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holiday

Holiday Gift Guide – Souvenirs

Explore Toronto’s fantastic shopping scene to find gifts for friends, family and anyone else on your list.

Toronto subway buttons ($2 each)
Spacing store, 401 Richmond St. W., spacingstore.ca

View a slideshow of great clothing items and other cozy gift ideas:

2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Kids

Explore Toronto’s fantastic shopping scene to find gifts for friends, family and anyone else on your list.

Raccoon hand puppet ($61.95)
ShopAGO, Art Gallery
of Ontario, 317 Dundas St. W., shop2.ago.net

View a slideshow of great toys and adorable gift ideas:

2017 Warm & Cosy Holiday Gift Guide

Explore Toronto’s fantastic shopping scene to find gifts for friends, family and anyone else on your list.

Wolf-pompom knit toque ($99)
Simons, Square One Shopping Centre, 100 City Centre Dr.,
Mississauga, m.simons.ca

View a slideshow of great clothing items and other cozy gift ideas:

The 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Everyone has their own idea of the perfect holiday. Some like to cook up a storm, others head for the hills. And then there are those for whom holidays mean dressing up and hitting every fabulous party. No matter how you like to wile away the time, our holiday gift guide has you covered.

Party Time

Diamond Earrings at Howard Fine Jewellers, 220 Sparks St.

Sparkle like a red-carpet star with these stunning dangle earrings, which feature round and yellow enhanced diamonds. $19,500.

Dirty Jokes at Stomping Ground, 728 Bank St.

Take your cocktail party banter to a new level with this collection of adult jokes. $11

Ace Face Shoes at John Fluevog Shoes, 61 William St.

These fancy lace-up derbys by the celebrated Canadian designer will ensure that you step out in style. $349.

Appliqué Minaudière Purse at Nordstrom50 Rideau St.

Add texture and shine to an evening outfit with this pint-sized purse. $169.

Silk Ties at E.R. Fisher199 Richmond Rd.

Dion neckwear has been making high-quality silk ties ($95-$135) and pocket rounds ($65) out of Toronto for 40 years.

Cook

Cheese Board at Boogie & Birdie, 256 Elgin St.

Show your national pride with this made-in-Canada bamboo cheese board. $106.

Reusable Bags at terra201304 Wellington St. W.

Be a wise owl and use these cute reusable bags, which come in a package of two. $15.

Japanese Blade at Knifewear, 800 Bank St.

The Mugen Santoku is a multi-purpose knife perfect for slicing, dicing, and mincing vegetables. $500.

Wood Finish at Maker House Company, 987 Wellington St. W.

Enhance and protect your wooden utensils and cutting boards with this all-natural beeswax product. $8.

Food Storage at The Chef’s Paradise1314 Bank St.

This alternative to plastic wrap uses the heat of your hand to create a seal. $30.

Play

Mountaineering Board Game by Family Pastimes

Watch for avalanches, overcome frostbite, and grapple with other challenges in this cooperative, locally-made board game. $21.

Poop Coaster at Maker House Company, 987 Wellington St. W.

This coaster protects furniture — and lets guests know you’re not that uptight. $22. 

Good Gorilla at The Modern Shop, 541 Sussex Dr.

Hanno the gorilla can hold poses and hook onto furniture, bringing a touch of fun to any space. $150.

Snoopy Backpack at Simons, 50 Rideau St.

This Peanuts backpack by Vans features a padded back and adjustable strap. $45.

Phone Case at Boogie & Birdie, 256 Elgin St.

Is it mixed tape or mix tape? Regardless, transform your iPhone into an icon with this throwback case. $36.

Cozy Up

Earmuffs at the Hudson’s Bay Company50 Rideau St.

These faux fur earmuffs from the Canadian Olympic Team Collection feature a cozy knit headband. Also available in red. $30.

Box of Chocolates by Bernard Callebaut314 Richmond Rd.

This collection features handcrafted chocolates, five of which are award winners. $24.

Grand Teapot at Le Creuset517 Sussex Dr.

This teapot has a capacity of four cups — so your reading (or Netflix-binging) time won’t be interrupted by the need to put the kettle on. $60.

Canadian Club 40 YO at the LCBO, various locations

Toast Canada’s 150th with limited-edition Canadian Club Whisky that has been aged for 40 years. $250. 

Wool Blanket at The Opinicon1697 Chaffeys Lock Rd.

Handmade in Canada, this 100 per cent virgin wool blanket is the same one that graces the beds at the historical Opinicon Resort. $195.

Explore

Weatherproof Pad at Lee Valley, 900 Morisson Dr.

The Rite in the Rain notebook will not absorb water, nor will it curl or wrinkle. $9.50.

Craft Beer at the LCBO, various locations

Get adventurous with your tastebuds with beer from Ontario’s Collective Arts and Flying Monkeys. About $3.

Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket at Bushtukah, 203 Richmond Rd.

This lightweight down winter jacket is ideal for when the temperatures drop and weight is a concern. $350.

Eton Grundig Executive Satellite Radio at MEC, 366 Richmond Rd.

This device receives AM, FM, long and shortwave, VHF, marine, and HAM signals. $200.

The Bripe at Equator Coffee Roasters, 412 Churchill Ave. N.

You don’t want to lug a coffee pot to the great outdoors but need a caffeine fix. This copper apparatus and its kit allows the user to brew up an espresso in just a few minutes. $99.

2017 Food and Drink Holiday Gift Guide

Explore Toronto’s fantastic shopping scene to find gifts for friends, family and anyone else on your list.

Nuremberg-style Lebkuchen cookies ($24 and up)
Pusateri’s Fine Foods, 57 Yorkville Ave.; other locations, pusateris.com

Click below to view a slideshow of great food and drink gift ideas:

Must-See Performances in November and December

NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER ARE FULL OF EXCITING PERFORMANCES FROM BALLET TO ACROBATICS TO MAGIC, AND MORE  

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The 7 Fingers Cuisine and Confessions merges acrobatics with the art of cooking. Photo by by Alexandre Galliez.

Mirvish Productions, Toronto’s largest theatre company, is closing out 2016 with a program of more esoteric—yet still ambitious—shows to complement its typical grander-scale fare. The 7 Fingers Cuisine and Confessions (November 1 to December 4), for instance, blends acrobatics and cooking in a theatrical feast for the senses, while Fight Night (November 4 to 20) concocts an immersive exploration of democracy—just in time for the fireworks of the U.S. presidential election. And there’s more spectacle to be found in The Illusionists (starts December 13), which features awe-inspiring tricks by seven of the world’s top magicians.

Aligator Pie, Soulpepper

Soulpepper’s Alligator Pie is fun for the whole family. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

The spotlight also shines on sleight of hand courtesy of Soulpepper Theatre Company and magic maestro David Ben’s Hocus Pocus (starts December 10). Equally inventive—and family-friendly—are Rose (December 16, 17, and 22), a concert presentation based on The World Is Round, a children’s book by Gertrude Stein, and Alligator Pie (starts December 27), an award-winning adaptation of Dennis Lee’s poems. 

And for more adult-oriented fare, turn to the Canadian Stage and Daniel MacIvor. His solo show, Who Killed Spalding Gray? (November 30 to December 11), combines the Canadian playwright’s uniquely disarming scripting with some of the titular character’s famed monologues in an interrogation of truth and fiction.

ENCORE PERFORMANCES

A pair of repertory remounts round out the National Ballet of Canada’s year-end slate—alongside its annual production of The Nutcracker (December 10 to 31), naturally. Most recently performed in 2014, James Kudelka’s Cinderella (November 12 to 20) offers a thoroughly modern interpretation of the age-old fairy tale, and later, the expressive Onegin (November 23 to 27)—John Cranko’s adaptation of the Pushkin novel, Eugene Onegin—aims for emotional and psychological nuance even while its dancers push the boundaries of what the human body can do.

Sharing the Four Seasons Centre stage with the National Ballet means that the Canadian Opera Company has for the time being ceded the spotlight, but the COC presents a great reason to return in 2017: its ever-popular production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute (January 19 to February 24).

HITTING THE RIGHT NOTES

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Itzhak Perlman enchants audiences with his performances of beloved movie scores.

The popular music of previous centuries—that is, classical music—is always in vogue with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. But the venerated ensemble keeps up with the times, too, by presenting contemporary scores. Among this winter’s biggest tickets are Itzhak Perlman’s “Cinema Serenade” (November 22)—in which the famed violinist performs themes from films, including Cinema Paradiso, Sabrina and Schindler’s List—and screenings of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring with live TSO accompaniment (December 1 to 3). Christmas classics also get an airing in variety show-style concerts hosted by Colin Mochrie (December 9 to 11) and Jann Arden (December 13 and 14).

Meanwhile, another hallowed musical institution hones in on jazz. The Royal Conservatory’s Koerner Hall schedule features the likes of Joe Lovano’s quintet with Afro-Cuban piano legend Chucho Valdés (November 9), a cabaret-style pairing of vocalists Laila Biali and Pilar (December 1), and explorations of the trio format with threesomes led by pianist Stefano Bollani, bassist Roberto Occhipinti (both November 18), organist Joey DeFrancesco and saxophonist Christine Jensen (both December 10).

—Craig Moy

A Halifax Holiday

Jeremy Webb's A Christmas Carol

Jeremy Webb returns as Scrooge in a Christmas Carol.

With its rich history and diverse population, Halifax has many beloved traditions and events to mark the Christmas season. The unofficial kickoff to Halifax’s holidays comes on November 17 with the Holiday Parade of Lights. This popular annual parade will draw some 100,000 spectators, so stake out a good vantage point early. The parade begins on Barrington Street, wending its way through the downtown, west on Spring Garden Road. There will be music, entertainment, floats galore and a visit from Santa Claus.

The action returns downtown on November 24, as Grand Parade square in front of City Hall hosts the city’s Christmas Tree Lighting. Once again, there will be family-friendly entertainment and a visit from St. Nick. If you miss that, you get a do-over on December 1. Drop by Sullivan’s Pond for the Dartmouth Christmas Tree Lighting . The agenda includes a concert by Razzmatazz, fireworks and free rides on the Santa Claus Express Train.

As you’d expect, there are holiday concerts aplenty as well. On November 28, Cape Breton songstress Rita MacNeil performs her annual Christmas show at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on University Avenue. Joined by pianist Frank Mills, she presents traditional holiday tunes.

And it just wouldn’t be Christmas without the return of two wildly popular annual productions by Symphony Nova Scotia. Running from December 7 to 13 is an elaborate production of The Nutcracker. Tchaikovsky’s heartwarming story of a
little girl whisked into a fairytale land features performers from Halifax Dance and elaborate puppetry by Mermaid Theatre. Up next at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on University Avenue is the Symphony’s annual performance of Handel’s Messiah. Guest soloists and the 80-voice Symphony Chorus give full impact to the Baroque masterpiece.

If you’re not in the holiday spirit by December 23, return to the Dalhousie Arts Centre for the annual Barra MacNeils Christmas concert. Another annual holiday favourite, this one pays homage to the province’s Celtic roots, as the Cape Breton group shares old-time music.

November and December are jammed with holiday plays and stage shows, too. The holiday show at Neptune Theatre on Argyle Street this year is Elf: The Musical. Based on the popular Will Ferrell comedy, it’s the fairytale story of Buddy. Raised as one of Santa’s elves, he discovers he’s human and heads to New York to track down his father.

On December 10, celebrations take a hilarious twist with Tis the Season. Cape Breton comedians Bette MacDonald and Maynard Morrison team up for a sidesplitting look at the holidays. If it never quite feels like Christmas until you see Scrooge, so drop by the Cunard Centre on December 13 for Jeremy Webb’s one-man performance of A Christmas Carol. After performing the show for several Christmases, Webb is an expert at bringing Scrooge’s uplifting tale to life.

Finally, say good-bye to 2012 and welcome 2013 on December 31 with the annual New Year’s Eve celebrations in Grand Parade square on Barrington Street. Beginning at 9:30 p.m., local TV personalities host a rollicking all-ages celebration, with live music and a spectacular fireworks display at midnight.