Christmas Day is next week, and if you’re far from home—or you just don’t celebrate Christmas—there’s no reason you have to spend the day alone in your apartment (although if that’s your jam, here’s what’s new on Netflix this month). Here are 10 festive, fun & unconventional ways to mark the day, whatever you decide to do:
Wander the gardens at Winter Flower Show at Allan Gardens Conservatory: Calm your nerves and indulge your senses with breathtaking floral scenes with thousands of colourful blooms, vines and lush plants from around the world. The conservatory is a peaceful winter oasis in the heart of the city. Admission is always free and the Conservatory is open on Christmas Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Located at 160 Gerrard St E.
Take A Deep Dive: Ripley’s Aquarium (288 Bremner Blvd) is one of the only attractions actually open on Christmas Day. Immerse yourself in an underwater world as you explore the Canadian Waters, Rainbow Reef, Dangerous Lagoon and more. Get tix here.
Protect yourself! Invented by women, WingTsun™ is an unarmed self-defence system that does not rely on physical strength or toughness. It uses body mechanics, geometry, physics and simple logic, and it is utilized by law enforcement agencies across the globe. Learn new techniques to defend yourself at a special Christmas Day class at noon at 45 Camden St. Register here.
Give it away: Have you ever wanted to collect a bunch of awesome gifts to bring smiles to at-risk and homeless youth in your community alongside your friends, family and Fashion Santa? Have you ever wanted to physically give these gifts out and witness the smiles firsthand? Join Heroes In Black on a mission to collect and hand out gifts on Christmas morning to over 50,000 people experiencing homelessness. Register here, buy three gifts from this list, and show up at the Fountain inside the PATH at Nathan Philips Square at 9 a.m.
Experience cuteness overload at a screening of Pick of the Litter at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema (506 Bloor St. W): The celebratory hit that won over Hot Docs audiences returns. Follow the remarkable two-year journey of a rambunctious group of adorable Labrador puppies as they undergo the rigorous training required to become guide dogs for the visually impaired. Screening is at 6:30 p.m.
Skate the Bentway (250 Ford York Blvd): The Bentway Skate Trail opens for the season on December 21 and will be open on Christmas Day from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Bring your skates or rent a pair when you get there. This is a beautiful trail that shows you a whole different side of the city.
Try Skiing or Snowboarding: Take a shuttle bus with Travelling Chicken from Toronto (Dufferin Mall or York Mills) to Snow Valley, a fave ski resort for first-time skier/snowboarders. Package includes lesson, rental equipment and lift ticket. And if you don’t quite get the hang of it, you can always just ride a tube down their excellent tube hill instead. Get tickets here.
Go nuts at Pacific Mall: The Pacific Mall (4300 Steeles Ave. E) is open for biz (and includes an Uncle Tetsu Japanese Cheesecake kiosk—just sayin’).
EAT: If a big family dinner isn’t in the cards, make a reso at one of the many Toronto restaurants open Christmas Day and treat yourself to a nice dinner out. Who’s open? Toula Restaurant, DEQ Terrace & Lounge, The Civic and many more. See full list here.