A massive winter festival, a Home Alone concert and seven other things to see and do in Toronto this holiday season
A winter wonderland
1Ontario Place transforms into a North Pole–inspired village for the holidays, with colourful lights, a skating pond, a whimsical winter garden and no shortage of holiday magic. It’s worth braving the frigid temperatures: attractions include a 15-metre LED light dome, a giant snow-tube slide and an interactive tour inside Santa’s workshop to see the master craftsman at work. It’s a pretty big upgrade from stopping to see old Saint Nick at your local mall. Thursday, November 29 to Sunday, December 30. $19.99. Ontario Place.
A Christmas escape room
2Mysterious Minds has created a holiday escape room with high stakes: the goal is to deliver the magic flying dust to the reindeer room in time for Santa to give goodies to all the kids of the world. If you can’t beat the clock, you’ll ruin Christmas, so it’s best to bring your A-game. Players can choose their level of difficulty before embarking on this epic holiday mission, which includes pattern puzzles, Christmas movie and music trivia and brain teasers. To March 31, 2019. $17–$22. 322 Bloor St. W.
A Home Alone concert
3The Toronto Symphony Orchestra will perform John Williams’ Academy Award–nominated score alongside a screening of Home Alone as part of their concert-meets-film series. Watch Macaulay Culkin outsmart a pair of moronic burglars on the big screen while the the orchestra, joined by the Resonance Youth Choir, fills in the musical gaps, playing film favourites like White Christmas, O Holy Night and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Get those tickets, ya filthy animals. Thursday, December 6 to Saturday, December 8. $42–$132. Roy Thompson Hall.
A magical wizard ball
4Hogwarts’ extravagant Yule Ball makes even the fanciest muggle soirées seem lame by comparison. Lucky for us, there’s no need to catch a train to Hogwarts to soak in some literal holiday magic. For Toronto’s first annual Yule Ball, witches, wizards and muggles are invited to attend an evening of feasting and dancing. The night also includes a wand class and a costume contest. Saturday, December 8. 1 Yonge St., Suite 1801.
A live Christmas Carol
5In Soulpepper’s production of the Charles Dickens classic, stodgy ’ol Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future come to life on stage. Directed by theatre veteran Michael Shamata, who also worked on a 1996 adaption of Dickens’ Great Expectations, the production stars Soulpepper founding member Joseph Ziegler as Scrooge and Republic of Doyle‘s Krystin Pellerin as Belle. Friday, December 7 to Monday, December 24. $38–$97. Young Centre for the Performing Arts.
A festive beer tour
6If turtle doves and French hens aren’t your thing, there’s always holiday cheer in the form of beer. At this festive 12 Beers of Christmas tasting, beer-lovers can get rip-roaring drunk in their favourite ugly Christmas sweater. Drinkers can try 12 different beers from breweries across the city and sway along to cliché holiday hits at the afterparty in the Gladstone ballroom. Sunday, December 22. $30–$35. The Gladstone Hotel.
A Symphony under the Sea
7During the winter months, the beach seems like a distant memory. If you’re not island-bound for the holidays, you can always play pretend at Ripley’s Aquarium’s Symphony of the Sea, where the Toronto Chamber Players will perform some festive favourites to set the mood for underwater exploring and cocktail drinking. Friday, December 7. $7–$30. Ripley’s Aquarium.
A Christmas comedy
8In Second City’s family-friendly Christmas musical, The Naughty Listeners, the naughty and nice list gets tossed aside. It’s Christmastime at the North Pole, and one of Santa’s most trusted elves has gone rogue. With Christmas just a few days away, Saint Nick has no choice: he must turn to some of the world’s naughtiest children to help save the holiday. Saturday, December 15 to Saturday, January 5. $14–$18. Second City.
An architectural holiday market
9Made from stacked fibreglass frames, Toronto’s Serpentine Pavilion (more commonly referred to as “unzipped”) will transform into a light-filled Christmas market for the holidays, complete with a Christmas tree garden and pop-up vendors. Friday, December 7 to Friday, December 21. Free. 533 King St. W.