31 things to do in Toronto this weekend: December 14 to 16

Dec 13 2018, 8:28 pm

The weekend has finally arrived in Toronto, and we couldn’t be happier.

But don’t stress if you haven’t made any plans yet because we’ve gone and rounded up the hottest events happening throughout the city all weekend long.

Whether you’re looking to wrap up your Christmas shopping or indulge in some delicious eats, here are your top events for December 14 to 16.

Friday, December 14

Corteo by Cirque du Soleil

The bouncing beds scene (Dominique Lemieux/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: Now until December 16
Time: Varies showtimes
Where: Scotiabank Arena, 40 Bay Street
Price: From $64

King Winter Market

What: Located in the heart of bustling King West at the Serpentine Pavilion (aka the Unzipped exhibit), the King Winter Market is the newest addition to the Toronto holiday event scene. Visitors can look forward to a number of new (and old) holiday traditions, including the revival of the Mirvish turkey giveaway, Christmas trees for sale, local vendors, Santa Claus, and holiday movies.

When: Now until December 16
Time: 10 am to 6 pm
Where: 533 King Street West
Price: No cost to enter

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: Get into the Christmas spirit as you enjoy this new and immersive adaptation of Dickens’ timeless holiday classic set in the historic Campbell House Museum. Audience members will be whisked into the world of Victorian London and follow flinty miser Ebenezer Scrooge on his ghostly journey of redemption.

When: Now until December 22
Time: Various show times each day
Where: Campbell House Museum, 160 Queen Street West
Price: $20 to $30

Waterloo Central Railway Polar Express

Polar Express

Polar Express/IMDB

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

Holiday Fair in the Square

What: Now in its third year, Holiday Fair includes an open-air artisan village with over 50 talented vendors selling gifts and special treats, just in time for you to cross off your list. Don’t forget to swing by the JP Wiser’s booth where you can sample some delicious whisky and #HolditHigh to your friends by recording a toast to them. Find the booth at the Polar Point bar area, right behind the Toronto sign.

When: On now until December 23 (closed Mondays)
Time: Tuesday to Thursday, 4 pm to 9 pm; Friday to Sunday, 12 pm to 10 pm
Where: Nathan Phillips Square
Price: No cover

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


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

Evergreen Winter Village

What: Glide around the free skating rink, shop local vendors at the holiday market, and feast on festive foods during your visit. Hungry for more? The food vendors will change week to week, featuring appearances from Chocosol Traders, Get Your Own Taters, The Arepa Republic, Fully Loaded TO, The Food Dudes, and many more.

When: Now until December 31 (open every weekend)
Time: 10 am to 5 pm (10 am to 3 pm on December 24)
Where: 550 Bayview Avenue, Toronto
Price: Entry is free

Bloor-Yorkville Holiday Magic

What: Toronto’s Bloor-Yorkville will be transformed into a winter wonderland this holiday season. The annual event will illuminate the neighbourhood this December, creating a unique destination for patrons of the neighbourhood to shop, dine and take in the area’s art and culture while surrounded by festive lighting.

When: Now until December 31
Time: After sunset
Where: Bloor-Yorkville Village
Free to attend

Happy Place Toronto

Happy Place


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: Now until 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

Simcoe Christmas Panorama

What: Although this is a bit of a trek from Toronto, it’s perfect for those wanting to go on a festive road trip. Each year, Simcoe puts on an incredible light display called Christmas Panorama that features over 60 dazzling light displays. The spectacle shimmers with thousands of lights transforming the downtown parks into a winter wonderland, attracting visitors from across the province and the US.

When: Now until January 6
Time: 5:30 pm to 11 pm
Where: Wellington Park, 50 Bonnie Drive, Simcoe
Admission: Free

Burlington Festival of Lights

What: The Burlington Festival of Lights is the city’s longest-running festival, which lights up the waterfront from dusk to dawn over the holiday season. Now in its 23rd year, the festival will feature 60 festive displays that can be viewed up close or from the warmth of your car.

When: Now until January 8
Time: After sundown
Where: Spencer Smith Park, Burlington, Ontario
Admission: Free

Winter Flower Show

Winter Flower Show/Facebook

What: Add some much-needed colour to your life this winter at this annual flower show. Breathtaking floral scenes with thousands of colourful blooms, vines and lush plants from around the world will transform Alan Gardens into a memorable, must-see winter destination.

When: Now until January 9
Time: 10 am to 5 pm; with extended hours on select dates to 7 pm
Where: Allan Gardens Park and Conservatory, 19 Horticultural Avenue
Price: Free

The Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls

What: The annual Winter Festival of Lights stretches over eight kilometres in Niagara and will run through to the end of January. Attracting over one million visitors annually, this incredible spectacle is Canada’s largest lights festival. Just imagine a breathtaking, colourful scene with millions of sparkling lights and animated displays that extends to Dufferin Islands.

When: Now until the end of January
Time: After sundown
Where: Niagara Falls
Admission: Free

Light Up the Beach

What: Now in its 11th year, Light Up the Beach features more than 80,000 twinkling lights along the Toronto Beaches boardwalk to support The Michael Garron Hospital Foundation. The light display is truly a sight to see and a holiday tradition that every Torontonian should enjoy.

When: Now until mid-February
Time: 7 pm
Where: At the foot of Leuty Avenue, The Beach
Price: Free to visit

Winter at Ontario Place

What: Following last year’s successful inaugural winter program, Ontario Place will once again come alive this winter season. Running from now to March 17, the West Island of Ontario Place will be home to the Winter Light Exhibition, free public skating on a synthetic rink and community bonfires. This year, visitors can also look forward to a series of DJ nights at the iconic waterfront venue and bring a range of beloved films to Cinesphere.

When: Now until March 17
Time: 6 pm to 12 am
Where: 955 Lake Shore Blvd. West
Price: Free to attend

Indian Cuisine Buffet and Market

indian food mtl

Alex Hubenov/Shuttertock

What: Shop the Regent Park Sewing Studio and Jewelry Making vendors at this market, plus check out the henna artists and enjoy a delicious, flavourful (and halal) Indian food buffet.

When: December 14
Time: 1 pm to 4 pm
Where: 555 Dundas Street East
Price: Free

Hot Docs’ Free Holiday Classics Screenings

What: Come and get into the holiday spirit at a free screening of your favourite holiday movies! Hot Docs Cinema will be hosting free screenings of Love Actually, White Christmas, A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, It’s a Wonderful Life, and more!

When: December 14 to 31
Time: 8:45 pm to 9:30 pm
Where: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, 506 Bloor Street West
Price: Screenings are free, maximum two tickets per person

Saturday, December 15

Rupi Kaur in Toronto

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

DJ Skate Nights

What: Sharpen your skates and skills at Toronto’s number one outdoor winter party. This year you can expect another stellar lineup of DJs that will bring the heat to your Saturday nights.

When: December 15 to February 16 (Saturday evenings)
Time: 8 pm to 11 pm
Where: Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West
Price: Skating is free

Drunken Cinema Die Hard Anniversary Screening


Die Hard

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.

Editor’s note: It is. 

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

Sunday, December 16

Holiday Yoga & Brunch

What: Enjoy a Hatha flow and a hearty brunch at this holiday-themed yoga event. After you move your bod, you can refuel with scones, cured salmon, cream cheese, crumpets and seasonal quiche. Give yourself the gift of a couple zen hours this holiday season!

When: December 16
Time: 10 am to 12 pm
Where: Peter Pan Bistro – 373 Queen Street West
Price: $50

Free Turkey

What: The old Mirvish Turkey Giveaway is making a comeback on Sunday at the old site of Honest Ed’s. The mayor will be there, handing out free frozen turkeys for families in need.

When: December 16
Time: Kicks off at 11 am
Where: Bloor and Bathurst, where Honest Ed’s used to be
Price: Free

Chau Brunch Pop-Up

What: How does cinnamon miso french toast sound to you? How about a breakfast bao bun, or a mouthwatering vegan option? These noms can be in your mouth if you stop in for the Chau brunch pop-up at Wallace Espresso on Sunday. Don’t miss this.

When: December 16
Time: 11 am to 3 pm
Where: Wallace Espresso on King – 848 King Street West
Price: Pay for what you eat!

Garrison Holiday Flea

Garrison Holiday Flea/Facebook

What: The Garrison is transforming into a holiday market this weekend. Come and shop from a ton of great vendors, with a focus on gifts so you can find something special for everyone on your list. Expect music, food, and plenty of local vintage, handmade goods and even a Santa e Kiwiphotobooth.

When: December 16
Time: 12 pm to 6 pm
Where: The Garrison, 1197 Dundas Street West

Sugar Cookie Decorating

What: Hand-decorated cookies make an ultimate holiday gift. That is if you don’t dive into them yourself first. Either way, take some time to get crafty and play with your food… someone is sure to benefit.

When: December 16
Time: 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm
Where: Artscape Youngplace – 180 Shaw Street
Price: $50

Greek Christmas Baking Class

What: If you’ve been craving to learn how to make Kourabiedes, Melomakarona or Vasilopita, this is your time. You’ll go home with some sweet new knowledge on holiday baking, and a tummy full of delicious snacks.

When: December 16
Time: 2 pm to 5 pm
Where: St. Lawrence Market Kitchen – 95 Front Street East
Price: $90

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