22 November 2017

IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR

WHAT'S HAPPENING WEDNESDAYS

BY: KELLY MANIKOTH

Welcome to the December edition of What's Happening Wednesdays! As snowflakes begin to flutter and chilly weather sneaks its way into the forecast, holiday preparations in Toronto are in full swing! I personally think it’s never too early to start planning for the most wonderful time of the year and I am so excited to spend the holidays in the city. Here's a selection of festive-inspired events, from markets to exhibitions, to celebrate the end of a very busy semester!

A Roaring Twenties Christmas at the Spadina House Museum

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This holiday season, the Spadina House Museum is hosting 20s era-inspired guided Christmas tours! Experience the holidays through the memories of the Austin family grandchildren and see the historic house fully decked in festive décor. The tour includes Christmas treats from original family recipes and traditional mulled cider.

This event is presented as part of the Toronto History Museums Holiday Programming.

When: November 21, 2017 - January 7, 2018
Every Tuesday - Friday, 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Every Saturday & Sunday, 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
(Museum Closed on Mondays)

Where: Spadina Museum, 285 Spadina Rd

Cost: Child: $5.75, Adult: $8.85, Youth: $7.08,  Senior: $7.08

12 Trees: Let There Be Light Exhibition at the Gardiner Museum

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Since 1990, the The Gardiner Museum has reinterpreted the modern Christmas tree through its annual exhibition, 12 TreesThe theme of this year’s exhibition is Let There Be Light. Curated by Canadian writer and artist Douglas Coupland and Vice President of Public Art Management Ben Mills, it captures how light is used as a symbol of hope by many cultures during the holiday season. Some of the installations include a disco ball Christmas tree and a tree made up of illuminated blocks!

The featured 12 Trees artists are: Evan Biddell, Julia Callon, Connor Crawford, Christine Dewancker and Katherine Strang, Amit Kehar and Kanika Gupta, Alex McLeod, Polymetis, Jon Sasaki, Jordan Soderberg Mills, David Trautrimas, Julia White, and Vivian Wong.

In addition to the twelve artist installations, there will be a 42-foot white spruce bedazzled in neon lights on the Gardiner's front plaza. The tree is designed by the Presenting Sponsor, Nordstrom, and donated by Ontario Wood and Forests Ontario.

When: November 17, 2017 – January 7, 2018; 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Where: The Gardiner Museum of Ceramics, 111 Queens Park, Toronto

Cost: 12 Trees: Let There Be Light is included in general Museum Admission : $15 Adults, $9 Students, $11 Seniors, Members free. The museum is half price admission every Friday, and FREE on Tuesdays for post-secondary students with a valid photo ID.

Swedish Christmas Fair

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There are always a multitude of Christmas fairs to enjoy in Toronto during the holidays. A special one to check out this year is the Swedish Christmas Fair. The fair is a two-day extravaganza where you can experience all the charming traditions of a Swedish Christmas. Listen to choirs singing carols at the Lucia Pageant, learn about Sami culture, folk dance, and sample Scandinavian food, such as 'risgrynsgröt', a rice porridge that's eaten with 'hallonsylt' (raspberry jam) and glögg, a special Swedish sweet mulled wine. This is also the perfect opportunity to pick up unique, specially imported gifts such as Swedish décor and textiles.

When: Saturday, November 25, 11am–5pm and Sunday, November 26, 11am–4pm

Where:  Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto

Cost: Free

Nazar by Turkwaz at the Aga Khan Museum

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Experience a beautiful concert at the Aga Khan Museum that unifies a myriad of cultures. This concert series features Turkwaz, a group of four vocalists, Maryem Tollar, Brenna MacCrimmon, Sophia Grigoriadis, and Jayne Brown, who take inspiration from Arabic, Balkan, Macedonian, Turkish, and Albanian folk songs. The quartet is joined by four guest musicians, Demetri Petsalakis (oud), Naghmeh Farahmand (percussion), Ernie Tollar (sax, flutes) and Andrew Downing (cello).

The concert is linked to the museum’s contemporary art show HERE (which runs from July 22nd 2017 to January 7th 2018).  The exhibition reflects the complexity and multifaceted ideas of Canadian identity.

When: Saturday, December 2nd, 8pm

Where: 77 Wynford Drive, located one light north of Eglinton off Don Mills Road.

Cost: $40, $36 for members. You can purchase tickets here. This event includes same-day Museum admission.

Create Miniature Scenes in Glass Globes at the Toronto Botanical Garden

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The Toronto Botanical Garden is a beautiful place to explore year-round. This December, visit the gardens in Don Valley Ravine and discover a new skill as well! On Saturday, December 2nd, learn how to design miniature Christmas scenes inside a glass globe. Taught by Gabriela Delworth, a lifestyle Blogger, DIY author and crafts industry designer, these globes will make the perfect ornament for holiday decorations or unique gift for a loved one. All materials are included in the cost!

When: Saturday, December 2, 2017, 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Where: Toronto Botanical Garden, 777 Lawrence Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario

Cost: Public $48, Members $40. You can purchase tickets online here

Celebrating Hanukkah 2017 with Light Up the Night 

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This year, Hanukkah begins on Tuesday, December 12th and ends on the evening of Wednesday, December 20th. On its first night, attend a Menorah Lighting at Mel Lastman Square, hosted by the Jewish Russian Community Centre of Toronto. Festivities include a fire show, live music, hot latkes, donuts, Chanukah Gelt (chocolate coins), a dignitaries greeting and a giant menorah lighting. For more information, checkout Public Menorah Lighting.  

When: Tuesday, December 12th, 6pm

Where: Mel Lastman Square, 5100 Yonge St.

Cost: Free!

Hot Docs Free Screenings of Holiday Classics

One of my favourite holiday movies, White Christmas Source.

One of my favourite holiday traditions is to curl up with a hot chocolate and watch some of my most-loved seasonal films. This year, I'm switching it up by catching the classics on the big screen! Hot Docs is showcasing free screenings of iconic holiday movies, such as A Christmas Story, Love Actually, and National Lampoon’s Christmas. The first of the free screenings is my all time favourite holiday movie, Michael Curtiz’s White Christmas. I watch this timeless musical every year at home, so it will be a treat to see it in a cinema.

When: White Christmas plays on Saturday, December 16th, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

The rest of the classics play between December 17th – 24th at various times. Click here for the calendar listing of showings

Where: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, 506 Bloor Street West, Toronto

Cost: Free! Hot Docs will be accepting donations to The Stop (dried beans, rice or monetary donation).

Members: tickets are available for pick up at the box office and online now. Tickets for non-members available for pick up at the cinema box office beginning December 3 at 1 p.m. Maximum of two tickets per person. A limited number of same day tickets will be available.

Pick up a Christmas Tree at the Distillery District Christmas Market 

A Torontonian's holiday to-do list is simply not complete without checking out the Christmas Market at the Distillery District. This year, start a new tradition at the market and cut down your own fresh tree! Forests Ontario will sell trees at the market during the first two weekends in December (Friday December 1st - Sunday December 3rd, and Friday December 8th - Sunday December 10th).
For every tree that’s purchased and cut at the Toronto Christmas Market, a new tree will be planted. You'll also get one free entry into the market and a locally crafted reindeer ornament to decorate your new tree! For more information, visit torontochristmasmarket.com

When: Dates to get a Tree: Friday, December 1, 2017, 12:00 PM – 10:00 PM, Saturday, December 2, 2017, 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM, Sunday, December 3, 2017, 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM Friday, December 8, 2017, 12:00 PM – 10:00 PM, Saturday, December 9, 2017 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM, Sunday, December 10, 2017 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

The Christmas Market runs from Thursday, November 16 - Saturday December 23, 2017

Where: Distillery District, 55 Mill St Rd, Toronto, ON.

Cost: The Toronto Christmas Market charges a $6 admission fee on weekends, starting at 5pm on Fridays. You can buy tickets online in advance here .

Jane Austen’s Birthday Ball

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To commemorate Jane Austen's 242nd birthday in December, The Jane Austen Dancing Group is hosting a Regency-era ball! The elegant ball will be as authentic as possible, with live music, historical refreshments, door prizes and toasts to the King!

The Group is offering a pre-ball dance workshop, clothing and hair makeover for those lacking nineteenth century attire and dance skills. No partner or dance experience needed, but the pre-ball basics workshop is a prerequisite for those new to English Country Dancing. The workshop is designed for all skill levels. For more details, registration forms and to buy tickets, visit the Jane Austen Dancing website .

When: Saturday, December 16, 2017, Ball prep session: 1:00  – 5:00 PM, Ball: 6:30 - 9:00 PM

Where: Afternoon (1:00 -5:00): Clothing and hair session, dance workshop: Trinity St Paul Centre, 427 Bloor St W one block west of Spadina subway.

Evening (6:30 – 9:00) : Ball with live music and refreshments: Heliconian Hall, 35 Hazelton Ave in Yorkville

Cost: Ball package (includes both afternoon workshops, ball and refreshments): $55 / $45 students and seniors. Ball-only tickets for experienced English or Scottish Country Dancers (available only by prior arrangement): $35 / $30 You can purchase tickets here. Payment can be made either by cheque or electronic transfer.

New Years in the 6ix
The year is drawing to a close, and there is certainly no shortage of New Year's Eve parties as Toronto prepares to ring in 2018! Here are two cool NYE bashes to check out if you're downtown:

ROM New Year's Eve

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#ROMNYE
will be extra chic this year, inspired by the glamorous Christian Dior exhibit (running from November 25, 2017 to March 18, 2018). Guests have the option to enjoy a three-course gourmet meal, wine service with dinner, and a complimentary welcome cocktail, as well as early entry at 7:00 p.m., exclusive cash bar service in c5 all night long and exclusive access to Christian Dior from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The entertainment includes performances by the St. Royals and DJ Matthew Romeo.

#ROMNYE also includes a Christian Dior-inspired photo booth, party favours, hors d’oeuvre, complimentary sparkling wine toast at midnight and complimentary coat check.

When: Sunday, December 31st, 2017, 9:00 PM – 2:00 AM Christian Dior exhibition access from 9:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.

Where: ROM, 100 Queen's Park, Toronto

Cost: Party only: Early bird tickets are $90 for General Public. Members receive a 10% discount. Regular Tickets are $100
VIP Dinner and Party: $250 for General Public. Members receive a 10% discount.

#ROMNYE tickets must be purchased in advance online at rom.on.ca; there will be no tickets available at the door.  #ROMNYE is a specially ticketed event for adults 19+.

Dwayne Gretzky Infinity Ball: New Year's 2018

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Ring in the new year with amazing musical performances and art installations of mirrors and diamonds at the Dwayne Gretzky Infinity Ball! Dwayne Grtezky is “a super group party band”, or a collective of Toronto musicians that remixes contemporary and classic music. Some of the artists featured are lighting designer and creative director Matt Mansion and media artist Karl Skene.

The Enercare Centre will be transformed into a large reflective dance floor for guests to waltz the night away. There will be plenty of food, drinks and special 'photo opps' to celebrate 2018. Head to dwaynegretzkynye.com for more information.

When: December 31, 2017, Doors open at: 9PM

Where: Enercare Centre @ Exhibition Place, 100 Princes' Blvd #1, Toronto

Cost: $75. You can purchase tickets online here.

With the stunning 100 ft tree finally revealed in the Eaton Centre and the opening of the Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery District, Toronto is truly in the holiday spirit! I hope you enjoy the festive events in the city along with all the light, warmth and hope that this season brings. Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday with family and friends. See you in 2018!

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