including a livestream of Andy Warhol’s gravesite. tiff.net  

Free fall into science with the Red Bull Stratos which landed at the Ontario Science Centre October 9. This travelling exhibit makes its Canadian debut on the three-year anniversary of Austrian BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner’s supersonic freefall of 39 kilometres from a stratospheric balloon.  See the 1,450-kilogram capsule and Baumgartner’s space suit up close and imagine what it would have been like to make the jump – he accelerated from 0 to 1357.6 km per hour (Mach 1.25) in just 50 seconds before parachuting to the ground, breaking a number of world records. The Red Bull Stratos mission also delivered valuable scientific data, furthering the development of protocols for exposure to high altitude and supersonic acceleration and deceleration. ontariosciencecentre.ca

Hockey's First 3D Film is now playing exclusively at the Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF). Stanley's Game Seven combines a stunning mix of original live action, computer generated 3D animation, and classic archival footage of some of the most renowned playoff moments in Stanley Cup history. The 22 minute film plays at the top and half past the hour in the Hockey Hall of Fame's new TSN Theatre and is included in the price of admission.). hhof.com
Bata Shoe Museum is showcasing beauty, Identity, Pride: Native North American Footwear (on until January 3rd, 2016). Created by Indigenous peoples from diverse regions of North America, Beauty, Identity, Pride showcases exquisite craftsmanship, regional patterns, and beautiful decoration. The exhibition features rarely seen artifacts chosen entirely from the Bata Shoe Museum’s foremost and comprehensive collection of Native footwear. batashoemuseum.ca

December 12-21 at Yonge Dundas Square is your chance to be a part of Toronto’s first annual Toronto Christmas Festival! A full 10 day festival for all to enjoy live music, shopping, sleigh ride with Santa Claus, laser light shows and much more! torontochristmasfestival.com

Bloor-Yorkville will transform into a magical holiday wonderland for this year’s Holiday Magic with a special performance by Jully Black. Bloor-Yorkville will celebrate winter in the heart of the city at Bloor-Yorkville's Annual IceFest taking place February 21 and 22, 2016,  Toronto’s premier cultural district will celebrate this landmark year by transforming into a showcase of incredible ice sculptures and live ice carving demonstrations for the entire family to enjoy. bloor-yorkville.com

Skate in the open air at Nathan Phillips Square or at 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. toronto.ca

With winter's chill setting in, warm your heart with holiday magic as the City of Mississauga’s Celebration Square lights the Square for the first time this season. On November 21 was the Official Lighting of the Christmas Trees with Mayor Crombie and Members of Council. Mississauga Celebration Square is transformed into a Winter Wonderland. Skate the night away and show your holiday cheer. mississauga.ca

The Annual City of Brampton Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony was on November 19. Mayor Susan Fennell hit the switch, illuminating a 60-foot spruce tree to a dramatic sound and light show to kick off Brampton’s festive season! There were special activities for the family: fun and games, food stations, and exciting giveaways. Hydro One Brampton gave out free energy-efficient light bulbs (limit one per person). Children can take the opportunity to come into City Hall and e-mail a letter to Santa Claus. The Salvation Army of Brampton brought the World’s Largest Kettle to the event. brampton.ca

Santa will be making two stops at the annual Winterfest on Toronto’s Waterfront, presented by the Toronto Port Authority and sponsored by Scotiabank, this holiday season! Families can join Santa and his elves for the 9th Annual Santa Cruise aboard Mariposa Cruises’ Northern Spirit or enjoy their first-ever Santa Brunch Cruise. Pets can also get in on the action for Pet Photos with Santa at PawsWay. Join Winterfest on Saturday December 13, Sunday December 14, Saturday December 20 and Sunday December 21. waterfrontbia.com

Harbourfront Centre has a jam-packed 2015/16 winter season, featuring a diverse offering of arts, culture and recreational programming for visitors of all ages and interests – all made easier to access by the return of the 509 Harbourfront Streetcar from Union Station! The Natrel Rink is opened for another season of FREE skating on November 21. Tucked away behind the Bill Boyle Artport and set against the beautiful shoreline of Lake Ontario, the city's most scenic rink awaits. It has a heated indoor change room with lockers and washrooms. Lace up and get down at Toronto’s only Saturday night music and skating event where premier DJs turn the city’s most scenic outdoor rink into a dance party on ice. harbourfrontcentre.com 

The Distillery Historic District will be hosting its annual Christmas Market, a street market which celebrates the traditional sights, sounds and scents of Christmas and is staged during the weeks leading up to Christmas. These markets originated in Germany, beginning in the early 1400's, and are now being held in countries all over the world. torontochristmasmarket.com

Each year the official start to the holiday season in Toronto is marked by the annual Cavalcade of Lights celebration, presented by Great Gulf. The event features the illumination of Toronto’s official Christmas tree, performances by top Canadian talent, a brilliant fireworks presentation and a DJ skating party at Nathan Phillips Square. This free event is a 49-year-old holiday tradition in Toronto and will return on Saturday, November 28, 2015. toronto.ca 
Now on its ninth year, Winter Magic continues to transform Downtown Yonge neighbourhood into a winter playground with dazzling holiday installations and a series of unique signature events.  This community-driven festival celebrates the holiday season in a high energy, urban destination located in the heart of Toronto. The events Illuminite, Ice, Wine & Dine, and Kidzfest. are carefully created for different audiences and create a unique urban experience. The holiday lights will be great backdrops for photographs particularly the 40-foot sculptural light tree located at Yonge –Dundas Square; the 3D polar bears, 3-D sleigh and reindeers and the cross-street displays suspended above Yonge Street. Don’t forget to visit Elm Street, where the trees are lit year-round. wintermagic.ca

On December 7 & 14, welcome the holiday season amidst a backdrop of Victorian-era carollers and enjoy an afternoon tea while being treated to a talk on the floral collection by the Superintendent of Allan Gardens, Curtis Evoy. You will then have the opportunity to tour the conservatory at your leisure; decorated and filled with thousands of flowering plants, 30 varieties of poinsettias along with a selection of colder-weather flowers and plants such as azaleas and cyclamen. The display is highlighted with several topiary masterpieces inspired by the holiday season and created entirely of plant material. This annual show was recognized as the “Garden Event of the Year” at the 2015 Canadian Garden Tourism Awards. torontobotanicalgarden.ca

Toronto Eaton Centre gets decked out this season with holiday lights and decorations. Beginning November 26, guests will be able to reserve a special visit with Santa in his Log Cabin built by Timberblock, located at Trinity Square Park. Children will get the opportunity to listen to Santa Claus read a story and parents are welcome to take their own photos.  Finish your shopping amidst the festive atmosphere. 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). thebay.com; 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. yorkdale.com

Check out one of the largest shopping centres in Canada and the largest shopping centre in Ontario, with over 1,700,000 sqft of retail space and more than 360 stores and services.  Square One Shopping Centre has everything from luxury to trendy.  shopsquareone.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 

Enjoy a 3rd night free when choosing Four Seasons Hotel Toronto as your home away from home from December 11, 2015 through January 10, 2016. December 24th will include a gingerbread house workshop for the kids and mimosas for the adults.   Indulge at the spa December 1 - 31 with a 60 minute Super Facial with Stem Cell Collagen Mask uses the latest in technology, experience a facial like no other ($125 reg $210). Or leave those feet shimmering with an 80 minute Luxury Gold Pedicure uses extra pampering using a Gold Sugar Scrub and Gold Shimmer Oil along with a nourishing foot treatment made from the healing thermal waters of Hungary ($110 reg $135).  The hotel’s Café Boulud is hosting Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner, Boxing Day Brunch, New Year's Eve dinner and New Year's Day Brunch. fourseasons.com/toronto/

It’s the season of gift-giving at the InterContinental Toronto Centre! From November 1 through December 30, book the special holiday package for two and enjoy hotel accommodations in the heart of downtown Toronto. Begin your festive shopping or gifting with your prepaid credit card, gift wrapping tool kit and so much more. In the spirit of the season, the hotel will also donate a portion of your stay to SickKids Foundation. Save up to $100 per night; rates start at $259 per night. torontocentre.intercontinental.com


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