For Immediate Release
October 25, 2011

Get Your Glitter On In Toronto
Feel your most festive with uplifting classical concerts, one-of-a-kind artisanal fairs and a slew of joyful gift ideas to weigh down your sleigh.

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TORONTO (October 25, 2011) – A buzzing city year-round, Toronto's best comes to light during the holiday season. Whether your idea of a merry getaway means twizzling on ice to DJ spins, watching snow maidens dance or shopping your way through well-curated Christmas markets, countless holiday opportunities to create happy memories await in Toronto. Offering a unique window into the city's festive best, mark your advent calendar with these Toronto events and activities:

Bright Lights, Big City

Toronto's annual Cavalcade of Lights, Saturday November 26 at Nathan Phillips Square, sets seasonal fun in motion with the flick of a switch. An exciting night of live music and the lighting of Toronto's official Christmas tree culminates with a stunning fireworks display.

Visit the city's neighbourhoods to get a head start on the holiday action:

  • Bloor-Yorkville Holiday Magic (November 19) dazzling light displays and animated storefronts come to life with an opening night celebration that includes a performance by Juno-winning artist Molly Johnson.
  • The Downtown Yonge corridor amps up the wattage with Illuminite (November 19).
  • Winter Magic events include storefront displays in Window Wonderland and Ice, Wine & Dine (November 12). Revellers wander Yonge and Dundas taking in festive cocktails, ice carvings and live music.

Some Enchanted Evenings

Princess of Wales Theatre will play host to the hit broadway musical, Mary Poppins, beginning November 10. With four productions currently running on three continents, Mary Poppins is one of the biggest stage musical successes in recent years. The production features the unforgettable story and songs from one of the most popular Disney films of all time, plus brand new dance numbers and astonishing stage-craft. In a word: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Roy Thomson Hall is where Toronto music lovers come together to enjoy traditional music during December, presents concerts for every taste including: Toronto's Favourite Messiah (December 14-19) by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra; the Christmas Holiday Pops December 20-21 with the fun-loving Canadian Brass and the boys of St. Michael's Choir School (December 10-11). The ever-popular Sing-Along Messiah December 18 invites the audience to join voices with all-star soloists and the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir.

The Nutcracker (December 10 - January 3) enthrals hearts young and old with the enchanting seasonal performance by the National Ballet of Canada at The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Think rustic Imperial Russia, the ice-coated world of the Snow Queen and the golden palace of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Or for a spin on traditions, check out The Wizard of Oz The Wickedly Wacky Family Musical (November 25 - January 6) at the Elgin Theatre. Dorothy and Toto ain't in Kansas anymore.

See the City With Santa

Circled on calendars for more than a century: the annual Toronto Santa Claus Parade (November 20) is the longest running children's parade in the world and is broadcast across North America and as far away as New Zealand, Norway and Ireland. Follow the route from Christie Pits to St. Lawrence Market with celebrity clowns and animated floats themed from Harry Potter to Hockey Night in Canada.

Yuletide Good Times for Children and Families

From nostalgic to new, holiday traditions begin in Toronto. Walk back in time at Black Creek Pioneer Village's Family Baking Workshop (December 3 and December 10). Kids follow pioneer recipes and bake in a wood-burning oven. Its Christmas by Lamplight (December 10, 17, 18) event includes visits by Father Christmas, an old-fashioned holiday ball and a three-course dinner. Another perennial family favourite Toronto destination is Casa Loma, Toronto's castle in the city. Its "Elves in the Workshop" (December 3-4; 10-11; 17-18) invites parents and children to create a gingerbread house to proudly decorate their family tree.

The Toronto Zoo welcomes families to the annual Christmas Treats Walk (December 26), where keepers share stories about and treats with live polar bears, European reindeer and Arctic wolves. The zoo also celebrates the season with the New Year's Eve Family Countdown (December 31).

Step up your kitchen game with Christmas Cupcake Decorating (December 9, 10 and 17) at Le Dolci. The foodie education centre is also hosting a Christmas Cookie Decorating & Cookie Ornaments class (December 3).

Finds and Keepers

Whether shopping for yourself or loved ones on your list, enjoy a magical spin in Toronto markets, big and small. The Nutcracker Sweet (November 17-19) at Casa Loma attracts visitors with its homemade shortbread, tribal silver jewelry and citrus artisan soaps.

Visitors can enjoy a Lucia Pageant with Swedish folk dancing and a children's Christmas workshop at the free Swedish Christmas Festival (November 19-20) at the York Quay Centre. This is the place to load up on Swedish handmade crafts, clogs, advent calendars and goodies such as saffron bread and gingerbread cookies.

And then there's One of a Kind Show and Sale (November 24 - December 4) at the Direct Energy Centre, a bonanza of unique treasures with more than 800 artisans selling handmade jewellery, clothes and more.

The Distillery Holiday Market (December 2-18) recreates the romance and magic of a traditional Christmas market amid the cobbles and the strung lights. Sights and events in this historic district include stores and stalls showcasing unique and local handcrafted products, mulled wine gardens and Santa's Lane with Rudolph's reindeer zoo, wandering Grimm Brothers' characters and a fairy tale forest maze.

Love to Keep Me Warm

This winter, modern lovers fall for The Art Gallery of Ontario's magical, whimsical and wonderful Marc Chagall exhibition (October 18 - January 15) organized by the Centre Pompidou. It features the lush, colourful, and dreamlike art of Chagall alongside the visionaries of Russian modernism, including Wassily Kandinsky, Kasimir Malevich, Natalia Goncharova, Sonia Delaunay, and Vladimir Tatlin.

Meantime, fun seeking couples can head indoors to enjoy RINX and its new 15,000 square feet VIP room with upgrades valued at more than $1.2 million.

Balladium is a fast-paced, interactive, ball blasting game played in an eye popping black light arena. Players load their cannons and the excitement begins as they race to outscore the other team before time runs out. Time Freak is an exciting new attraction that challenges players to frantically race against the clock, pushing buttons as they light up.

Note to Journalists

In addition to the many activities and events that make the city special in Winter, details about Tourism Toronto's new promotional campaign "Torontoland" will be announced soon. Toronto is transformed into a wintery theme park where locals and visitors benefit from specials at hotels, attractions, restaurants and retail locations when they participate in a new social-media driven initiative. Promotional partnerships as well as story, photo and interview opportunities abound.

About Tourism Toronto

Tourism Toronto, Toronto's Convention and Visitors Association, is an industry association of more than 1,200 members established to sell and market the greater Toronto region as a remarkable destination for tourists, convention delegates and business travellers around the globe. Tourism Toronto operates in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture as Regional Tourism Organization 5, representing the cities of Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton. For more information please visit Follow us on Twitter @SeeTorontoNow and

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