Toronto Hit List: Bentway Skate Trail Opening, 12 Beers of the Holidays, Divas Only, Poetry Slam & MORE!

December 18th-22nd Toronto Christmas Market @ The Distillery District. Rediscover the magic and romance of the holidays at the Toronto Christmas Market. There will be vendors selling locally handcrafted products, entertainment, Santa and his elves, light canopies, heated mulled wine, and lots more. Admission is free on weekdays until Friday at 5 pm, after which tickets cost $6. 

December 18th-31st WinterFest @ Canada’s Wonderland, 1 Canada’s Wonderland Drive (Vaughan). Canada’s Wonderland will be magically transformed into a winter wonderland full of enchantment and holiday cheer! Become immersed in the season’s spirit with spectacular holiday lights and décor, world-class live entertainment, savory treats, and fanciful experiences.

December 18th-January 5th Toronto Aurora Winter Festival @ Ontario Place (West Island), 955 Lakeshore Blvd. W. Experience Canada’s largest winter festival this holiday season. Ontario Place will be transformed into a magical winter wonderland with a beautiful skating rink, tube park, massive light displays, a Christmas Market, amusement rides, food gardens, magical characters, and plenty of other exciting activities. 

December 18th-January 5th A Nutcracker Christmas at the Castle @ Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace. Celebrate the holiday season at Casa Loma! Guests will be surrounded by holiday magic throughout the castle, which will be resplendent with holiday décor, including a 40-foot tall tree and eight other signature trees by talented Canadian designers. Enjoy shows by famed illusionist entertainer Professor Wick, ice skating performers Glisse on Ice, a dazzling lighting display, outdoor holiday Christmas market, performances by the Casa Loma Holiday Orchestra, and more. 

December 21st-22nd Tranzac Holiday Gift Fair @ Tranzac Club, 292 Brunswick Ave. The Tranzac Holiday Gift Fair, now in its third year, is a great place to find original, handmade gifts by local artists and artisans. Dozens of different vendors each day + delicious food for sale. Runs 12-6 pm both days.

WEDNESDAY

7 pm Music Bingo @ The Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. W. A FREE weekly event combining the love of music with the traditional bingo format. Host Kaleb Robertson will play a song, and if it’s on your bingo card, you get to hit it with the dabber. It tests your musical knowledge too – you’ve got to know what the song is to be able to cross it off the card. 

8 pm Drake Trivia @ The Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen St. W. Teams of four or less put their random knowledge to the test as hosts fire off questions ranging from sporting records and celebrity scandals to geographic discoveries and culinary lingo. $2 to participate. Email host@thedrakehotel.ca or show up early to reserve a spot.

THURSDAY

7 pm Rob Moir + Friends Benefit Concert for RPSM @ Tranzac Club, 292 Brunswick Ave. Join Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Rob Moir for an evening of performances to raise money for the Regent Park School of Music. He’ll be joined by Dana Sipos, Shawn William Clarke, Laurent Bourque, Rhiannon Archer, Emily Bones (of The Anti-Queens), and James Hall (of The Penske File). PWYC.

FRIDAY

12 pm Bentway Skate Trail Opening @ The Bentway, 250 Fort York Blvd. The Bentway transforms into a uniquely urban winter wonderland with the opening of its 220 metre skate trail! An on-site winter village will offer alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for skaters and spectators, while warming stations will help visitors get toasty before getting back on the ice. Skate rentals available daily and the Bentway also offers recurring free skate lessons for kids and adults. Open seven days a week from 12-9 pm. 

6 pm Vegan Holiday Party @ The 519, 519 Church St. Celebrate the holidays with the Toronto Vegetarian Association! Their holiday party will feature food, drinks, a bake sale, silent auction, music, and more! Admission is free, but donations are accepted and will directly support the Toronto Vegetarian Association’s ongoing outreach and programming. Until 9 pm.

6:30 pm 12 Beers of the Holidays @ The Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. W. 12 Beers of the Holidays is here to bring good cheer to Queen West! Enjoy local lagers, perfect pilsners, seasonal successes, and forever favourites from Ontario breweries + live DJs, a performance by the Goodtimes Holiday Band, and a chance to win tons of prizes at the signature Ugly Holiday Sweater Costume Contest. $42.06 tickets available online (includes sampling for the duration of the event).

9 pm Decades Dance Party @ Handlebar, 159 Augusta Ave. The dance party to end all dance parties! Here’s how it works: every hour is a new decade of music from the ’70s until today. Every hour is a new DJ. The top of every hour is a confetti-fuelled countdown into the next decade. (It’s kind of like five New Year’s Eve parties in one. Except it’s not New Year’s Eve.)

10 pm Shadows of Motown @ The Boat, 158 Augusta Ave. DJs Well Said, Slater, and Ty play the biggest and best Motown, doo-wop, and booty shakin’ hits.

10 pm Decade: A 1995-2005 Dance Party @ Clinton’s, 693 Bloor St. W. Get out your butterfly clips and studded belts, and relive your best life at Decade! Anthems from 1995-2005 all night. $10.

10 pm Lab.our: Basic Soul Unit x J-UL with Iced Misto @ Bambi’s, 1265 Dundas St. W. Lab.our welcomes DJ Iced Misto, a.k.a. Sandra To, who plays nostalgic songs you are familiar with while combining new, progressive sounds to remix into her set. 

10 pm Stereo Ferment @ Farside, 600 Gerrard St. E. DJ Oreku spins global grooves and afrobeat.

10 pm Whas Good @ The Ossington, 61 Ossington Ave. Good vibes dance party! Old school to new school hip-hop, R&B, soul, reggae, and dancehall.

10 pm 80s Mixtape Dance Party @ Stones Place, 1255 Queen St. W. All ’80s pop, rock, new wave, and synthpop with DJ Blush. $5.

10 pm DJ Granny Pantys @ Swan Dive, 1631 Dundas St. W. A night of rock, psych, post-punk, and oddities with Granny Pantys.

10 pm Emo Night @ Sneaky Dee’s, 431 College St. Revisit your teen angst! Spinning your favourite emo anthems all night every Friday at Sneaky Dee’s. $5 early bird tickets available online.

10 pm Wax Candy Disco Party @ The Piston, 937 Bloor St. W. DJ Efsharp and Cyclist serve up platters of the sweetest soulful, refreshing, and uplifting disco in one of the best sounding rooms in the city. $10.

10:30 pm Beam Me Up Disco @ The Baby G, Dundas St. W. The Patchouli Brothers play a disco mix of gospel, funk, soul, boogie, rare groove, house, and jazz sounds surrounded by smiling faces.

11 pm The After Party @ Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church St. There are so many fun things to do on a Friday night, but what are you doing after? Bring the party to Glad Day, where you can dance and prance till last call with DJ Sofia Fly! Special 1 am performances by The One and Holy Gay Jesus, the extraordinary Halal Bae, and your host of the night ZacKey Lime. $5.

11 pm Co-Werk @ The Drake Underground, 1150 Queen St. W. A party concept inspired by collaboration. No openers; no headliners; no set times – just a rotating crew of DJs keeping the vibes fresh and the energy high all night with a mix of hip-hop, house, reggae, club, and classics. $10.

SATURDAY

12 pm Xpace Cultural Centre Holiday Zine & Maker Fair @ Xpace Cultural Centre, 2-303 Lansdowne Ave., Unit 2. Join Xpace for their 10th annual Holiday Zine and Maker Fair, where you’ll find emerging artists and designers selling zines, comics, prints, T-shirts, tote bags, jewelry, ceramics, crafts, and other handmade multiples. Until 6 pm.

8 pm DJ Skate Nights: House Party @ The Natrel Rink (Harbourfront Centre), 235 Queens Quay W. Sharpen your skates and skills as Toronto’s number one outdoor winter party returns with another stellar lineup of DJs that will bring the heat to your Saturday nights. This week, DJs Matt Hall and Tom Fleming keep the ice hot. Skate and helmet rentals available. Until 11 pm. 

8 pm Best of ’90s/00s Rock: Charity Christmas Bash @ The Hideout, 423 College St. A 1990s and 2000s rock night for charity! The night opens with spotlights on Oasis and The Killers followed by Neon Nostalgic performing two hours of the best of ’90s-00s rock (Kings of Leon, Muse, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Weezer. and many more) synced to the actual music videos. $22.23 tickets available online.

10 pm Rebel Rabble @ The Garrison, 1197 Dundas St. W. All ’70s dance party with DJ Starboy playing rock ‘n’ roll, glam, funk, hard rock, pop, disco, punk, and new wave.

10 pm Stones Place Holiday Hop @ Stones Place, 1255 Queen St. W. ’Tis the season for fun, friends, party tunes, and celebrating! Join DJ Blush for a night of rock ‘n’ roll, soul, pop, and disco tunes from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. $10.

10 pm A Bowie Christmas Dance Party @ Sneaky Dee’s, 431 College St. This is Sneaky Dee’s to Ground Control: Celebrate the holidays with a David Bowie Christmas Dance Party! Expect to hear all the Bowie hits you love and more. $5 early bird tickets available online.

10 pm Moonhop @ Lucky Shrike, 850 Dundas St. W. Selectress Sunshine and DJ Double-0-Soul bring you merriment and cheer-and the finest ska, reggae, rocksteady, and soul all night long.

10 pm Get It Together @ The Boat, 158 Augusta Ave. Kensington Market’s open format dance party welcoming all genres, all styles, and all people. Selections by Mikey McFly.

10 pm Knockout! @ Handlebar, 159 Augusta Ave. The best of rare soul and vintage reggae on original 45s all night long. All killer, no filler! 

10 pm Worst Behavior @ Clinton’s, 693 Bloor St. W. Saturdays are for getting loose and being on your Worst Behavior! Bangs & Blush roll out rap and hip-hop from now and then. $10.

10 pm It’s All Good: 90s vs. Y2K Video Dance Party @ The Piston, 937 Bloor St. W. Join resident VJs General Eclectic and Mike Luke as they take you back to the 90s and 00s. From Biggie to Beyoncé, Nirvana to Nelly, Rakim to Rihanna, TLC to MGMT, Snow to Sean Paul, Green Day to Gorillaz, Mariah Carey to Modest Mouse, Fatboy Slim to Fat Joe, Spice Girls to Santigold, and much more! $12.

10 pm I Think I’m Making A Comeback Dance Party @ Swan Dive, 1631 Dundas St. W. DJ Shirley Tempo playing the most danceable Motown, soul, pop, psych, and guilty pleasures.

10 pm Fancy Footwork @ The Drake Underground, 1150 Queen St. W. Fancy Footwork returns this month with special guest Flight School joining resident Kill Them With Colour on the 1s and 2s, playing the best in indie dance, nu disco, future funk, and more all night long! $10. RSVP here for line bypass before midnight.

10:30 pm Divas Only: “All I Want for Christmas” Edition @ Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church St. Deck the halls and bring on the divas! Dance the night away as DJs Aeryn Pfaff and Maggy play music from the best divas across the decades (including Mariah, Ariana, Gaga, Madonna, Britney, Beyoncé, and more) + “All I Want for Christmas” every hour on the hour. $5 before 11:30 pm, $10 after.

10:30 pm Back In The Day @ Revival, 783 College St. A tribute to ’90s and ’00s old school hip-hop, R&B, dance, house, reggae, and pop with DJs John J, R2, and Gio. Email info@themarqueemedia.com for bottle service inquiries and guest list.

SUNDAY

10 am Leslieville Winter Market @ The Redwood Theatre, 1300 Gerrard St. E. The Leslieville Farmers’ Market is extending the season and bringing east end’s largest weekly celebration of local farmers, chefs, and community indoors. Enjoy music, kids activities, wellness programming, a full bar serving wine and local breweries, an array of Toronto’s diverse prepared food, and of course, the best produce from local farms. Until 2 pm.

7 pm Brass Facts Trivia @ The Ossington, 61 Ossington Ave. Test your knowledge and win prizes! Hosted by Famous Kirk Hero. Until 10 pm.

7 pm Poetry Slam @ The Drake Underground, 1150 Queen St. W. Local wordsmiths and performers provide an evening of spoken word, lyrical mastery, and friendly competition before an always packed house. $80 goes to the best performance of the night. Doors at 7 pm, sign up starts at 7:30. $10.

10 pm Sinful Sundays Burlesque: HoHo Holiday Special @ Cherry Cola’s, 200 Bathurst St. Come be entertained at this weekly “temple of tease,” where you’ll find a fresh lineup of burlesque entertainers, drag, and variety acts. This week, the Sinful cast brings holiday burlesque magic to make your spirit bright. Free entry; tipping encouraged.

~ For event submissions, email Caitlyn Holroyd at caitlyn_holroyd@hotmail.com

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