While the city-wide Toronto Christmas Parade weaved its way through downtown this past Sunday and holiday bazaars have been a fixture at worship and community centres for several weekends, this weekend kicks off a number of marquee events for the East End holiday season.
Friday, see the boardwalk illuminated with Declute’s Light Up The Beach 2016. In support of the Michael Garron Hospital Foundation, on Friday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. Santa Claus and his guests will be at the foot of Leuty Avenue on the boardwalk in the Beach for the annual celebration that sees the boardwalk magically lit up with 80,000 lights.
Saturday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., check out DECA’s Festival of Lights at East Lynn Park featuring Pegasus Studio Dancers, the S.P.A.C.E dance school, the Fire Guy, and the East End Music Project Choir. A non-perishable food item for Centre 55 gives you a chance to win a prize.
On Sunday, Community Centre 55 and the Kingston Road Village Business Association host the 10th annual Hamper’s Santa Claus Parade. The parade’s Grand Marshall will be East End Olympic champion Penny Oleksiak.
An example of neighbours and businesses celebrating the holidays together, the event serves as a kick-off for Centre 55’s 30th Share-a-Christmas program, which helps families who have fallen on hard times. As such, organizers are asking you to bring a toonie for the program. Letters to Santa will also be collected.
The parade route begins at Victoria Park and Kingston Road Sunday, Nov. 27 at 1 p.m., travelling west along Kingston, north up Walter Street to Centre 55 on Swanwick Avenue and Main Street where Santa and Mrs. Claus will receive the children and there will be music, tree trimming, face painting, refreshments, photos with Santa and a VIP reception.
The annual “Christmas in the Park” tree lighting ceremony will be taking place on December 3 in Kew Gardens at the Alex Christie Bandshell. The event runs from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and will feature carol singing, hot chocolate and dignitaries, as well as a special visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus who will be arriving in style riding a convertible along Queen Street East. For more info, visit www.beacheslions.com.
For those who wish to remain active during the season, December 4 it’s the Tannenbaum 10k along the Martin Goodman Trail. Beginning at 10 a.m. this annual run is a flat, fast, and very festive race in the heart of the Beach. Santa and his helpers even get off the sleigh and onto the raceway. The race raises money — over $18,000 each year — for Centre 55’s Share a Christmas Program. Sign up at www.tannenbaum10k.com.
December 10, join Santa at the Cottage at the Gardener’s Cottage on Lee Avenue in Kew Gardens from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hosted by the Toronto Beach Rotary, visitors are encouraged to drink hot chocolate, eat treats, and chat and take pictures with Santa — bring your camera. Donations of non-perishable food items will benefit Centre 55’s Christmas food drive.
Carolling in the Park, a Beach favourite, takes place December 13 at Glen Stewart Park. Meet at Glen Manor Drive and Queen Street East (south of the bridge, north of Queen) from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sing along is accompanied by the Salvation Army Band and song sheets will be provided.
For holiday entertainment, Acoustic Harvest presents John Huston’s take on a Christmas Carol December 4. The Cantemus Singers perform “In Dulci Jubilo!” December 3 and 4. Toronto Beach Chorale opens its 2016/2017 season with an evening of beautiful, festive music on December 4. See more holiday entertainment and arts in our November 29 issue.
A list of holiday bazaars and craft sales can be found in our community calendar.
Is your festive favourite not listed? Let us know in the comments or send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will update this post as more events come in.