November 20 & 21 Fire jugglers, stilt walkers and strolling songsters take over Elm Street this weekend, as the Ice, Wine and Dine Festival transforms the relatively quiet downtown strip into a festive holiday block party.
Organized by local businesses, the event also features live music, fortune tellers, magicians and ice-sculpture carvers, while restaurants and cafés serve up delectable food and drink specials under heated patio tents—recently opened pub The Queen & Beaver offers mulled cider and warm gingerbread, Commensal has organic hot chocolate and a tasty $5 vegetarian sampling platter. Even the Elmwood Spa participates in the festive fun by handing out free Lindt chocolate goodies. Those who seek heartier fare can stop by the Duke of Somerset and feast on pot roast sandwiches and the miniature deep-fried Mars bars, or pop into the Wolf and Firkin pub for spicy chili served with toasted garlic bread.
Culture vultures are encouraged to peek inside the Arts and Letters Club—a heritage building that, this weekend, hosts visual artists, poetry readings, music performances and more—while party enthusiasts will want to stop by the impressive Ice Martini Lounge, a chic outdoor space featuring a frozen ice bar. Here, revelers can pose for photos beside large-scale ice sculptures and sip on signature cocktails like the “Yongetini,” made with crème de menthe, chocolate liquor and vodka, and garnished with chocolate rosebuds. This downtown neighbourhood event has something for anyone looking to catch a bit of early holiday cheer.
Elm Street (two blocks north of Dundas Street) between Yonge and Bay streets. 4 to 9 p.m, free (excluding food samples); for further information, click here.