29 things to do in Toronto today: Saturday, December 8

Dec 8 2018, 4:26 am

Saturday finally returns.

Which means you need to get outside and check out all of the fun and festive events happening throughout the city.

From skating at Nathan Phillips Square during Fair in the Square to indulging on a delicious treat at one of the many foodie events, here are your top events for today, Saturday, December 8.

Aurora Winter Festival



What: For the first time ever, Aurora Winter Festival will transform Toronto’s Ontario Place 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

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: Now until December 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

The Garden: Art Gallery Pop-Up

What: This weekend, Toronto has the opportunity to experience the work of three incredible local artists — a photographer, designer and a musician — in a former shipping container. Visitors can check out the designer’s furniture and charge their phones while taking a look at the photography, which was specifically shot to compliment the themes of the musician’s music, which will be playing inside the container throughout the weekend. There will also be a smaller “zine” for people to take home, which documents the entire gallery construction process.

When: Now until December 9
Time: All day
Where: Trinity Bellwoods Park
Price: Free to attend

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


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: Now until December 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

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

Holiday Fair in the Square

Holiday Fair in the Square

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

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

Miracle on Queen Street

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Leslieville Flea Holiday Market

What: The Leslieville Flea Holiday Market returns this weekend. Spend the afternoon shopping from a curated selection of vintage and handcrafted goods from a number of local vendors for everyone on your list.

When: December 8 and 9
10 am to 5 pm
Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre, 870 Queen Street East
Price: Free

Parkdale Flea

What: Parkdale Flea Market aims to bring together some of the best and most unique products that Toronto has to offer. Come out and do your holiday shopping, as you shop from vendors ranging from antiques, vintage, collectibles, local Artisans, and designers.

When: December 8 and 9
Time: 11 am to 6 pm
Where: Northern Contemporary Gallery, 1266 Queen Street West
Price: Admission is free

Free Pancakes at Fuwa Fuwa

fuwa fuwa pancakes free soufflé pancake


What: Yonge and Eglinton are about to get fluffy. Fuwa Fuwa, which took The Annex by storm with soufflé pancakes in the spring, is about to open a second location further uptown. To celebrate the grand opening, the spot will be offering free pancakes this month.

When: December 8
Time: 12 pm to 2 pm
Where:  2471 Yonge Street, Toronto
Price: FREE

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

Peter Pan

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

Lavender 9.0 – HoliGay edition

What: Put on your dancing shoes and get ready to party the night away at this holiday party. Lavender is a party for lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, queer women, nonbinary and trans people and you’re invited to dance and hang out with the team this December.

When: December 8
Time: 10:30 pm to 2:30 am
Where: Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street
Price: It’s pay-what-you-can, although event organizers won’t turn anyone away who can’t pay

New Old Fashioned Night Market

Holiday market

Dwayne Gretzky / Instagram

What: Whisky and live music are coming together at a new holiday night market in Toronto this weekend. The New Old Fashioned Night Market is coming to the city to celebrate the re-invention and discovery of classic artforms by local artists. This means new twists on old classics when it comes to drinks, visual arts and music.

What: December 8
Time: 7 pm to 12 am
Where: Longboat Hall, Toronto – 1087 Queen Street West
Price: Free to attend

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