Top things to do in Toronto this weekend

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It’s almost December, which means the holiday celebrations are in full force in the city.

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This weekend’s Santa Claus parades, tree lighting ceremonies and festivals of light include Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Markham, Burlington, Milton, Aurora, Port Perry, Brooklin and Cannington.

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Here’s what else you need to know to make the necessary plans.

Cavalcade of Lights

If you weren’t sure the holiday season was upon us, then look no further because the much-loved event inspired by lantern festivals around the world will transform the area around City Hall into a dazzling wonderland.

It features the first lighting of Toronto’s 16.75-metre Christmas tree along with musical performances and a skating party.

Opening night is Saturday and it runs every day until Jan. 8. Admission is free. For more information, click here.

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Note: Bay St. will be closed between Dundas St. to Queen St. W. from 1 p.m. to midnight on Saturday.

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Bloor-Yorkville Holiday Magic

The neighborhood lights it up with a one-of-a-kind display as residents and visitors can shop, dine and take in the area’s art and cultural attractions, all while soaking up the holiday festivities.

Chantal Kreviazuk will perform during the free outdoor concert and lighting ceremony, hosted by Etalk host and Canada’s Drag Race judge Traci Melchor.

Enjoy the lights and show on Saturday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. but feel free to enjoy the lights and the neighbourhood through to Dec. 31. For more information, click here.

Muslim International Film Festival

The festival that was launched during the pandemic is still going strong but even more so this year in its first in-person event that showcases and celebrates Muslim excellence in film.

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Enjoy a night of art, performance, and screenings of short and feature films from around the globe on Saturday. The red carpet opens up at 5 p.m. and the festivities begin promptly at 6 p.m. at the Toronto Meridian Arts Centre. For tickets and more information, click here.

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Window Wonderland

Toronto’s award-winning immersive urban art walk returns for its third consecutive year. Beginning Friday, the Junction will be transformed into a magical outdoor gallery featuring 20 unique augmented reality installations and also showcase four animated wall murals.

Also, dance company CORPUS will perform a family-friendly show of funny, heart-warming sheep singing Christmas carols every Saturday in December (except New Year’s Eve).

It all kicks off Friday and runs until Jan. 1. For more information, click here.

We Love Willowdale Christmas Market

Peruse the market that includes more than 40 local artisans, food trucks, live entertainment and hot chocolate. There’s also a walking parade that leaves at 7:30 p.m., so get ready to spread joy and Christmas cheer.

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It’s on Saturday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Willowdale Presbyterian Church. Admission is $5 – or pay what you can; kids under 13 are free. For advance tickets and more information, click here.

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Barbara Ann Scott Ice Trail Celebration

Sharpen those skates folks and glide on over to Yonge and College Sts. where you’ll find the Barbara Ann Scott Ice Trail, a five-metre-wide, oval-shaped outdoor rink around College Park.

The Downtown Yonge BIA is hosting an event to celebrate the start of the season with games, a live DJ, performances, photo-ops, activities and, of course, lots of skating. There will also be a special tree-lighting ceremony at sunset.

The trail is set to open on Saturday and stay open until March. This opening party runs from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, click here.

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Coca-Cola Caravan Tour

The tour will spread holiday joy to communities across the country over shared experiences, moments of magic and the iconic drink, naturally.
The caravan hits Toronto at the CN Tower and Ripley’s Aquarium on Friday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Mississauga Celebration Square on Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

For more information, click here.

Backs of three carollers with Coca-Cola truck in front of them.
Backs of three carollers with Coca-Cola truck in background. (Coca-Cola/Supplied) Photo by Supplied /Coca-Cola

Riverside Holiday Market

Join the fun that the Riverside BIA is offering, what with carollers, a scavenger hunt, holiday shopping, hot beverages and a meet-and-greet with Santa.

It’s on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Riverside Common Park. Admission is free but you can reserve tickets. For more information, click here.

Magical Christmas Forest

Experience a winter wonderland filled with lights, crafts, activities, wagon rides, and treats for the whole family — and the whole family can enjoy a visit with Santa in his cabin.

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Head over to Kortright Centre for Conservation in Woodbridge beginning Friday. It’s open from Wednesdays to Sundays and runs until Dec. 23 because you know Santa has to get things ready for the big day! For tickets and more information, click here.

One of a Kind Winter Show

If you’re on the hunt for a unique special gift – for someone else or yourself – then this is the show for you. It features an extensive selection of beautifully and lovingly made items from more than 600 artisans from across the country.

The show kicks off Thursday and runs until Dec. 4 at the Enercare Centre. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Late-night hours are on Dec .1 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. For tickets and more information, click here.

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