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Holiday Happenings: New Year’s Eve Celebrations

New Year's at Nathan Phillips SquareWhether you’re looking to take in a stage show, indulge in a culinary celebration, or dance into the wee hours—we’ve got plenty of party ideas to help you ring in 2010.

Scottish Traditions
Step back in time on December 28 for an evening of Scottish food and music during Hogmanay (the Scots word for “new year”) celebrations at Mackenzie House . The decorated 19th-century row house will be illuminated with gaslight while traditional musical group Gin Lane performs popular tunes, including a musical rendition of Auld Lang Syne, the famed verse by Scottish poet Robbie Burns. 82 Bond St., 7 to 9 p.m. $20 per person; call 416-392-6915 to reserve.

On December 29, bring the family to Gibson House for a candlelit evening celebrating the Scottish New Year at the Hogmanay Party for Families. Visitors are greeted at the door by the legendary “First Footer” and are soon immersed in Hogmanay customs through hands-on crafts, stories and sing-alongs. On December 30, enjoy a scrumptious meal at a traditional Hogmanay dinner party.  Wine and dine by the fireside while watching a dramatic re-creation of a New Year from a bygone time. 5172 Yonge St. Hogmanay family party 7 to 9 p.m. Adults $20, children $12.50. Hogmanay Dinner 7:30 to 10 p.m. $50; call 416-395-7432 to pre-register for either event.

Stage Performances
Stand up and cheer for some of the most passionate operatic music ever written as Bravissimo! Opera’s Greatest Hits returns to Toronto for a spectacular New Year’s Eve concert at Roy Thomson Hall. Delight in dazzling performances of beloved arias, duets and more from Carmen, Madama Butterfly, La bohème and other classics from opera’s golden age. 60 Simcoe St. 7 p.m., $75 to $155; call 416-872-4255 or click here to buy.

Laugh, cry, and kiss the New Year goodbye as Yuk Yuk’s founder Mark Breslin presents the annual New Year’s Eve Comedy Extravaganza at Massey Hall. Hilarious host Gerry Dee is joined on stage by the city’s funniest stand up and improv artists. Special guest performers include Nikki Payne and “That Canadian Guy” Glen Foster. 178 Victoria St.
7:30 p.m. $39.50 to $59.50; call 416-872-4255 or visit here to purchase tickets.

The Toronto Operetta Theatre‘s New Year’s Eve Gala features dinner, dancing and a rousing performance of Countess Maritza, an operetta known the world over for its combination of Viennese elegance and Hungarian passion. This fundraising event, which has sold out for 12 years in a row, includes a pre-performance sit-down dinner and a late-night reception and dance party to benefit the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. 27 Front St. E.
5:30 p.m., $145 and up; call 416-366-7723 or click here to buy.

Family-Friendly Fun
Join thousands of revelers at the 25th annual CityTV New Year’s Bash at Toronto’s iconic Nathan Phillips Square. Bring your skates for the outdoor ice rink and ring in 2010 at this star-studded outdoor concert featuring performances by The Mission District, Kardinal Offishal, Jarvis Church and many more. A fireworks display lights up the sky at the stroke of midnight. Don’t forget to bundle up and bring along some hot chocolate and plenty of festive treats to help you keep warm. 100 Queen St. W. 10:30 p.m. Free. Call 311 (Toronto municipal services hotline) for more information.

Take your favorite party animals to a kid-friendly celebration at The Toronto Zoo’s New Year’s Eve Family Countdown. Go wild during a fun-filled evening with musical entertainment, snacks, animal visits and more. Join in for a special Kids’ Countdown at 9 p.m. 361A Old Finch Ave., 6 p.m. $6 to $10; call 416-392-5929 or click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Fine Dining
Executive chef Ted Corrado and his culinary team at the Royal Ontario Museum’s C5 Restaurant collaborate for a gastronomic feast this New Year’s Eve with two different dining options. If you’ve already scheduled late-night plans, opt for the three-course pre-party prix fixe dinner. Later on,  the chef’s tasting menu prix fixe dinner boasts five courses including a choice of roast goose or beef short ribs as a main, and apple-gingerbread cake served with roasted chestnuts and eggnog gelato for dessert. 100 Queens Park. Three-course dinner 5 to 7:30 p.m., $68 to $88. Five-course dinner 8 to 10:30 p.m., $98 to $125; call 416-586-7928 to reserve.

Fete 2010 with an exceptional culinary experience in a lively atmosphere at the Drake Hotel’s Dawn of a New Decade dinner party. Select from five- and three-course menus, or a strolling dinner offering that includes charcuterie and selections from the raw bar. After dinner, mix and mingle with the eclectic crowd—the evening begins with a soulful jazz performance by Elise LeGrow and concludes with a late-night dance party featuring DJs spinning the the Drake Underground and the lounge. 1150 Queen St. W., seating times vary. $75 to $165. Call 416-531-5042, ext. 1 or click here to reserve.

Plan a unique celebration and enjoy dinner and dancing aboard a luxury cruise ship. Mariposa Cruise Line’s New Year’s Eve gala dinner cruise includes a deluxe buffet featuring hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, salads, chicken, seafood, prime rib, and fresh-baked holiday desserts. After dinner, enjoy a complimentary glass of champagne for a midnight toast. With a professional DJ and cash bar on board you’re sure to have a memorable night ringing in the New Year while cruising the Toronto harbour. Must be 16 or older. 207 Queens Quay W. 8 p.m., $124.95; call 1-866-627-7672 or click here for reservations.

Party like a celebrity—and maybe even catch a glimpse of one—at the Ultra Prive New Year’s Eve dinner and dancing party at Ultra. Here, a three-course meal features your choice of grilled beef, oven-roasted lamb, striped bass or vegetarian “tenderloin” for mains and includes two glasses of champagne. The chic dinner party is followed by an all-night celebration for you and the rest of the supper club’s swank patrons. 314 Queen St. W., dinner and party $140, party only $45 and up; call 416-263-0330 or click here to purchase.

Nightclub Cool
Say goodbye to ’09 at This Is London’s royal-themed dance party. Enjoy complimentary party favours and baby champagne bottles as you dance into the new decade with the sounds of Parisian DJ Chris La Roque. Adorn yourself in glittering crown jewels and majestic attire for this royal celebration. Must be 23 or older to attend. 364 Richmond St. W., 9 p.m., $45 and up; call 416-351-1100 or click here to reserve.

Who needs sun and sand this New Year’s Eve when you can take an all-inclusive trip to Entertainment District hot spot Cabana. Toast 2010 at this tropical nightclub with unlimited cocktails, shots, domestic bottles and champagne. 289 Richmond St. W. 9 p.m., $45 all-inclusive; call 416-340-2582  or click here to order tickets.

Dress to impress and celebrate the end of the decade in style at Grand 2010, a luxurious New Year’s Eve party at the Liberty Grand entertainment complex. The spectacular 100,000-square-foot space features 27-foot ceilings adorned with glittering baubles to mark the occasion. With eight different DJs in two ballrooms you’ll have ample room to mingle and dance into the wee hours of the year’s first night. Exhibition Place, 25 British Columbia Rd.,
9 p.m., $60; call 416-890-8846 or click here for tickets.

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