20 things to do in Toronto this weekend: December 28 to 30

Dec 24 2018, 4:53 am

Well, you’ve officially made it to the final weekend of the year.

It’s finally the countdown to the end of 2018, and to make sure you end it right we’ve rounded up plenty of fun things to do in Toronto all weekend long.

Have a great weekend, Toronto!

Friday, December 28

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

Aga Khan Museum Light Up the Dark

What: Watch art come to life on the Museum’s exterior walls in a spectacular outdoor 3-D projection show. Enjoy animated art and past performances projected on a massive scale, then be sure to warm up inside with a hot drink and more free art installations.

When: Now until December 30
Time: 5 pm to 9 pm
Where: Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Drive
Price: $20

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

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

casa loma

Courtesy of Casa Loma

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

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

light up the beach

Light Up The Beach/Facebook (Erwin Buck)

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

Close Encounters: The Cinema of Steven Spielberg

What: The filmmaker who redefined American popular cinema receives his first-ever TIFF Cinematheque retrospective this winter. See the classic film E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial on the big screen this holiday season.

When: December 28
Time: 7:05 pm
TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King Street West
Price: $14 for general admission

Truffle Making 101

What: Become a truffle-master at this class, where you’ll learn the techniques, tips and tricks of chocolate truffle making including how to personalize your own creations for any occasion.

When: December 28 and 29
Time: 8 pm to 9:30 pm
Where: The Mad Bean Cafe, 519 Eglinton Avenue West
Price: $82

Wizard of Oz at the Cinesphere

What: Toronto’s Cinesphere theatre at Ontario Place will be screening several iconic films over the next few months as part of its winter programming. The Cinesphere will be screening the timeless Wizard of Oz this weekend.

When: December 28 to 30
Time: 3:30 pm
Where: Cinesphere at Ontario Place, 955 Lake Shore Blvd West
Price: $15 for adults

Saturday, December 29

Free Skating at Evergreen Brick Works

ice rinks

Skating (Vit Kovalcik/Shutterstock)

What: Skating at Evergreen Brick Works is back! Visit the picturesque skating rink in Koerner Gardens for free public skating this weekend. You can bring your own skates or rent a pair on-site.

When: December 29 and 30
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Avenue
Price: Free

DJ Skate Nights: Soul Kitchen

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. The world famous Soul Kitchen returns to the Natrel Rink this weekend to end 2018 with a little soul on the ice.

When: December 29
Time: 8 pm to 11 pm
Where: Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West
Price: Skating is free

Uniun Closing Party

What: Toronto’s Union nightclub is preparing to close its doors for good. You can bid farewell to this iconic party spot this weekend as Chris La Roque spins the hottest tracks.

When: December 29
Time: 10 pm to 3 am
Where: Uniun Nightclub, 473 Adelaide Street West
Price: From $20

Sunday, December 30

The Bentway Polar Bear Skate

What: Torontonians are invited to drop their drawers and ring in the New Year by skating in their knickers this December. This is a chilly but fun twist on the traditional polar bear dip and welcomes skaters to strip down to their intimates and skate along the Bentway skate trail below the Gardiner Expressway this Sunday.

When: December 30
Time: 1:30 pm to 3 pm
Where: The Bentway Skate Trail, 250 Fort York Boulevard
Price: Free to attend

!Viva la Rev! Special Sunday Edition

What: ¡Viva la Rev! will be closing out 2018 with a special Sunday edition on December 30, with some acts that will have you laughing all the way into next year including
Michael Larimer, Hisham Kelati, Cassie Cao, Rob Watson, Johnny Rogers and more.

When: December 30
Time: 8:45 pm to 10 pm
Where: La Revolucion, 2848 Dundas St West
Price: PWYC, $5 suggested

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