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Hallelujah! Handel, Christmas movies and Beavertails eating contest this weekend

Patricia D'Cunha & Amber LeBlanc | posted Friday, Dec 18th, 2015

There are only a few shopping days left until Christmas Day, but don’t stress out. You still have time to get your to-do list done (if you are well-organized), while revelling in the merriment of the season. After all, what is the point of the holidays if you don’t get to enjoy them?

If you like classical and choral music, Handel’s “Messiah” is a must every season, whether you attend a performance or just listen on your iPod. And if you love watching Christmas movies, you can catch your favourite ones at home or at cinema.

Traditional Glass Christmas Bubbles Are Made By Venitian Glass Makers

Pets also want to be a part of the festivities, and they would like nothing more than to take a photo with the jolly elf in the red suit.

This is also the last weekend of the Toronto Christmas Market. If you haven’t been to it yet, put that on your must-see like this weekend.

Handel’s Messiah

The Christmas season wouldn’t be complete without George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah.” Composed in 1741 with libretto by Charles Jennens, the three-part oratorio was first performed in Dublin on Good Friday the following year. The pinnacle of the piece is the “Hallelujah” chorus in Part II, which brings people to their feet.

There are at least three productions of the piece in Toronto – two orchestral and one theatrical – with each one capturing the heart and soul of the powerful choral work while taking the audience to new emotional heights.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra joins forces with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and vocal soloists for Handel's "Messiah" at Roy Thomson Hall. FACEBOOK/TSO.
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra joins forces with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and vocal soloists for Handel’s “Messiah” at Roy Thomson Hall. FACEBOOK/TSO.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s version, which is conducted by Sir Andrew Davis and features the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, is dubbed the “biggest Messiah in Toronto.” Performances are being held until Sunday. Those attending are being urged to bring non-perishable food items for the Daily Bread Food Bank’s holiday campaign.

If you prefer a more intimate experience, baroque orchestra Tafelmusik has performances until Saturday at Koerner Hall. It is directed by Ivars Taurins and showcases the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir.

Toronto artist collective Against the Grain (AtG) takes an alternative approach to the oratorio by staging a barefoot and choreographed version, which it says walks “the line between edgy and faithful.” AtG artistic and music directors, Joel Ivany and Topher Mokrzewski, teamed up with choreographer Jennifer Nichols. Performances are being held at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre, presented by Massey Hall, until Saturday.

Bloor Holiday Classics

“Will you please tell Santa that instead of presents this year, I just want my family back. No toys.”
-Kevin McCallister (Home Alone)

Get all your favourite Christmas movies in one place at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema starting Friday and until Christmas Eve Eve (Dec. 23). Some of the movies being show include: “The Muppet Christmas Carol,” “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” “A Christmas Story,” and “Love Actually.”

And if you are either a “Home Alone” or “Die Hard” fanatic and know the movie lines by heart, take part in the quote-along screenings of the two movies. Show off your memory prowess with other fans!

Tickets are free (two per person, per film) for the films, except for the quote-alongs. Food or financial donations are also being accepted for the Stop Community Food Centre.

BeaverTails eating contest

An epic eating contest takes place along Queens Quay this weekend.

BeaverTails is holding a pastry-eating contest at Pier 6, and they are guaranteeing good fun and a good cause. Along with handing out sweet treats, BeaverTails is collecting non-perishable food donations and money for the Daily Bread Food Bank.

Fried dough pastries by Beavertails. Photo via beavertails.com.
Fried dough pastries by Beavertails. Photo via beavertails.com.

Trinity Bellwoods Holiday Flea Market

Are you still looking for that one-of-a-kind gift? You may want to check out the Trinity Bellwoods Flea Holiday Flea Market this weekend. It takes place at Studio Bar at 824 Dundas St. W. on Saturday and Sunday.

You’ll have the opportunity to check out local artisans and indulge in some holiday treats and seasonal drinks. Admission is free and if you spend over $50, you can get your gifts wrapped for free.

Last weekend for the Christmas market

As you scurry around doing your Christmas shopping, don’t forget to check out the Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery Historic District – the last weekend to do so.

After the stress and mayhem of zigzagging through crowds, unwind with some hot chocolate and shortbread. Then, why not finish your shopping at the many vendors offering holiday delights. Admission is $5 per person on Saturday and Sunday.

Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery District. Photo via torontochristmasmarket.com.
Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery District. Photo via torontochristmasmarket.com.

Pet photo taken with Santa

Has your pet been naughty or nice? Find out at Purina PawsWay this weekend when you get your dog or cat’s picture with Santa Claus.

English bulldog lying on Santa's lap. GETTY IMAGES/LWA.
English bulldog lying on Santa’s lap. GETTY IMAGES/LWA.

Pictures are $12 and a portion of the proceeds go towards the Lions Foundation of Canada Guide Dogs.

Santa Cruise

It’s a cruise along Lake Ontario with a very special guest.

The 10th annual Santa Cruise sails this weekend. The ticket includes brunch with the first family of the North Pole, a photo with the big man, crafts for the kids, carolling and other holiday treats.


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