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The Sleeping Beauty

East Coast Holidays

Live Music, Theatre, Parades, and More—Christmas Celebrations Abound in the Halifax Area


Grand Parade in Halifax (Photo Credit: Tammy Fancy)

The Holiday Parade of Lights on Nov. 17 marks the unofficial start of the holiday season in Halifax, as thousands of spectators line downtown streets to see dozens of floats and musical acts (and, of course, Santa Claus). Back downtown on Nov. 24, 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. Also on Nov. 24 (and 25), Halifax Citadel National Historic Site hosts its annual Victorian Christmas, sharing holiday traditions dating back to colonial days. The party moves across the harbour the next weekend, as the park at Sullivan’s Pond hosts the Dartmouth Christmas Tree Lighting on Dec. 1, where the highlights include the Santa Claus Express Train and fireworks.


The Celtic Tenors

Symphony Nova Scotia offers a full calendar of holiday concerts at the Dalhousie Arts Centre, starting Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 with A Celtic Tenors Christmas. Up next is perennial favourite The Nutcracker (presented with Mermaid Theatre and Halifax Dance) running from Dec. 7 to 9 and 13 to 16. As usual, things reach a crescendo on Dec. 21, 22, with Handel’s magnificent Messiah. This year presented in the historic “Dublin” arrangement, it features Mezzo-soprano Marion Newman, tenor Michael Colvin, and baritone Alexander Dobson.


The Ennis Sisters

Oh What A Night—The Christmas Show takes the stage at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on Nov. 18. The cast of the Oh What A Night tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons offer audience favourites from the original production, plus a musical tribute to “Mr. Christmas” Andy Williams. Prefer your holidays with an East Coast twist? On Nov. 30, The Ennis Sisters from Newfoundland combine original songs and holiday classics in a show that features stunning harmonies, recitations, lively step dancing, and playful humour. See them at St. Matthew’s United Church on Barrington Street. And on Dec. 6, Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street hosts Serena Ryder Christmas. The eponymous singer/songwriter offers a mix of new material, old hits, and holiday classics.


Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

Neptune Theatre’s long-awaited holiday production begins on Nov. 27 and continues through Jan. 5. Artistic director Jeremy Webb adapts Cinderella as a musical comedy for the stage, starring Samantha Walkes as the title hero. Concurrently, Neptune’s studio stage hosts another holiday mainstay: Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, a one-man show starring Rhys Bevan-John. The pantomime at Theatre Arts Guild is another annual family favourite. It’s always a lively, rollicking show with lots of audience participation. This year, see Sleeping Beauty from Nov. 22 to Dec. 8.


Neon Dreams

Join thousands of revellers at Grand Parade square in front of Halifax City Hall for the East Coast’s largest New Year’s Eve party. The family-friendly celebration begins at 10:30 p.m., with headliners Neon Dreams and A Tribe Called Red offering live musical performances, followed by a giant fireworks show at midnight.


Weekend Roundup: March 9 to 11

Friday: The piano at Hugh's Room is sure to get a workout

Friday, March 9
Be at Hugh’s Room when an all-star cast of musicians perform the work of songwriting great Randy Newman. The wit and lyrical brilliance that infused songs by Etta James, Tom Jones and Joe Cocker will be in full force at this tribute.

It’s bound to be an evening chocful of blonde hair and pink accessories at the Lower Ossington Theatre when Legally Blonde: The Musical struts onstage. You’ll cheer as Elle Woods, sorority-girl extraordinaire, enrolls in law school and silences naysayers.

Ballet Jorgen unites the lyricism and innovation of ballet throughout the ages in this weekend’s production of classical and contemporary ballet. This two-show run by one of Canada’s leading modern dance companies is sure to inspire and delight as it glides across the Betty Oliphant Theatre stage. (more…)

Weekend Roundup, November 13th to 15th

A colourful cast of characters  arrives in the city this weekend: a magical princess,  a notorious former president—even Santa Claus makes an appearance!

Friday: Marvel at the National Ballet's classic staging of The Sleeping Beauty.

Friday: The National Ballet presents its classic staging of The Sleeping Beauty.

Friday, November 13th
Be enchanted as the National Ballet of Canada brings to life a beloved children’s fairytale in a sumptuous performance of The Sleeping Beauty.

Giggle and guffaw at the silly antics of She Said What, The Understudies and 46 other North American improv troupes participating in the fifth annual SketchFest comedy festival.

Sing along as country crooner Lyle Lovett performs his Grammy-winning hits at Massey Hall, a storied concert venue in the heart of downtown Toronto.

Saturday: Intrigue is everywhere in Stuff Happens.

Saturday: Political intrigue abounds in David Hare's Stuff Happens.

Saturday, November 14th
Spend the afternoon in the Market Kitchen of the historic St. Lawrence Market, where you can taste exclusive wines from local vintners and nosh on delicious nibbles supplied by the building’s vendors—all while listening to live jazz.

Speculate about the behind-the-scenes decision-making of the George W. Bush administration, following the opening-night performance of Stuff Happens, a riveting political drama by David Hare.

Spend an illuminating evening at Yonge-Dundas Square’s holiday lighting event, complete with a pyrotechnic performance by Circus Orange.

Sunday: Santa sleds down University Avenue.

Sunday: Santa and leads his team of reindeer down University Avenue.

Sunday, November 15th
Bundle up and wave to elves, snowmen, reindeer and the big man himself as the 105th annual Santa Claus Parade makes its way through the city.

Take a cue from Toronto’s trendsetters by hunting for vintage treasures and stylish one-of-a-kind pieces along the West Queen West strip. Pick up whimsical fashions from a variety of eras at Vintage 69, Cabaret and other colourful boutiques in this hip ‘hood.

Don’t miss your final chance to see a dazzling array of gems and jewels at the Royal Ontario Museum’s Light and Stone exhibition.

November Hot Date: Balletic Beauty

Guillaume Côté and Greta Hodgkinson in <em>The Sleeping Beauty</em><br>Photo by Bruce ZingerNOVEMBER 13 TO 29 Rudolf Nureyev’s breathtaking rendition of The Sleeping Beauty opens the latest season of the National Ballet of Canada, reprising an interpretation that originally made its debut in 1972. Set in 16th-century Russia, a curse by an evil fairy subjects Princess Aurora to 100 years of sleep in this cherished fairy tale that is a collaborative Tchaikovsky-Petipa masterpiece. Catch the magical kiss by Prince Florimund that awakens the slumbering princess from November 13 to 22. Three contemporary works—World Premiere by Aszure Barton, The Four Temperaments and Glass Pieces—which run from November 25 to 29, round out the company’s autumn offerings. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, $20 to $210;
call 416-345-9595 or visit here for times and tickets.