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Enjoy Christmas Carols Outdoors in Toronto for 2014

Where and when can you enjoy outdoors Christmas carol events in Toronto during Advent 2014? Here’s my short list; if you know of others, please write me.

"Distillery District Christmas Main Stage at Trinity and Casegoods Lane" image by Mike DeHaan via Google Maps
“Distillery District Christmas Main Stage at Trinity and Casegoods Lane” image by Mike DeHaan via Google Maps

Christmas Carols at the Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery District

The Distillery District observes Christmas with music as well as visual decorations. The Christmas Market begins on Friday Nov. 28 and runs through Sunday Dec. 21st. A pair of Santa Claus’ elves conduct sing-alongs in the Christmas Market on Tuesday-Friday at 5pm; and on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30am and 2pm. Plus, enjoy your 15 minutes of fame by joining the outdoor Christmas caroling on Tuesday-Sunday at 6pm. Finally, join the Mill Street World Caroling Challenge at 5pm on Sunday Dec. 21; just bring a donation for the Daily Bread Food Bank.

Look for the main stage: as they told me in an e-mail, “The main stage (which is our only stage) is located on Trinity Street and Casegoods Lane, right in front of our massive Christmas tree”. See the above map for that location.

Want to find the Distillery District by TTC? They recommend the 504 King streetcar or the 65 Parliament bus. Parliament St. is on the western boundary of my map.

The official Toronto Distillery District Christmas Market page for 2014 offers a lot more details, including time and date for: the opening ceremonies; non-sing-along musical performances; and more.

The Kew Gardens 2014 Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Head to the eastern Beach park, Kew Gardens, for the 2014 Christmas Tree lighting event from 5-7pm on Saturday Dec. 6. This event includes more than mere outdoor Christmas caroling by candlelight; but that’s all I will highlight here. It’s a family-friendly event, and a minor charity fundraiser, so bring a “loonie for the Lions Club”.

Take the 501 Queen streetcar east past Woodbine and watch for Kew Gardens on the south side, just past Waverley Rd. The bandshell is (very) roughly in the centre of the park.

Both the Kew Gardens and the Glen Steward caroling events are noted in the current Beaches Living Guide.

Caroling in Glen Stewart Park during Yule 2014

Another eastern Beach venue, Glen Stewart Park, hosts “Caroling in the Park” on Tuesday Dec. 9 for an hour from 7:30pm. Musical leadership will be shared between a Salvation Army band and the Beach United Church choir. Warm your tonsils with hot chocolate or hot cider; and also donate to the Salvation Army at this annual outdoor event.

Glen Stewart Park is bounded by Kingston Road (between Glen Manor Dr. and Beech Ave.,) to the north, and by Queen St. (between Glen Manor and MacLean) on the south. Gather “south of the wooden bridge”, as the Beaches Living Guide says.

Back References to Christmas Caroling in Toronto and the GTA

I’d covered this topic in somewhat more detail the last two years, in “2013 Outdoor Christmas Caroling in Toronto and Mississauga” and “Three Outdoor Carol Events in Dec. 2012 in Eastern Toronto“. If you were looking for a performance of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, it will be performed at several of the venues noted in “Twenty-one 2014 Christmas events in Toronto Museums“.

Your Own Copy of Christmas Carol Lyrics

Amazon.ca offers several collections of Christmas carol lyric books in Kindle format. Brush up on the lyrics before you head outdoors to sing carols; or simply enjoy them at home.

Looking for More Annual Events or a Holiday in Toronto Canada?

My blog tracks many of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting, free or frugal.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article. However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and other online sites. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights those online articles on this site.

Click the “Toronto Events” category at the bottom of the right-hand column for recent articles in this category. Thanks!

Thanks for reading about Christmas Carols outdoors in Toronto for 2014.


Twenty-one 2014 Christmas Events in Toronto Museums

Each year, Toronto museums present special Christmas events; the 2014 Yule season is no exception. Here is a 21-event salute to twenty-one 2014 Christmas events in Toronto museums. Some of their Christmas events are just fun; others provide practical skills, such as making your own holiday greeting cards or baking cookies.

Please click on the official links for important details such as the opening and closing times, and especially the “closed dates”. Most of these civic museums will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day: Dec. 25-26, and Jan. 1. Many normally take Mondays off, too. Generally the admission price is under $10/person; but some events go below “frugal” to free!

Oh yes: one drama troupe performs A Christmas Carol at several venues; I’ve counted each venue as a separate event.

"2008 Christmas Tree in Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto" image by stevevharris (Steve Harris) in Flickr
“2008 Christmas Tree in Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto” image by stevevharris (Steve Harris) in Flickr

Colborne Lodge Hosts Three Christmas Events in 2014

Colborne Lodge has a variety of annual events during Advent and Christmas in 2014.

From Nov. 22, 2014 through Jan. 4, Christmas at Colborne Lodge presents the holiday season as celebrated in the Victorian era. Decorations and foods provide the highlights.

The free Christmas Open House is on Thurs. Nov. 27, with a special tour of the well-decorated home.

This Toronto historical site offers some slightly more expensive workshops on their Colborne Lodge Events page. Let’s just highlight one: the High Park Winter FUNshops on several days within the school break from Dec. 29 through Jan. 2. Pre-register your children for one or more mornings of indoor and outdoor activities; it’s $25 plus tax per child per session.

Colborne Lodge is in southern High Park in Toronto. While there is some free parking, I’d consider taking the long walk south from the High Park station on the Number 2 (Bloor) subway along Colborne Lodge Drive. Or take the 80 Queensway bus south from the Keele station, and ask the driver for the stop closest to Colborne Lodge Drive.

Fort York’s 2014 Holiday Season Event

Fort York welcomes the 2014 Holiday Season from Dec. 15-31, 2014 with baked goods from “the officers’ mess”. If I remember a tour at another museum, the enlisted men and civilians made do with either over- or under-baked bread: the result of heaping coal into the middle of the oven’s hot box. Officers received the properly-baked bread from the oval that received the right amount of heat.

Fort York is at Fort York Blvd and Strachan, north of the CNE. Currently you can only drive there by going west on Fleet St and turning onto Garrison Rd. Or take the 511 Bathurst streetcar.

Gibson House Baking for Christmas 2014

Bake gingerbread cookies at Gibson House on Dec. 13; or your children (aged 7-11) could enjoy day camp on either Dec. 22 or 23 (Monday or Tuesday). Check the Gibson House Events page for details.

Gibson House is at 5172 Yonge St., where Park Home and Empress Way meet, just north of the North York Civic Centre.

Christmas Galore at Mackenzie House

The Mackenzie House museum puts almost all its efforts into the 2014 Yule celebrations. Experience a Victorian Christmas from Nov. 25 – Jan. 4; and your children may also write letters to Santa Claus until Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.

It’s not clear whether the Frost Fair on Dec. 6-7 will be at Mackenzie House or at Fort York; but since it involves the print shop, Mackenzie House is the right venue.

Mackenzie House also runs a Christmas Crafts day camp from Dec. 27 through Jan. 4. Meet a long-ago mayor of Toronto; do crafts; and work in the printshop. Check the Mackenzie House Events page for the details.

Montgomery’s Inn for Christmas Cookies and A Christmas Carol

Although Montgomery’s Inn offers a wider variety of events, they do fit Yule into their schedule.

Decorate Christmas cookies on Nov. 22-23; decorate a gingerbread house on Nov. 29-30; sing carols in the tavern on Dec. 5 at 7:30pm; see Dickens’ A Christmas Carol on selected dates from Dec. 4-21; take the children to Fezziwig’s Family Christmas Ball on Dec. 14 (but book by Dec. 8); or experience a Jane Austen Christmas supper on Dec. 19 from 7-10pm (book by Dec. 12). See the Montgomery’s Inn Events page for the details on dates and prices.

Montgomery’s Inn is at 4709 Dundas St. West, just NE of Islington.

Scarborough Museum: Prepare Treats for Santa Claus

The Scarborough Museum bakes goodies and serves hot chocolate for the festive weekends in December. On Dec. 7, children 5-12 will learn to bake the holiday treats themselves; but pre-register! They also provide Christmas holiday day camps for children 5-12, on selected dates from Dec. 22 through Jan. 2. Details are on the Scarborough Museum Events page.

The Scarborough Museum is at 1007 Brimley Rd, in Thompson Memorial Park. That’s north of Lawrence Ave. East. The 21 Brimley bus is your best transit bet, connecting from the Kennedy station where the Number 2 (Bloor-Danforth) subway and Scarborough RT meet.

The Spadina Museum: from a Roaring Twenties Christmas Event to Pop-Up Toys

The main Christmas event in 2014 at the Spadina Museum is the Roaring 20s Christmas from Nov. 25 through Jan. 4: experience a well-heeled 1920s Yule celebration. For the children, the Dec. 7th Toy Pop-Up Museum is a show-and-tell as well as a see-and-play event from 2-4pm; and it’s free. See the Spadina Museum Events page.

The Spadina Museum is at 285 Spadina Roadnot Spadina Ave. It’s south of St. Clair Ave. West, just north of Austin Terrace. I think of it as “just above Casa Loma”.

Todmorden Mills Museum Greets Christmas with Cards and Gingerbread

The Todmorden Mills Museum offers a one-day Greeting Cards Workshop for the whole family on Nov. 29 from 1-4pm. Call now to reserve your tickets; your 6-and-up year old children will make their own personal Christmas greeting cards with their accompanying adult. The Christmas in the Valley events contrast Yule in 1890 versus 1940, on several dates between Dec. 7 and Jan. 4. Dickens’ A Christmas Carol also tours here on selected dates from Nov. 27 to Dec. 7. Finally, gingerbread house workshops are available by pre-registration on Dec. 6. You need to read the details on the Todmorden Mills Museum Events page.

Todmorden Mills is in the Don Valley at 67 Pottery Road. Please see the map. It’s a steep walk from Broadview Ave.; it’s one place that a car with snow tires may be the best bet.

"Map of Todmorden Mills, Toronto" image by Mike DeHaan via Google Maps
“Map of Todmorden Mills, Toronto” image by Mike DeHaan via Google Maps

Want to Read A Christmas Carol?

Read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol on your Kindle reader (or on your computer). Amazon [Canada] offers several versions, but my choice would be between these two:

Looking for More Annual Events in Toronto Canada?

My blog tracks many of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting, free or frugal.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article. However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and other online sites. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights those online articles on this site.

Click the “Toronto Events” category at the bottom of the right-hand column for recent articles in this category. Thanks!

Thanks for reading about these twenty-one 2014 Christmas events in Toronto museums.


21 GTA Santa Claus Parades in 2014

How many Santa Claus Parades does the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) host in 2014? Every winter, cities and towns hold Santa Claus parades as annual events to start the Christmas season. Here are some of the 2014 Santa Claus Parades in the GTA, ordered by date and municipality. (And if any are outside the “GTA proper”, please forgive me for mentioning them).

"Mrs. Claus in a Santa Claus Parade" image by synestheticstrings in Flickr
“Mrs. Claus in a Santa Claus Parade” image by synestheticstrings in Flickr

2014 Santa Claus Parades in the GTA

This list starts on Saturday November 15, 2014:

  • Barrie from 5pm, at Bradford St.
  • Bowmanville’s Santa Claus Parade begins at 10:30am at the library on Church St.
  • Brampton, starting from Ken Williams Dr. at 5pm; then west on Sproule and south on Hurontario.
  • Keswick begins at 1:30pm from Biscayne Ave. and the Queensway.
  • Newmarket’s parade runs from 11-12:30, from Eagle St., to Main St. and ends at Davis Dr.

Then on Sunday November 16, 2014:

  • Mount Albert starts at 2pm along Mt. Albert Rd.
  • Newcastle enjoys a twilight start at 5:30pm at downtown North St.

The following weekend, on Saturday November 22:

  • Aurora’s night owl parade lasts from 6:30-8:30pm, along Yonge St. south from Orchard Height Blvd.
  • Oshawa is just half and hour ahead of Aurora: from 6-8pm, along King St. to Bond St.
  • Uxbridge’s Santa Claus Parade goes from 11am-noon, downtown from Brock St. at Centre St., ending at Franklin St.

And then on Sunday November 23:

  • Maple’s SantaFest starts at 2pm, and heads east from Canada’s Wonderland along Major Mackenzie Dr.
  • Orillia’s parade goes from 1:30-3:30pm, starting on downtown Mississauga St.
  • Richmond Hill’s parade lasts from 1:30-3:00pm, heading south on Yonge St. from Industrial Road.

For the final weekend of November, on Saturday the 29th:

  • Ajax has an evening parade, from 6-8pm, at Bayly St. and Mackenzie Ave. Or wait for the end of the parade at Ajax Town Hall.
  • Markham goes from 11am-noon, north along Main St. from Hwy 7 to Bur Oak Ave.
  • Pickering runs from 10am-noon on Glenanna Rd. between Dixie Rd. and Pickering Pkwy.

Mississauga marches to its own drummer in Streetsville on Sunday November 30, 2014 at 1pm. The route follows Queen St. from Britannia Rd. West to Old Station Rd.

Unionville has Saturday December 5th all to itself. It’s on Main St. “in the evening”, ending at the Millenium Band Stand.

On December 6, 2014:

  • Port Perry from 5pm at the Port Perry Fairgrounds.
  • Sutton at Jackson’s Point: the parade begins at 5pm in Jackson’s Point, goes down Dalton Rd., and ends in the Sutton Fairgrounds.
  • Whitby’s Santa Claus Parade runs from 10am-noon along Brock St. from Manning St. to Trent St.

The largest crowd will likely be found at “The 2014 Santa Claus Parade in Toronto” on Nov. 16th, however.

Other References for these Santa Claus Parades in the GTA

The Streetsville Pipe and Drums keeps a rolling list of their events. In Nov. 2014 they plan to participate both in Brampton and in Mississauga.

The Child’s Life Santa Claus Parade page lists many of the above events.

Last year I only managed “Five 2013 Santa Claus Parades in the GTA“.

Looking for More Annual Events around Toronto Canada?

My blog tracks many of the annual Toronto events, as well as some events in the GTA, that I find interesting, free or frugal. Who needs a luxury vacation resort when there is so much to do locally?

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article. However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and other online sites. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights those online articles on this site.

Click the “Toronto Events” category at the bottom of the right-hand column for recent articles in this category. Thanks!

Thanks for reading about these GTA Santa Claus Parades in 2014.


The 2014 Santa Claus Parade in Toronto

The 2014 Santa Claus Parade in Toronto returns on Sunday Nov. 16. This annual winter Toronto event says “start your engines” for thinking about winter holidays. What are the attractions? Where should you go to watch this parade? (Added Nov. 14, 2014): Or if you want to head out of town, consider “21 GTA Santa Claus Parades in 2014“.

"2009 Santa Claus Parade in Toronto" image by c'est la Viva at Flickr

"2009 Santa Claus Parade in Toronto" image by c'est la Viva at Flickr

Just Before the Toronto Santa Claus Parade

The Toronto Santa Claus Parade’s opening act is the Holly Jolly 5Km Run, starting at noon. It’s a brilliant way to give spectators something to see and to cheer for – the runners pay for the privilege, and the fees help subsidize the parade. This is only the second year for this 5Km run.

Speaking to my fellow recreational runners: you’re unlikely to find as many spectators per kilometre at any other Canadian road race event. That’s because the Holly Jolly 5Km Run follows the parade route. And this may be the only Toronto road closure for sports that is not greeted with “Get off the street so I can drive my car” complaints in the Twitterverse or in angry letters to newspaper editors.

The Toronto Santa Claus Parade Route and Attractions

The Holly Jolly 5Km Run follows the Santa Claus Parade route. It starts eastbound from Bloor & Bathurst, turns south onto Queen’s Park and University Ave., and east onto Wellington and Front. The finish line is near the St. Lawrence Market; the floats “disappear” at Front & Jarvis.

The parade itself begins just a bit west of Bathurst, at Christie Pits, but I’d pick a spot anywhere further along the route in order to watch both the run and the parade.

The parade itself features floats, marching bands, volunteer performers such as the upside-down clowns, and the highly anticipated visit by Santa Claus. The parade launches at 12:30pm.

The 2014 Santa Claus Parade has more floats than ever, with strong entries from Toronto’s professional sports teams. Since both the Maple Leafs and the Raptors are winning over 50% of their games (as of Nov. 13, 2014), there’s reason to cheer when their floats appear.

Tips for Watching the Santa Claus Parade in Toronto

The usual advice includes:

  • Take transit, due to road closures for the parade. I’d pick the northern edge, and take the Number 2 (Bloor-Danforth) subway line to the St. George station.
  • Dress warm, with some protection from wind, snow or drizzle. I’d wear an empty backpack to store a layer of clothing if it turns out that I’m too warm. Comfortable but dry shoes would be smart, too, or perhaps boots.
  • For your children, plan on a spot near a coffee shop for washroom breaks. Then buy a coffee or hot chocolate for the kids. And bring a small variety of things to keep them amused while they wait. A Kindle reader might be a good choice.
  • If you spot Air Cadets selling “red noses”, buy one to support them as well as the Toronto Santa Claus Parade. And it helps keep your nose warm.
  • The best wheelchair access should be at Berczy Park on Front Street, according to the official Toronto Santa Claus Parade web site.

Your best-laid plans will come to naught if you’re tardy; the sidewalks will get pretty crowded along the parade route.

Looking for More Winter Holiday Ideas?

If you’re thinking about a frugal holiday office party this season, consider including the “Secret Santa Gift Exchange”. Have people sign up; put each name on a separate piece of paper; and hand out the slips. Give clear guidelines on spending limits. Part of the fun is to sneak presents onto people’s desks when they’re not looking; or you could simply hand out wrapped presents at the office party.

My blog tracks many of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting, free or frugal. Last year I’d written “Toronto Santa Claus Parade 2013 and Holly Jolly Fun Run

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article. However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and other online sites. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights those online articles on this site.

Click the “Toronto Events” category at the bottom of the right-hand column for recent articles in this category. Thanks!

Thanks for reading about the 2014 Santa Claus Parade in Toronto.


2014 Remembrance Day in Toronto

Every Nov. 11, Canadians mark Remembrance Day with parades and solemn ceremonies to honour those who died defending this country. Where are the major venues for Remembrance Day in Toronto?

Please note that several services and parades are held on the Sunday before Remembrance Day; my apologies for not listing these in time for the 2014 events. One such annual Toronto event is the Scarborough Remembrance ceremony; it was held at 2pm on Sunday Nov. 9, 2014 at the Scarborough Civic Centre (150 Borough Drive).

"Guarding Fort York in Toronto Ontario" image by Bobolink (Robert Taylor) in Flickr

"Guarding Fort York in Toronto Ontario" image by Bobolink (Robert Taylor) in Flickr

Remembrance Day Ceremonies at Old City Hall in Toronto

Old City Hall, at the north-east corner of Queen and Bay Streets, is the main site for Toronto Remembrance Day ceremonies which begin at 10:45am on Tuesday Nov. 11. This venue is close to the Number 1 (Yonge) subway line, a short distance west from the Queen St. station.

Boroughs Host Remembrance Day Ceremonies in Toronto

Each of the pre-amalgamation boroughs continue to hold Remembrance Day services.

East York gathers at the Civic Centre (850 Coxwell Ave.) at 10:45am, in the Memorial Garden.

In Etobicoke, the cenotaph is the focal point for that Civic Centre (399 The West Mall), at 10:15am.

The North York service uses the Galen Weston Recital Hall at the North York Centre (5040 Yonge St.) at 10:45am. Again, the Number 1 (Yonge) subway line services this venue.

The former borough of York meets at the York Memorial Collegiate Auditorium (2690 Eglinton Ave. West) at 10:45am.

Historic Fort York Hosts Remembrance Day Service

The burial grounds at Fort York (250 Fort York Blvd.) provide a sombre setting for the Remembrance Day service at 10:45am. Old Fort York is an historic site and museum operated by the City of Toronto. It is bounded by Strachan Ave., the railway tracks south of Wellesley St., Bathurst St. and Fort York Blvd (north of Lake  Shore Blvd West, and north-east of the CNE grounds).

The Ontario 2014 Remembrance Day Service at Queen’s Park in Toronto

Queen’s Park hosts the Ontario legislature, and serves as the local venue for the province’s Remembrance Day ceremony which begins at 10:45am on Nov. 11. The Number 1 (University portion) subway’s Queen’s Park Station serves the southern end of the park.

Beyond Remembrance Day at the Metro Toronto Zoo

The Metro Toronto Zoo hosts its Remembrance Day ceremony at the Waterside Theatre (in the Discovery Zone of Kids’ Zoo … towards the right after you enter the zoo grounds). The start time is 10:55am.

The zoo waives its regular admission and parking fees for uniformed veterans & serving military, police, ambulance, fire & TTC personnel. The rest of us pay regular prices to attend, but of course the whole zoo is open for the rest of the day.

Online References for 2014 Remembrance Day in Toronto

The various city and former boroughs of Toronto Remembrance Day services are listed in this City Hall web page. The Metro Toronto Zoo Remembrance Day event is here. The Queen’s Park Remembrance Day page is here.

I’ve written about these annual Toronto events previously; for example in “Where to Attend a 2013 Remembrance Day Ceremony in Toronto“. For our neighbours in the Greater Toronto Area, this year’s “GTA Remembrance Day 2014 Venues” may be more helpful.

As well, many local parks host annual Remembrance Day events; the neighbourhood newspapers cover them quite well.

"Poppy for Remembrance Day 2014" image by Mike DeHaan

"Poppy for Remembrance Day 2014" image by Mike DeHaan

Looking for More Annual Events in Toronto Canada?

My blog tracks many of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting, free or frugal.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article. However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and other online sites. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights those online articles on this site.

Click the “Toronto Events” category at the bottom of the right-hand column for recent articles in this category. Thanks!

Thanks for reading about the main venues for 2014 Remembrance Day in Toronto.

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