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Toronto weekend need to know: Free turkeys, cheap coffee and other Christmas miracles

Amber LeBlanc, Diana Pereira | posted Friday, Dec 11th, 2015

It’s a Christmas miracle. There are fairly few TTC and road changes and closures to worry about this weekend. That’ll give you time to check out every event on this list, from pretending you’re a hockey player to imagining you’re a ballerina.


Toronto Maple Leafs Skate  Photo via eastersealsskate.org
Toronto Maple Leafs Skate for Easter Seals Kids
It’s a chance to pretend you’re in the NHL! You can skate with members of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday for a good cause. Join the Leafs for the annual “Skate For Easter Seals Kids” at the Mastercard Centre. Participants raise a minimum of $150 in pledges, with all money going to the charity.

The Nutcracker
A Christmas tradition returns to Toronto when the National Ballet of Canada’s performances of theNutcracker start on Saturday. The ballet features the timeless music of Tchaikovsky, and the company is celebrating its 20th year of putting on the holiday classic. The Globe and Mail has called it the “best Nutcracker on the planet.”

Hundreds wait in line for the annual turkey giveaway at Honest Ed's in Toronto on Dec. 14, 2014. CITYNEWS/Ken Hama
Honest Ed’s Turkey Giveaway
Meanwhile, a longtime Annex tradition comes to an end on Sunday. It’s the very last turkey giveaway at Honest Ed’s, as the iconic store is set to close at the end of 2016. The line-up for the free bird usually starts the night before, and this year’s event is expected to be the biggest ever with over seven tonnes of turkeys and fruitcakes to be handed out.

Variety Village Christmas 2015 Photo via varietyvillage.ca
Variety Village Christmas 2015. Photo via varietyvillage.ca.

Variety Village World’s Greatest Christmas Party
Variety Village is getting ready for a huge holiday gathering, with Santa and Mrs. Claus making a special appearance. Tickets for the “World’s Greatest Christmas Party” cost just $8 and are designed to give families an affordable way to celebrate Christmas in a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment. There will be a Christmas Bazaar, face painting, arts and crafts and a bouncy castle for kids. Guests are welcome to donate new unwrapped toys, which will be distributed to families in need through local agencies.

The Toronto Etsy Street Team’s Christmas Marketplace
If you want a truly handmade or vintage gift, the Etsy Christmas Marketplace promises to deliver. Thirty vendors will share space with musicians and cooks to keep attendees entertained and fed. A certain man in red will make a visit from 1:30 p.m. until 3 p.m.

Tickets are not required and entrance to the event is free. Saturday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Church of Saint Stephen-in-the-Fields, 103 Bellevue Ave. in Kensington Market

All the Words: Small Press Fair Photo via facebook.com/events/177462309267590/
All the Words: Small Press Fair Photo via facebook.com/events/177462309267590/

All the Words: Small Press Fair
Have a bibliophile on your Christmas list but they’ve read all the classics already? Get them something new to read at All the Words, a pop-up shop where small press magazine and indie book publishers will gather for a huge holiday sale on Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at Milk Glass Gallery, 1247 Dundas Street W. (at Ossington Avenue).

West Queen West  Holiday Fest Charity Drive Image via Facebook
West Queen West Holiday Fest Charity Drive

If you’re looking for a deal but are also looking to donate to a charity this season, this may be the thing for you.

More than 20 independent businesses on West Queen West from Bathurst to Euclid are offering a month-long promotion in exchange for a non-perishable food item or a piece of warm clothing. For example, you can get a $1 Americano at RSquared Cafe and 15% off a 10-class pass at the Downward Dog Yoga Centre, just for bringing in a donation.

The donated items will go to local women’s shelter The Florence Booth House.

If you can’t make it this weekend, the charity drive runs until Dec. 22

Click here for a full list of participants and promotions or check out the event page on Facebook.

TTC closures

TTC streetcar changes Dec 9-11, 2015. Image via TTC
As a result of inspections on Lake Shore Boulevard, the 509, 510 and 511 streetcars will be re-routed all weekend, going only as far south as King Steret. Buses will be in service within other parts of the routes. Click here for full details.

Road closures

The following closures will be in effect at the dates and times listed:

Lake Shore Boulevard

  • The westbound left lane of Lake Shore Boulevard West at York Street will be occupied until Dec. 28 at 7 p.m.
  • The east and westbound south lanes of Lake Shore at York Street will be closed due to work happening between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, until Dec. 28, ending at 3:30 p.m.

For smaller closures, consult the city’s website.


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