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Christmas events

Review: The Day Before Christmas


The most wonderful time of the year can also be the most stressful time, especially for a perfectionist such as Alex (played with frazzled flawlessness by Jennifer Copping). Alex clings to her over-the-top Christmas traditions while juggling her demanding job as a caterer, the reappearance of an old flame, and ever-escalating family drama.

Paul Herbert and Jennifer Copping. Set design by Drew Facey, costume design by Carmen Alatorre, and lighting design by Itai Erdal. Photo by David Cooper.

As portrayed by Paul Herbert, hapless husband Alan tries and fails repeatedly to make his wife happy. Stressed-out daughter Brodie (Julie Leung) and blasé son Max (Daren Dyhengco) walk around in self-absorbed bubbles, as only teenagers can. Thanks to some technical wizardry, clueless brother Keith (Jay Hindle) appears intermittently via Skype to mess up Alex’s holiday plans further. Brodie’s friend Dirk (played by charming scene-stealer Curtis Tweedie) appears on stage quite late in the play to complicate matters even more.

Julie Leung and Curtis Tweedie. Set design by Drew Facey, costume design by Carmen Alatorre, and lighting design by Itai Erdal. Photo by David Cooper.

Just when Alex’s perfect holiday seems entirely ruined, spoiler alert: a Christmas miracle happens.

After its well-received premiere last year, The Day Before Christmas (Nov. 16 to Dec. 24, 2017) returns to the Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre for another zany run. Its gentle humour will appeal to anyone who’s ever become frustrated enough over a broken ornament or ruined holiday dinner to announce, “I quit!”

‘Tis the season

By Trevor J. Adams

Parades, live theatre, concerts galore and more—Halifax is abuzz with Christmas magic.

November and December are lively months in Halifax, with dozens of special events to celebrate the holiday season. Read on for our favourites. With an exciting mix of traditional classics and new events, there’s plenty here for the whole family.


Holiday Parade of Lights. Photo: Will Roberts

Holiday Parade of Lights. Photo: Will Roberts

The Holiday Parade of Lights on November 21 marks the unofficial start of the holiday season in Halifax, as some 100,000 spectators line downtown streets to see dozens of floats and musical acts. Also on November 21,

Halifax Citadel National Historic Site hosts its annual Victorian Christmas, sharing Christmas traditions dating back to colonial days. The event continues on November 22.

Victorian Christmas at Halifax Citadel. Photo: Parks Canada

Victorian Christmas at Halifax Citadel. Photo: Parks Canada

Back downtown on November 28, Grand Parade square in front of Halifax City Hall hosts the city’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting, a family-friendly celebration with live entertainment and a visit from Santa. The party moves across the harbour the next weekend, as the park at Sullivan’s Pond hosts the Dartmouth Christmas Tree Lighting on December 5, where the highlights include the Santa Claus Express Train and fireworks.


Back for its 38th year, Christmas at the Forum is one of Canada’s largest annual indoor markets of its type, with some 450 vendors offering art, gifts, antiques, and food. The Halifax Forum on Windsor Street hosts on November 6 to 8.


Alexander Weimann

Alexander Weimann joins Symphony Nova Scotia for Handel’s Messiah

Symphony Nova Scotia offers holiday concerts galore, with Bach’s Christmas Oratorio on November 28 and 29, The Nutcracker (presented with Mermaid Theatre and Halifax Dance) on December 4 to 13, and Handel’s Messiah on December 18 and 19.

A King’s Christmas is back on December 13. A special guest narrator joins the King’s College Chapel Choir at All Saint’s Cathedral on Martello Street for seasonal songs and stories. Paul Halley directs.

The holidays get a Celtic twist on December 20, as the Barra MacNeils perform A Cape Breton Christmas at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

Barra MacNeils

Barra MacNeils


Beloved humourist and storyteller Stuart McLean brings his Vinyl Café Christmas Show to the Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street on November 20. December sees the return of a popular holiday-themed comedy event on December 11 and 12. The annual Ha Ha Halidays event comes to the World Trade and Convention Centre on December 11 and 12, with a lineup that includes Australian funny guy Jim Dailakis and Newfoundlander John Sheehan.


Neptune Theatre’s long-awaited holiday production begins on November 28. A Year With Frog and Toad brings Arnold Lobel’s character to the stage in a Tony-nominated musical. The holiday pantomime at Theatre Arts Guild is another seasonal mainstay. It’s always a lively, rollicking show with lots of audience participation. This year, The Emperor’s New Clothes runs from November 26 to December 12.


Calgary Weekend Roundup: December 9-11

Find out what events you can’t miss this weekend in Calgary. For complete event listings, be sure to check out the Where Calgary Entertainment listings.

Photograph courtesy of Paul Brandt

Friday December 9, 2011

It’s a weekend of symphonic holiday music as the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra presents “Handel’s Messiah” tonight and tomorrow night. They continue with “A Traditional Christmas” in partnership with the Young Canadians on Saturday, and finish the weekend on Sunday with “Sing Along Messiah,” the sing-along version of “Handel’s Messiah” with conductor Ivars Taurins’ dressed up as Handel.

The Calgary Hitmen take to the ice at Scotiabank Saddledome against the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday night, so be sure to head out and cheer them on!


Canadian Holiday Markets Open Until Christmas (or Nearly)

Vancouver Christmas Market. Photo by GusF.

By the time the second week of December rolls around, a number of Canada’s pop-up holiday markets, like Calgary’s huge Spruce Meadows Market, have come and gone. But if you’re getting a “late” start to your shopping, you still have time to find unique gifts at these holiday gift fairs. (more…)