With December here, we can begin to look forward to some of the exciting traditions that accompany the holidays. Stores have started playing festive music, houses are adorned with wreaths and lights, and many holiday themed events are on the horizon. This season, there are a number of exciting performances and activities in Toronto that are sure to get even the Scrooges and Grinches among us into the holiday spirit. Here are our top picks of Christmas inspired events taking place in the city, whether you’re in the mood for the arts or for taking a trip back in time.
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National Ballet of Canada’s The Nutcracker (December 10-31)
Is there any event as synonymous with the holidays as a performance of the Nutcracker? This year, the iconic Tchaikovsky ballet will return to the Toronto stage with the National Ballet of Canada. This interpretation takes place in 19th century Russia and follows the dream journey of a young brother and sister duo. Choreographed by James Kudelka, the former Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Canada, and with vocals by the VIVA! Youth Singers of Toronto, this performance brings the internationally acclaimed ballet a little bit closer to home.
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Christmas in the Village at Black Creek Pioneer Village (Until December 23)
Take a trip through time at the Black Creek Pioneer Village this holiday season. Take part in Victorian Christmas traditions on a festive tour of the grounds, where you can make your own antique-inspired tree decorations and attend story time with Santa. On select Sunday nights, visitors are treated to a traditional three-course Christmas dinner. The “Christmas by Lamplight” program allows visitors the opportunity to take in the village by the glow of candlelight, complete with traditional Christmas caroling and a sampling of festive foods.
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Toronto Symphony Orchestra presents The Messiah (December 18-23)
Watch Handel’s Messiah come to life with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Conducted by the acclaimed Nicholas McGegan, this five-performance event is known to feature some of the city’s best and brightest vocalists including Abigail Levis and Isaiah Bell. The Messiah is an oratorio that was composed by George Frideric Handel in 1741 and has historically been associated with the Christmas season.
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Christmas at Casa Loma (Until January 8)
Snow or no snow, Toronto’s very own castle will transform into a winter wonderland this season. Casa Loma’s “Winterland Nights” run Wednesday evenings throughout the month of December. Featuring light displays, live carolers, celebrity designed trees and more, this event allows visitors to take in the beauty of the castle in the crisp winter air. Families with small children may want to check out the “When You Wish Upon A Star” event instead, which includes performances by illusionist Professor Wick, arts and crafts activities, and even a visit with Santa during the most wonderful time of the year.