Tis the season and Toronto is busting at the seams with activities to get you in the holiday spirit. We scoured the lists to create our annual wish list for best experiences to gift your loved ones in TOw. The 2018 Gift of Experience is jam packed with adventures to unwrap and enjoy as a family during the holiday season and all year long.
So, here’s to getting out of the house and not stuffing it with more stuff.
Gift of theatre: Give them a taste of the classics. Peter Pan, with its fantastical stories about pirates, lost boys and tinker bell, and the classic A Christmas Carol are part of Soulpepper’s performances as part of its Family Festival. For something Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, treat the family the beloved story of Mary Poppins on the main stage now until January 6, 2019 at the Young Peoples Theatre. Or, take the family for a whirl into the world of Alex in Wonderland. A spin of Lewis Carroll’s classic is on until January 13, 2019 by the Solar Stage at Wychwood Barns.
Gift of laughter: We can hardly wait to hear the zingers the east end company Torrent Productions has up their sleeves and in their glass slippers for their annual holiday performance. This year the troupe takes on CINDERELLA: A Merry Magical Pantomine the Royal Canadian Legion on Coxwell at Gerrard St. E from December 21 to 30, 2018. And you bet Ross Petty continues the holiday tradition at the Elgin Theatre. This year Toronto families can count on pop songs, Toronto jokes and lots of audience boos at Wizard of Oz: A Toto-ly Twisted Family Musical. You can follow the yellow brick road from November 30 to January 5, 2019.
Gift of the Nutcracker: Casa Loma is magical any time of year but during the holidays it gets an extra twinkle with a special Nutcracker Christmas at the Castle. You can expect illusionists, ice skating, a massive tree and of course Santa in the castle workshop. The festivities run daily from December 1, 2018 to January 6, 2019 with extra evening hours til 9 p.m. December 17 – 23, 2018. The Nutcracker at The National Ballet has been a holiday staple since 1995. The performances begin December 8 and run through to December 20th. Don’t miss the special Nutcracker Story Time 45 minutes before every performance.
Gift of flight: You and your littles can defy the laws of gravity with an indoor sky diving session at iFly Toronto. Two intro flights start at $72 or you can do weekly flight classes as part of the Kid Club. Two locations in Oakville and Whitby. Get some air at one of the tubing parks a short drive from Toronto. A tube park with 180-foot long slides is also part of the new Aurora Winter Festival at Ontario Place. While you’re there, you can skate, take in the amusement rides and check out massive light displays. The fest is on from November 29 to December 30, 2019.
Gift of illusions: The Champions of Magic, the UK’s largest touring magic show, brings five amazing illusionists to the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. We’re talking teleportation and levitation (to name a few feats) right before your very eyes – performances run from December 19, 2018 to January 6, 2019. Stock your stockings with a ticket to the new Museum of Illusions. You’ll be gifting your family with 80-plus exhibits –rooms, installations, holograms, images, puzzles and games – that give your brains a major workout and your IG feeds lots of fun photo opps.
Gift of indoor adventure: Mysterious Minds’ family-friendly escape rooms have a new holiday-themed experience. Recruit your gang on a Quest to Save Christmas – or book one of their other rooms to enjoy well into the new year. We give a two thumbs up for the Loonie for Luck and Grand Carnival with kids in TOw. Happiness awaits at The Happy Place, a massive pop-up experience at Harbourfront Centre. Its filled with room after room after room of colourful playful selfie moments like a rubber ducky bathtub, upside-down room, zone for making confetti angels and jumping into a yellow ball pit.
Wrap up an adventure filled with spiders and dinosaurs at the ROM. A trip to the ROM over the holidays includes the current Spiders: Fear and Fascination exhibition, plus the unveiling of the Museum’s newest and newly named ankylosaur Zuul crurivastator.The latter is on display as of December 15, 2018. Go for a Family Membership so you can enjoy the gift of experience until next December. Or, plan a special sleepover at the Ontario Science Centre. Phenomenal Forensics that will have the kids uncovering clues and secret messages are scheduled for February and April 2019.