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Toronto around December 25th?
December 15, 2008 11:09 AM   Subscribe

Two Toronto residents staying in the city over Xmas for the first time. What if any are the quintessential entertainments (restaurants, masses, sporting events, traditions, whatever) taking place in or around Toronto on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and St Stephens' Day?

The husband and I have lived in Toronto since 2005, so are well versed in things to do around town at other times of the year, but go home every Xmas to my parents in Ireland for two or three weeks.

We can't make that work this year and rather than bunker down at home by ourselves are looking for some suggestions from the natives as to things that are worth doing and seeing here in the few days around the 25th, whether the church that has a great reputation for feel-good midnight masses, or restaurants that pack out on Xmas Eve, or charity swims that attract a crowd on Christmas morning ... that type of thing, fun events that "everyone knows about" that will get us out of the house. Our motley crew of immigrant friends are not much help. We have a car and no family to visit so are open to any decent suggestions or links to same, especially as this may be the last time we're here for the holidays for a few years.

Thanks for any help you can offer.
posted by jamesonandwater to Grab Bag (8 answers total)
Ah, T.O. at Christmas - I'm a Torontonian by birth and will be there over Christmas - really looking forward to the snow, actually :)

Some ideas:

- skating at City Hall: crowded but lots of fun; they light City Hall and Queen Street up, so it's quite magical
- some suggestions here from Trip Advisor and Tourism Toronto' site
- don't forget some ideas via the events listing services online, like Upcoming
posted by rmm at 11:33 AM on December 15, 2008

NOW inevitably has a huge section listing events over the holidays (focussed primarily on New Year's Eve, natch). Hmmm... on second thought, this year's in this week's issue seems to be exclusively NYE. Maybe try last week's issue?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:57 AM on December 15, 2008

Messiah at Roy Thompson Hall. It's spectacular. Nutcracker by the National Ballet.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:25 PM on December 15, 2008

Sorry that it's too late to go, but catch The Snowman with the TSO at Roy Thompson next year. We went last year and it was really lovely.

Also, you must skate at City Hall once. It's crowded, the rink is tiny but you simply have to go. If the weather gets really cold, go skate on Grenadier Pond in High Park. But make sure the ice is solid first.

And my personal Nutcracker pick is the one put on by the Pia Bouman ballet school performed at Humberside high school on the 18th to 21st. I prefer the little kids and ballerinas in training to the fancy National Ballet version. Plus it's cheaper. And since my kids are that are, we had to go because they had friends in the performance. But it really is quite nice. Tickets.
posted by GuyZero at 3:09 PM on December 16, 2008

Thanks all, think we can throw together an itinerary.

Oh, and I'm an immigrant, I don't know how to ice skate :(
posted by jamesonandwater at 4:36 PM on December 16, 2008

It's pretty easy. Just strap on the skates and have fun sliding around. You'll get the hang of it pretty quickly. Nathan Phillips Square is open daily for skating, so is Harbourfront. Many parks around the city also offer skating, but they tend to be limited in time as the rinks are also used for hockey.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:09 PM on December 16, 2008

Yes, skating isn't that hard. Wear an extra pair of underwear to keep your bum warm when you fall but you'll get it fast enough.

If you want to take up skiing too, drive or catch the bus over to Centennial Park in Etobicoke. It's a perfect hill for a beginner because it's cheap and small. I believe there's a a ski hill in North York too but I've never gone there. The downside is that it can be really, really busy some days.
posted by GuyZero at 9:53 AM on December 17, 2008

That would be Earl Bales Park, GuyZero. Bathurst, east side, north of Sheppard.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:18 AM on December 17, 2008

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