So Our Santa Clause Parade has already happened – seems so early to have this on 20 November. With 20 bands, 26 floats and more than 1,500 volunteers, Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade is one of the largest in Canada; the “Macy’s” Parade it is not – but still pretty impressive….
From the vantage point of a 5th floor office window overlooking the main parade route, one gets an entirely different perspective on the parade. You do miss that sense of palpable excitement, that you can only get being amongst the crowds; the sort that sets the atmosphere buzzing with spine-tingling electricity; a feeling of suspense and expectation that even an unaccompanied adult like myself – drilling down through the years to childhoods past can re-appreciate at the thought of Santa (maybe I need to get out more!)
Though unseasonably warm for this time of year, the day that started off as a balmy 5 degrees, evolved into a typical November day: the icy fingers of a “fooled you” winter wind, whipping exposed baby cheeks – already pink with excitement – on its way down Toronto’s arterial roads and the oncoming parade. Leaving in its wake old and young jostling for protective clothing and hot-footing it to the nearest “Timmies” for hot chocolate. From above the road is a sea of moving colour (predominantly red). Men with an extra two foot of squirming kid on their shoulders totter precariously amongst strollers, mittened and swathed tots, leashed dogs and sidewalk artistes. Being inside I was impervious to the first audible signal of the oncoming processions. Suddenly I was witnessing a giant mexican wave (but with heads) as the whole crowd pivoted, unrolling like the vertebrae of a spine, as more and more people strained to catch the distant sound of the lead marching band. First the thump, thump thump of the base drum; then the discordant shrill of the brass section playing a vaguely recognisable festive song. Soon enough preceded by straggles of mini Ronald Macdonald’s; marching fruit and vegetables and all sorts of things I couldn’t actually identify (think I might have lost the wonder of youth somewhere along the line – what has a walking lightbulb have to do with Xmas! – oh yeah Xmas is commercial…………). A couple of hours later the star of the procession finally arrives with all the pomp and ceremony afforded to Royalty. I often wonder how parents correlate/manage expectations this early visit from Santa with the fact that it is still 5 weeks or so before Santa really does arrive – via the forced air heating vent ………
My favourite part of the parade afternoon is to walk the opposite way to the parade, all the way down to “The Hudson Bay Company” on Queen Street, pushing through the crowd to gaze at the magical Christmas window displays and just breathe it all in – hot dogs/hot chocolate/roasted chestnuts; the down-town high-rises gradually emerging, glittering and impenetrable as the early dusk gives way to night. Glorious if you like that sort of thing.
The Eaton Centre Swarovski Christmas Tree light-up ceremony occurred last Friday – 18 November so mark calendars for mid November next year in order to see this and the accompanying “party”.
This weekend don’t miss the The “Cavalcade of Lights” at Nathan Phillips Square. This is usually a spectacular affair with perfomances by Canadian musicians; and best of all a choreographed firework set – last year this involved brave souls absailing down the arced buildings of City Hall with fireworks on their backs!! – wonder what it will be like this year? Anyhow here’s the website blurb……
“On Saturday, November 26 at 7pm, Cavalcade of Lights a spectacular 45-year Toronto tradition presented by Scotiabank, returns to Nathan Phillips Square. The night will feature the lighting of the City of Toronto’s official Christmas tree, fireworks and live musical performances by award-winning artists Jarvis Church, Kellylee Evans, JRDN, rising star Justin Hines and singer Victoria Duffield. The concert will be hosted by Citytv’s very own Kevin Frankish and Flow 93.5’s Jeni and culminates in a spectacular fireworks display at 8pm, followed by a skating party sponsored by Timothy’s World Coffee on the Nathan Phillips Square rink”
Also the various city “villages” are also scheduled to “light up” from November 26 – see CelebrateToronto@list.ca over the next week or so.
Christmas Carol’s have been playing in Malls for at least 2 weeks accompanying the dizzying array of Christmas junk that finds it way onto the shelves of our pharmacies; grocery and department stores.
Galaxy FM our cable network started “Holiday Favourites (710) and Smooth Jazz Holiday toons (744) at the beginning of last week which I LOVE…..
The Christmas films are being advertised at the cinemas and on television.. In fact “A very Harold and Kumar Christmas” is already showing
The neighbours lights have been up for weeks already and I’ve already replaced the ordinary coffee mugs in the cupboard with the Christmas ones – I NEVER did this in the UK. Somehow it’s easy to get carried away with Christmas when you live in a city that LIVES to celebrate the holiday season.
The Parkwood Winters’ Evening Tea ( see last years December 2010 “Parkwood” blog) with mince pies, trifle & holiday interpretation of the first floor rooms will be offered on Friday, December 2, 2011 It is vital to register for this event. http://www.parkwoodestate.com – 270 Simcoe St N, Oshawa, ON, L1G 4T5
Toronto Christmas Market 2011 Dates: December 2nd to December 18th Times: http://www.torontochristmasmarket.com/ Monday to Friday Noon to 9pm; Saturday and Sunday 10am to 9pm. Celebrating the traditional sights, sounds and scents of Christmas and modeled on the European Christmas markets originating in Germany in the early 1400’s. This is the Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery District and it must be good because this year it has been extended by around 5 days!! Take dozens of Twinkly tiny timber-framed Bavarian looking booths, bedecked with Christmas foliage and lights. Add the sound of Christmas Carols and live Festive choirs of all nationalities; breathe in the smell of mulled wine and wood smoke. Mix all these into the industrial setting of the Gooderham and Worts Distillery district with its cobbled roads; ironwork and red brick Victorian era factory complexes; add a sprinkle of fresh snow (hopefully) and you have the perfect recipe for a family Christmas outing. Christmas Fair at The Distillery Dec 2-18 (noon till 8pm daily)
Don’t forget about Sing -Along Messiah at Massey Hall – http://www.tafelmusik.org/concerts/messiah.htm;
The Messiah: at Koerner Hall – Wed 14 Dec to Sat 17 Dec http://www.tafelmusik.org/concerts/messiah.htm
At “The Gardiner” the following “holiday” events:
Twelve Trees of Christmas; November 19 – December 11, 2011 – exhibition of Christmas trees designed by the city’s top interior designers and architects – (see December posts of last year for full descriptions).
AFTER FIVE : Holiday Wine + Cheese – Friday December 2, 2011 5:30 – 8:30 pm
Wine tasting, live music, hors d’oeuvres by Chef Jamie Kennedy, holiday decorating tips by Michelle Mawby (interior designer and resident design expert Marilyn Dennis Show)
Harlequin & Pierrot Christmas Decorations: Saturday December 3, 2011 10:30 am – 4 pm
“The Nutcracker Suite” annual ballet at the Four Seasons for the Performing Arts” – this has become a Xmas tradition in our household! – http://national.ballet.ca/performances/season1112/
AND “Blimey” – November 23 and still no snow!! – tempting fate – I think so
Over and Out