BY SARA BURNSIDE MENUCK
Sure, this New Year’s Eve you could stay in, snuggle with your sweetheart and watch the televised concerts and fireworks from the comfort of your own couch—but that’s so 2013. On the last day of the year, Toronto becomes a city that doesn’t sleep with a plethora of parties and other special events for you to discover. Read on for the best ways to ring in a happy 2014.
RAISE THE ROOF
Some of Toronto’s many top-grade hotels are getting even classier with New Year’s dinner-and-dance events. The ever-chic Thompson Hotel, for one, can barely contain itself with a New Year’s bash spread out across three of its swanky event spaces and featuring three different DJs, plus another tune-spinner on the roof. Tighten your tie and rub elbows with the city’s elite at the Twelfth Hour party in the Trump Tower‘s glittering two-storey ballroom. This (new) year also brings a Majestic NYE to the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, which boasts a live cabaret show and stand-up comedy.
DANCE ‘TIL YOU DROP
Skip the dinner and shimmy straight to the dance floor: Toronto’s nightlife scene has New Year’s Eve well covered. Mingle at Liberty Grand’s Together NYE, a DJ-driven event spanning the venue’s multiple rooms, or swagger into Cube, where auld lang syne and avant-garde fuse for a uniquely edgy experience. For a New Year’s party with an industrial vibe, head to Uniun, a cavernous space with luminescent lighting and a state-of-the-art sound system to keep the party going well past midnight. Major music venue Sound Academy rings in 2014 with its Genesis party, hosted by Z103.5’s Jimmy T. Or head next door to Cirque at Solarium, a glass atrium overlooking Lake Ontario, and welcome the New Year with a dazzling view of the city’s skyline.
SOMETHING(S) COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
Looking to liven up your New Year’s sans the high heels and bow ties? Check out ping-pong club SPiN Toronto for a fuss-free night of table tennis and champagne. Take a starlit cruise around the Toronto harbour on the Jubilee Queen—while indulging in a deluxe buffet dinner, live DJ entertainment and midnight toast, of course. If you’ve got kids in tow, why not walk on the wild side at the Toronto Zoo’s NYE Family Countdown; the early-evening event features a magic show and some special animal guests. And if the new year puts you in a really nostalgic mood, visit Medieval Times and be thrilled by live jousting, the museum of torture, a four-course feast and a DJ dance party for the (middle) ages.
AN AFFAIR IN THE SQUARE
The whole family’s invited downtown as CityTV hosts its 28th annual New Year’s Bash at Nathan Phillips Square. Strap on your skates and slide across the outdoor skating rink while being serenaded by the The Tenors, Kardinal Offishall and others. Feel like going the extra mile? A New Year’s Eve drive to Niagara Falls yields two spectacular fireworks displays plus music by Demi Lovato, Serena Ryder and the Sam Roberts Band.
THE SHOWS GO ON
If you’d rather sit back and relax than take to the dance floor, there are a number of late night shows to keep you entertained all the way to 2014. The Second City, for one, is staging a special performance of its hit show We’ve Totally (Probably) Got This, with the New Year’s perk of a post-show countdown and toast with the cast. Keep the laughs coming at Massey Hall’s Comedy Extravaganza: the all-star stand-up and sketch comedy line-up includes a host of funny folks, including Jessica Kirson, David Merheje and Mike MacDonald. Massey’s sister site Roy Thomson Hall has extravaganza of its own: Bravissimo! Opera’s Greatest Hits celebrates Verdi’s 200th birthday with an internationally acclaimed slate of performers. Still in the mood for tunes? A great number of concert venues are set to ring in the New Year with everything from EDM to indie rock.