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Christmas Events and Things to Do in Toronto: Nathan Phillips Square, Skating, and The Messiah Holiday Activities

Published by Elmira Arendsee

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The Christmas season can come and go so quickly due to the number of party invitations and things to do to get ready for the holiday. Ironically, the end of the year marks a natural time to slow the pace and reflect upon the previous year. However, after a year of toil and strife, why not mix reflection with some well-deserved seasonal events and merriment. The following Christmas holiday events are guaranteed to instill goodwill and festive cheer into even the most steadfast of Scrooges.

Nathan Phillips Square Tree Lighting

The kick-off of the Cavalcade of Lights, which includes the lighting of the Nathan Phillips Square Christmas tree happens on Sat. Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. Live performances include those by Steven Page, Matt Dusk, Keshia Chante, with fireworks at 8 p.m. and a skating party to follow, as well as a fair trade craft market, clothing, and Christmas decorations. Fireworks and skating parties continue every Saturday night in December, with a concert by Jully Black on Dec. 5 at 7 p.m.

Afternoon Tea at Toronto’s First Post Office

Enjoy a special Christmas season afternoon tea hosted by Muddy York Walking Tours at Toronto’s First Post Office, 260 Adelaide Street East, 416-487-9017 on Dec. 13, 14, 20, 21 at 3:45 p.m. The afternoon tea includes egg salad, salmon, cream cheese and lox tea sandwiches, raisin scones, tarts, tea, coffee or apple cider, a talk on early Toronto Victorian Christmases, and a reading of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and Robertson Davies’ Christmas Ghost Stories. $35 per person.

Messiah Toronto

Handel’s holiday classic, The Messiah, is performed on numerous stages throughout Toronto:

  • Handel’s Messiah, Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe Street, 416-872-4255 is performed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on December 16, 18, 19, 21 at 8 p.m. and on Dec. 20 at 3 p.m. Tickets $35-$99.
  • Handel’s Messiah, Trinity St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor Street West, 416-964-6337, provides an intimate setting for the holiday classic, performed as originally intended by Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir, with shows Dec. 16, 17, and 18 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $39-$89.
  • Sing-Along Messiah, Massey Hall, 416-872-4255, led by Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, includes audience participation to create a sing-along the Handel classic of 2,700 voices. Sun. Dec. 20 at 2 p.m. General Admission Tickets $39.

Wreath-Making Classes Toronto

Indulging in the creative act of Christmas wreath-making is a relaxing way to relieve the stress of the holiday season:


  • Christmas Wreath-Making Workshops (Adult), are offered at Colborne Lodge, High Park, 416-392-6916, Nov. 21, Nov. 22 or Nov. 28 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.; Nov. 26, Dec. 2 or Dec. 9 at 6:30 p.m.; Nov. 29 at 2 p.m.; and Dec. 5 or Dec. 6 at 10 a.m. The two-hour workshop is $27.50 plus taxes, and includes light refreshments.

Christmas is a busy season and the task at hand is sometimes managing to fit everything in. In order to avoid stress, take the time out to enjoy some of Toronto’s festive events including performances of Handel’s Messiah, the lighting of the Christmas tree and skating at Nathan Phillips Square, Christmas wreath-making classes at High Park, or afternoon tea by the fireplace at Toronto’s First Post Office. There is no better way to enjoy the Christmas holiday season!

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