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Christmas wonderland: Toronto lights up for the holiday season this weekend

Patricia D’Cunha and Patrick Luciani | posted Friday, Nov 27th, 2015

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The spirit of the Christmas season is all around us, whether we want to believe it or not.

Aside from the aesthetics of lights and decorations, shoppers scurrying to get their gifts, planning the family feast and going to parties, people across the GTA are reaching out to those in need and spreading Christmas cheer wherever they go.

Torontonians will be bringing their holiday spirit to the annual Cavalcade of lights this weekend. You can expect plenty of merriment and positive vibes as the city celebrates the season.

There are also two Santa Claus parades, with one of them taking place under the stars.


Events

Cavalcade of Lights
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! This Saturday it will begin to look a lot like Christmas as the city lights up its official tree at Nathan Phillips Square.

The 60-foot Christmas tree, which is decorated with 700 ornaments and 3,810 metres of LED lights, illuminates the city’s 49th annual Cavalcade of Lights celebration.

File photo of the Cavalcade of Lights in Toronto.
File photo of the Cavalcade of Lights in Toronto.

Surrounded by the glow of 525,000 lights, revellers can skate to their heart’s content while singing along to Let it Go, listen to and watch live music, and get dazzled by a fireworks show.

Some of the live musical performances include Juno Award-winning country artist Crystal Shawanda, Sloan, the Nathaniel Dett Chorale and Sean Jones. The party starts at 6 p.m. with the tree lighting at 7:15 a.m. Click here for the schedule.

Santa Under the Stars Parade
Santa Claus will be back in the GTA on Saturday for a parade being held in his honour. This time, his sleigh will be guided by the bright stars in the sky.

The parade, which starts at 6 p.m. in Aurora, is the largest one in York Region with 30,000 people attending last year.

As with any event, there are road closures to contend with. Click here for a list.

Whole Life Expo
If you are looking to quell stress and boost your energy (who isn’t?), head over to the Whole Life Expo – Canada’s largest exhibition of natural health, alternative medicine, and green living.

More than 275 exhibitors will be on-hand to showcase their natural health products and services. Those who attend can also get expert advice on making the best health choices.

The event runs from Friday to Sunday at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Ticket prices are $10-15.

Markham Santa
Don’t worry, Santa Claus has not forgotten about Markham. So mark your calendar: he’s on his way to your town on Saturday afternoon.

The 43rd annual Markham Santa Claus Parade starts at 11 a.m. at Highway 7 and Markham Road, where it will march north to the Markham Museum.

St. Nick at the Markham Santa Claus Parade. Photo via markhamsantaclausparade.com.
St. Nick at the Markham Santa Claus Parade. Photo via markhamsantaclausparade.com.

To make room for Santa’s sleigh and his entourage, there are road closures: Highway 7 will be closed from Markham Road to Wooten Way at 8 a.m. Markham Road will close from Highway 7 to Bur Oak Avenue starting at 9 a.m.

Spectacle of Lights
Toronto’s waterfront gets transformed into a Christmas wonderland on Saturday, with four illuminated installations lighting up the night sky.

The displays, which use 39,250 energy efficient bulbs, include a spiral tree at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, a fire truck and snowflake motif at the Fire Hall, animated music notes, harps and a canopy at the Toronto Music Garden, and a tall ship on the Amsterdam Bridge at Harbourfront Centre.

The Tall Ship on the Amsterdam Bridge at Harbourfront Centre decorated with lights. Photo via blog.waterfrontoronto.ca.
The Tall Ship on the Amsterdam Bridge at Harbourfront Centre decorated with lights. Photo via blog.waterfrontoronto.ca.

The displays will be up until Jan. 1, 2016.

The waterfront will also be taking part in the national “Shop the Neighbourhood” event. On Saturday, local businesses will be offering exclusive event deals to help raise awareness of the importance they play in communities.

One of a Kind Show
If you’re looking for a one of a kind Christmas gift for that special someone, then this event is a must-see.

Aimed at providing a unique shopping experience for the best in handmade gifts, the One of Kind Show features a collection of finds from photographer Caitlin Cornenberg, stylist Tiffany Pratt, chef Corey Vitiello and business owner Hana James. It also features DIY workshops, seminars, fashion shows and a wreath competition.

People shopping at the One of a Kind Christmas Show. Photo via facebook.com/oneofakindtoronto.
People shopping at the One of a Kind Christmas Show. Photo via facebook.com/oneofakindtoronto.

The show, which runs until Dec. 6 at Exhibition Place’s Enercare Centre, is open weekdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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