33 Toronto events worth checking out this December

Nov 29 2018, 2:25 am

Get ready for the most wonderful time of the year, by checking out some of the best events happening in the city this month.

This month’s highlights include festive shows like the Nutcracker, a new Cirque du Soleil performance, a number of festive holiday markets, and an epic New Year’s Eve party at the ROM.

Happy holidays!

Axe Throwing at BATL Grounds


What: If you’re feeling cooped up inside this December, rally up the troops and head to one of BATL (The Backyard Axe Throwing League) Grounds locations for a casual afternoon of axe throwing. Public drop-in lessons and regular axe throwing are offered on weekends meanwhile private bookings and league membership are also available.

Hours: Varies by location
33 Villiers Street, Toronto; 1245 Dupont Street, Toronto; 153 Bridgeland Avenue, Unit 15, Toronto
Price: From $35.99 per person

One of a Kind Winter Show

What: This year’s winter show is back and bigger than ever, featuring thoughtfully made items from hundreds of artisans including thousands of festive foodie treats, home décor, artsy offerings and everything else you’ll need to get your festive shopping done. In addition to shopping, attendees can unleash their creative side at the One of a Kind Creative Lounge where you’ll find various art and DIY related workshops.

When: Now until December 2
Time: Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 9 pm; Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm; extended hours on November 29, 10 am to 11 pm
Where: Encare Centre Exhibition Place
Tickets: $13 for adults

Waterloo Central Railway Polar Express

What: All aboard! This holiday season, you’re invited to embark on a magical holiday journey as you take a ride on the Polar Express. Operated by the Waterloo Central Railway, as soon as you step on board, you’ll be whisked away to the sounds of the beloved film’s motion soundtrack. Passengers can then sit back and relax as they enjoy freshly prepared hot cocoa and holiday treats as they are read the classic holiday story.

When: Now until December 22
Time: Select times available, check the website for details
Waterloo Central Railway Train Museum Platform, 50 Isabella Street
Price: Available online from $49.99 per person

Toronto Christmas Market

What: Always festive, always fun, always filling, you can count on the Toronto Christmas Market for your food and drink fix. Whether you’re craving savoury sausage, sweet sugar cookies or warming mulled wine, there’s something here to satisfy you.

When: Now until December 23 (closed Mondays)
Time: Tuesday to Thursday, 12 pm to 9 pm; Friday and Saturday, 12 pm to 10 pm; Sunday, 12 pm to 9 pm
Where: The Distillery Historic District
Price: $6 admission fee on weekends only

Cinesphere Fall Film Series

What: Toronto’s Cinesphere theatre at Ontario Place will be screening several iconic films over the next few months as part of its fall and winter programming. The Cinesphere will screen a number of iconic films including Ghostbusters, Alien, Aliens, Blade Runner: The Final Cut, Blade Runner 2049 in IMAX, The Fifth Element and Die Hard. 

When: Screenings running till December 23
Time: Showtimes vary by day
Where: Cinesphere at Ontario Place, 955 Lake Shore Blvd West
Price: $15 for adults

Miracle on Queen Street

Christmas bar

Miracle Pop-Up Bar/Facebook

What: This Christmas-themed bar is popping up on Queen Street West is officially open. Bring your Grinchiest-friend along… this spot’s sure to get everyone in the holiday mood with their elaborate decor and seasonal cocktails.

When: Now until December 26
Time: Monday to Friday, 5 pm to 2 am; Saturday and Sunday, 12 pm to 2 am
Where: 251 Queen Street West
Price:  Pay for what you order

Aurora Winter Festival

What: For the first time ever, Aurora Winter Festival will transform Toronto’s Ontario Place from November 29 to December 30 into a hidden village with enchanting elements inspired by the North Pole including magical characters, captivating light displays, endless fun, games and activities.

When: November 29 to December 30
Time: 4 pm to 10 pm
Where: Ontario Place, East Island
Price: $19.99 for general admission

Spiders: Fear & Fascination

What: This summer, the ROM welcomed a new exhibit, Spiders: Fear & Fascination and trust us, it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. The exhibit explores the hunting, burrowing, and weaving world of these eight-legged creatures and will feature more than 400 live and preserved spiders, cutting-edge interactive experiences, and new scientific discoveries.

When: Now until January 2019
Time: 10 am to 5:30 pm
Where: The Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen’s Park
Price: $32 for adults

Happy Place Toronto

What: Happy Place is an interactive, 20,000-sq-ft immersive exhibit with larger-than-life installations and multi-sensory themed rooms, and it’s on a mission to spread happiness here in Toronto and around the world.

When: Now until January 1
Time: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11 am to 8 pm; Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 10 am to 8 pm (closed Tuesdays)
Where: Harbourfront Centre
From $32

A Nutcracker Christmas at the Castle

What: Toronto’s iconic castle is being transformed into a magical winter wonderland this month and will feature a wide range of activities and thrilling performances that are sure to be fun for the whole family.

Daily: December 1 to January 6, 9:30 am to 5 pm
Nightly: December 17 to December 23, 5 pm to 9 pm
Where: Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace
Price: From $22.15 to $32.49

Brickworks Cider House Yoga and Beer Sampling


What: Is there a more chill combo than yoga and beer? Not that we can think of. Stretch your legs on over to this event to deep-breathe away the stress of the holiday season.

When: December 1
Time: 10 am to 11 am
Where: Brickworks Cider House – 709 Queen Street East
Price: $20

Vegan Holiday Brunch

What: You can have your vegan, gluten-free, raw, nut-free options and eat them too at this plant-based brunch event. Here you’ll find vegan eats, music, giveaways, shopping and all-around good vibes.

When: December 2
Time: 12 pm to 3 pm
Where: 44 Charles Street East
Price: $25

Holiday Party with Live Latin Music and Dancing

What: This holiday party, hosted by The Salsa Club, will feature live Latin music, dancing, food and drinks. Come dance your way into the holidays.

When: December 2
Time: 4 pm to 8 pm
Where: The Ezone – 120 North Queen Street, Etobicoke
Price: $15

iHeartRadio Canada Jingle Ball

What: The iHeartRadio Jingle Ball will be returning to Toronto this month and will be bringing a star-studded lineup of performers. Look forward to performances from The Chainsmokers, Khalid, Dua Lipa, Alessia Cara, Loud Luxury, Tyler Shaw, Lauv, bülow, MAX, Delaney Jane, Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, and more.

When: December 2
Time: 7 pm
Where: Scotiabank Arena 40 Bay Street
Price: From $75

Hoppy Holidays

What: Celebrate the annual Hoppy Holidays Beer Experience at Berkeley Church. Craft beers and other holiday bevvies will be served. And if you wear an ugly Christmas sweater, you could win a prize!

When: December 4
Time: 6 pm to 10 pm
Where: Berkeley Church – 315 Queen Street East
Price: $20

Gingerbread House Decorating

Gingerbread house (Leena Robinson/Shutterstock)

What: Embrace your inner child at this crafty, snacky event. Flex your creative muscles and then feast on the final result!

When: December 6
Time: 6 pm to 10 pm
Where: Humber College – 205 Humber College Boulevard
Price: $99

Home Alone in Concert

What: Enjoy the cult classic Christmas film Home Alone at the iconic Roy Thompson Hall and to the sounds of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, who will perform the film’s memorable soundtrack.

When: December 6 to 8
Time: 2 pm show on December 8, all other shows start at 7:30 pm
Where: Roy Thompson Hall, 60 Simcoe Street
Price: From $98

AGO First Thursdays: A Soul Revolution

What: In this unique program takeover, expect to see the AGO as you’ve never seen it before, with dance and art fusing together. A SOUL Revolution features the work of four Black Toronto artists – Ashley McKenzie Barnes, Kofi Frempong, Melissa Falconer and Reynold Thomas – who draw deep inspiration from the works of critically acclaimed artist Mickalene Thomas.

When: December 6
Time: 7 pm to 11:30 pm
Where: AGO, 317 Dundas Street West
Price: $23

Slava’s Snowshow

What: Slava’s Snowshow follows a scruffy, disarming troupe of clowns that will take audiences on a spellbinding adventure, unleashing full-throttle madness amidst enchanting, contemplative moments, before roaring to its legendary finish.

When: December 7 to 16
Time: Performances from 2 pm to 8 pm
Where: Bluma Appel Theatre, St Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front Street East
Price: Tickets from $59, available on Ticketmaster

A Christmas Carol

What: The beloved holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, is taking the stage at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre this evening. Ross Petty Productions will be putting on their unique take of the story this holiday season. Cyrus Lane will make his Petty Panto debut as everyone’s favourite Christmas curmudgeon, Ebenezer Scrooge.

When: December 7 to 24
Time: Multiple performances each day
Where: Ballie Theatre
Price: From $38 to $97

Peter Pan

Peter Pan/Soulpepper

What: Pirates, Lost Boys, and a ticking crocodile, Peter Pan is back! JM Barrie’s classic story about the boy who would never grow up is given a lively musical reimagining for kids and kids-at-heart.

When: December 8 to January 5
Time: Showtimes vary by day
Where: Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Lane
 Tickets start at $25

AGO Soulpepper Residency

What: This December, the Soulpepper Family Festival returns with a month of music, theatre and art for all ages. This year’s programming will include pop-up performances by members of the Soulpepper theatre ensemble in the AGO’s newly-reinstalled European Galleries this month.

When: December 8 to 10, December 15 to 17
Time: Varies by day
Where: AGO, 317 Dundas Street West
Price: Included in gallery admission

MomsTO does the Holidays

What: Shoutout to moms! You work super hard all year ’round and honestly, Mother’s Day was too long ago. It’s about time you celebrated you. Give yourself a well-deserved morning to ring in the holiday season with a boozy brunch. Grab your best girlfriends and get your mimosa on.

When: December 11
Time: 9:30 am to 12 pm
Where: Harbour Eats by Mercatino – 1 York Street
Price: $40 to $29

Corteo by Cirque du Soleil

What: It’s not every day you’re transported to a carnival-like funeral procession. But Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo gets you there. Corteo is a colourful world filled with clowns, acrobats, performers, musicians, and helium balloons that will carry away one of the characters (yes, actually).

When: December 12 to 16
Time: Varies showtimes
Where: Scotiabank Arena, 40 Bay Street
Price: From $64

Wellness in Wine

What: Paris isn’t the only place where you can sip wine for better health! Learn about the health benefits of wine, organic options and sustainable wine-making practices.

When: December 13
Time:  7 pm t0 9 pm
Where: 91 Parliament Street
Price: $75

Rupi Kaur in Toronto

Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur/ Facebook

What: Canadian poet Rupi Kaur will be stopping in Toronto this month. Kaur’s first book milk and honey gained international success and is a #1 New York Times bestseller. Her long-awaited second collection, the sun and her flowers, was released in 2017 and quickly became a number #1 global best seller.

When: December 15
Time: Doors open at 7 pm, show at 8 pm
Where: Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, 1 Front Street East
Price: From $39 to $75

Drunken Cinema Die Hard Anniversary Screening

What: We’re not going to sit here and argue about whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie… (It is) (not) (we’ll never agree.) What we can agree on is that a cult classic + popcorn + drinking games = an ideal way to ring in the holiday season.

When: December 15
Time: 9:30 pm to 12 am
Where: Revue Cinema – 400 Roncesvalles Avenue
Price: $11 to $14

Mumford & Sons Delta Tour

What: After announcing the release date for their long-awaited forthcoming album, Delta, last month, Mumford & Sons have now mapped the dates and locations of their new world tour. The massive global trek will start in the UK in November before a short run in North America in December, which includes a stop at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena on December 18.

When: December 18
Time: 7:30 pm
Where: Scotiabank Arena, 40 Bay Street
Price: From $82

The Nutcracker

What: This month, Torontonians can see an unforgettable production of The Nutcracker featuring ballerina powerhouses Anastasia Stashkevich and Vyacheslav Lopatin, principal dancers of the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow.

When: December 22
Time: 2 pm and 7 pm
Where: Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, 1 Front Street East
Price: From $67 to $142

12 Beers of Christmas

What: The Gladstone Hotel knows how to holiday. Pals, a hallmark-Toronto venue, ugly Christmas sweaters and plenty of beer? Get your tickets quickly because this event is bound to be a blast.

When: December 22
Time: 6 pm to 9 pm
Where: Gladstone Hotel – 1214 Queen Street West
Price: $30 to $35

Four Course Plant-Based Dinner

healthy food


What: If brunch isn’t your style (or maybe you just want another delicious vegan meal), Planta’s got you with a four-course meal. Enjoy delicious food and drink, sweet company, and learn about the benefits of adding more plants into your diet.

When: December 27
Time: 7 pm to 9 pm
Where: Planta Toronto – 1221 Bay Street
Price: $65

Ripley’s Aquarium New Year’s Eve

What: Ring in the new year as you experience the Aquarium in a whole new way, as the aquarium’s second-annual New Year’s party is sure to get your glittery gills flapping. This 19+ event will feature hors d’oeuvres by Daniel et Daniel, music by The Dreamboats and current hits spun by DJ Shamz, and full bars located throughout the galleries.

When: December 31
Time: 9 pm to 2 am
Where: Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, 288 Bremner Boulevard
Price: Available online for $80

#ROMNYE 2019

What: If you’re tired of the typical New Year’s Eve party scene in Toronto, you might want to consider ringing in the new year at the Royal Ontario Museum this year. This year’s bash will feature hot bands and DJs, delicious hors-d’oeuvres, a complimentary toast at midnight, and exclusive access to the Zuul: Life of an Armoured Dinosaur and Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibits.

When: December 31
Time: NYE exclusive dinner begins at 7 pm and the regular party runs from 9 pm to 2 am
Where: 100 Queens Park, Toronto
 Available online from $90

See also

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