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Deck the halls on the first weekend of December

PATRICIA D'CUNHA AND SAMANTHA KNIGHT | posted Friday, Dec 2nd, 2016

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“Ding dong merrily on high.” You will hear that tune at most malls and Christmas concerts over the festive season, and it truly captures the heart of the holidays.

Keep that joyous spirit close to mind as you deal with crowded malls, finding a parking spot, traffic, and long lineups.


Events

Christmas in the Valley
The city can be a little bit country, and a country-like Christmas experience is (nearly) at your doorstep. The Miller Lash House, nestled in Highland Creek and the Rouge Valley, is situated at University of Toronto Scarborough Campus. On Saturday, the home will be turned into an indoor market featuring handmade items made by local artisans and students.

Habitat for Humanity GTA’s Gingerbread Build
Who knew building homes could be so sweet? Habitat for Humanity GTA is hosting its 14th annual Gingerbread Build event this weekend at Toronto City Hall.

The event offers an easy way to help build safe and affordable homes for local, low-income families, while celebrating the holiday season. Children of any age can participate. All you need to do is pre-order one of the Gingerbread kits. Proceeds from the event support Habitat for Humanity’s home building projects for families across the GTA. Building sessions run Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m., 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. in the City Hall rotunda.

West Toronto Bakers Holiday Market
Are you dreaming of a chocolate-bar-stuffed chocolate chip cookie? And all you want for Christmas is to put your sweet tooth to work? Then prepare to go sugar crazy at The Great Hall at Queen Street and Dovercourt Road. Aside from the above mouth-watering cookie concoction, you can stock up on butter tarts, custards, meringues, vegan treats, savoury snacks like gourmet empanadas, and a whole lot more. The market is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Santa in the Junction
Santa Claus is sure clocking in some overtime this season. He has to stay on top of the naughty and nice list, oversee the toy-making at the North Pole, pose for photos with children at the malls, and be the guest of honour at various parades. But he is not one to complain.

This Sunday, St. Nick and his elves will be at the Junction Train Platform on Dundas Street West near Pacific Avenue spreading Christmas joy. Starting at 11 a.m. on Sunday, the entire street and sidewalks from Indian Grove to Quebec Avenue will be “dressed in holiday style” with indoor and outdoor markets, live music, dance performances (in store windows), and workshops. You can also warm up with hot cocoa while listening to Mr. Claus read Christmas stories.

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Don Mills Holiday Market
CF Shops at Don Mills is getting into the spirit of the season with its outdoor holiday market.

The market features a collection of 40 seasonal and artisan vendors selling goods including art and photography, home décor, health and beauty, clothing and holiday treats. Live music will be played throughout the centre and shoppers can take a break from the chilly December air at the warm-up lounge. There will also be a strolling Santa Claus.

The holiday market is held each Friday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. It wraps up on Dec. 18.

Toronto’s First Anonymous Art Show
Toronto’s First Anonymous Art Show is celebrating its second anniversary this weekend. The show is being held at the Art For Cancer Foundation (AFC) on Davenport Road from Thursday to Sunday.

It will feature original artwork from established and emerging artists, including AFC workshop participants. Hundreds of donated paintings will be on sale, each priced at $100 with the entire proceeds going to AFC programs.

The co-chair of the event says the artist of each painting remains a mystery until after the purchase, when a sold tag featuring the name and photo of the artist is be placed on the art.

Free family movie event
Take a magical journey to the North Pole this weekend during the free family movie event at Queensway Cineplex.

The special screening is being held by World Vision Gift Catalogue to celebrate Christmas and thank residents for their generosity this year. ‘The Polar Express,’ starring Tom Hanks, features Billy, a reluctant passenger on the ride of his life to the North Pole. His adventure pays off when he gets to meet Santa.

The movie starts at 10 a.m. Donations are accepted.

TTC and road closures

Partial Line 1 and Line 2 shutdown
The bad news is that there are two partial subway closures on two lines this weekend. The good news is that these are the last ones of the year, according to the TTC website.

From Saturday to Sunday, Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) will be closed from St. George to Pape stations due to track work. At the same time, signal upgrades will force Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina) to shut down from Wilson to Downsview stations.

Shuttle buses will be running and Wheel-Trans buses will run between the affected stations upon request.

Regular subway service resumes at 6 a.m. on Monday.

Road closures

Etobicoke Lakeshore Christmas Parade: Dwight Avenue from Lake Shore Boulevard West to Birmingham Street, Birmingham from Dwight Avenue to Islington Avenue, and Lake Shore from Royal York Road to Thirty-Seventh Street will be closed for the parade on Saturday. Buses will replace streetcars from 9 a.m. to noon.

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