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New Year’s Eve

10 New Year’s Eve Events in Calgary

By MICHAELA RITCHIE and SILVIA PIKAL 

Start the new year off with a bang with the City of Calgary’s legendary fireworks show at Olympic Plaza. (Photo courtesy of the City of Calgary.)

It’s the final countdown of the year! From traditional parties complete with fireworks and fizz, to more quirky festivities for family and friends alike, here’s some fun ways to ring in 2018 in Calgary. (more…)

25 Things To Do in Calgary in December

By MICHAELA RITCHIE

A Tribe Called Red will bring their revolutionary sound to The Palace Theatre Dec. 1. (Photo by Matt Barnes.)

For some of you, Christmas has been top of mind for the past several months—but now that we’re just weeks away, the rest of us can no longer deny: ’tis the season! To help get you and yours’ in a festive mood, here are 25 of our favourite local celebrations and holiday traditions that you can take part in to count down the days until Christmas!

(If Christmas just isn’t your cup of holiday cheer, never fear! We threw in a couple of chilly activities, sans festivities, down below for getting out around town and making the most of our city at this jolly time of year—so keep scrolling, and get ready to bundle up!) (more…)

CityTV’s Dina Pugliese Shares Her Holiday Traditions

By EVA VOINIGESCU

CityTV New Year's Eve Bash host Dina Pugliese

CityTV personality Dina Pugliese co-hosts the annual New Year’s Eve bash at Nathan Phillips Square (photo: CityTV)

The most festive of seasons is upon us, and though Toronto may be a little lacking in the snow department, there’s definitely no shortage of winter cheer. Arguably the city’s most popular holiday gathering is the annual CityTV New Year’s Eve Bash, where thousands of residents and visitors count down to midnight—accompanied by top Canadian musicians—at Nathan Phillips Square.

In advance of the big night, Where Toronto got in touch with one of event’s effervescent hosts, Breakfast Television’s Dina Pugliese. Below, she shares some of her favourite ways to celebrate the holiday season in this city.

What are the best ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Toronto?
There are so many great restos, club events, and halls offering something for everyone. But my fave New Year’s memories are from house parties—intimate gatherings, warm and comfy inside, watching CityTV’s New Year’s Bash (really!). It’s so surreal to be on the flip side working it for my eighth consecutive year now. It’s also the best rush—sharing the countdown with tens of thousands in the square and millions across the country!

Do you go to any after parties following the Nathan Phillips Square show?
When I do finally thaw out and change, I rush to meet up with my husband. It’s usually around 1:30 a.m. Sometimes it’s at a family gathering or friends’ house, sometimes it’s to join him at a party in full swing at a venue like Spice Route. I sit, eat and drink tea to warm up. (Clearly I’m the life of the party!)

What performer are you most looking forward to this year?
All of them! There’s a stellar lineup! Kardinal Offishall brings the energy, Shawn Desman dances up a storm, and there are plenty of surprises. I love good surprises!

Do you have any favourite designers that you like to wear to events?
I adore anything and everything by Michael Kors! Yorkdale Mall picks out amazing designer outfits for me.

CityTV New Year's Eve Bash fireworks at Nathan Phillips Square

Fireworks cap the New Year’s Eve Bash at Nathan Phillips Square (photo: Sam Javanrouh)

How do you keep warm on stage all night?
You don’t. The trick is to act like you’re toasty warm even though you can’t feel your toes. But I do dance a ton. That helps.

What are your favourite things to do in Toronto during the holiday season?
I love this time of year. Visiting The Bay’s Christmas windows is a family tradition. My niece’s and nephew’s eyes light up. It’s too cute.

Do you have any holiday traditions?
Eat. Family time. Buy stretchy pants. Eat some more. Get to Christmas mass. Eat again. Repeat.

What are some of your favourite stores for holiday shopping?
I love Yorkdale Shopping Centre. It’s a one-stop shop for everyone on your list. I always find great gifts at BCBG and Club Monaco for my sisters and girlfriends.

You work on a morning show, so you must love your coffee. Do you have a favourite place to get it?
Anywhere and everywhere. My only stipulation? It must be piping hot.

What Torontonian have you most enjoyed interviewing?
One of my favourite Torontonians is nutritional food guru Mairlyn Smith. She always leaves me with a full belly, a warm heart, and bright smile. The woman is as kind as she is witty and loving. As for her recipes? All the indulge without the bulge! Everyone’s day is brighter when Mair walks on set!

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.

5 New Year’s Eve Hot Spots in Quebec City

Inside the Château Frontenac on New Year's Eve. Photo by Michel Roy.

By Amanda Halm

For a such a quaint city, Quebec sure knows how to party. And unlike in bigger cities on New Year’s, the party comes sans traffic snarls and expensive entrance fees. Here you’ll find outdoor ice bars, a huge street celebration and a variety of fine dining options. (more…)

Hot Dates: Counting Down Toronto’s New Year’s Eve-nts

Break out the bubbly. It's New Year's Eve! (photo by Anders Andermark)

Have you noticed more and more places selling calendars these days? Maybe, just maybe, it has something to do with the imminent arrival of 2012. Hang on though, your 2011 calendar can be put to use one last time to jot down your plans for December 31st. Consider the following to fill up that final square:

  • It wouldn’t really feel like New Year’s in Toronto without CityTV’s New Year’s Eve Bash at Nathan Phillips Square. The 27th annual installment of the bash comes complete with fireworks plus performances by Backstreet Boy Howie D and pop songstress Anjulie. (more…)

Hot Dates: New Year’s Eve

Grand Parade square in downtown Halifax, in front of Halifax City Hall, hosts Atlantic Canada’s biggest New Year’s Eve party. Festivities begin at 9:30pm, with live entertainment and a spectacular fireworks show at midnight.

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.

(more…)