Guide to the Holidays 2020

Believe it or not… it’s almost that time of year again!  Bring on the eggnog, bring on the over-decorated houses – any reason to celebrate is a welcome reason to celebrate.

To get you in the holiday spirit, we’re taking a look at safe activities across Canada. Many of these festive activities have been adapted for the screen, so you won’t even need to leave home! Bundle up, make a hot cocoa, and let the sleigh bells take you away…

Virtual Events

Wherever you are, these online holiday celebrations are the kind that really drive home the whole “Merry Christmas to all”!

Canadian Pacific’s Holiday Train is going online this year for the very first time. You may have seen this magical, Polar Express-esque choochoo in your hometown in recent years. An annual tradition since ‘99, this freight train decked out in dazzling, bright holiday lights makes its way across Canada and the Northern US every December, stopping in hundreds of towns along the way, hosting concerts while gathering food and donations for food banks.

This year, CP will be hosting a virtual concert via Facebook Live on December 12, with live performances by artists Serena Ryder, The Trews, JoJo Mason, Logan Staats and Kelly Prescott (donations can be made online).

What holiday season would be complete without a Santa Claus parade? A staple of any Canadian city’s annual celebrations thousands of elated locals of all ages flock to get a glimpse of the big bearded man in red.

Though many cities have had to forego the live event this year, Toronto has decided to stick to it, but with a twist. By far the biggest in in the country, for the first time in its hundred-plus year history, the Toronto Santa Claus Parade is going virtual. It’ll be filmed in a closed set parade route and televised as part of a two-hour special airing on December 5th. You can catch the event at 7pm on CTV.

Outdoor activities

If you’re willing to brave the cold and snow to really get that holiday experience we’re so used to, we’ve got a few safe suggestions in cities across Canada.

In Montreal, the Quartier des spectacles will be hosting “Jardins d’Hiver”, or “Winter Gardens”. This brand-new installation, open from December 5 to January 3 on the Esplanade at Place des Arts, will delight visitors of all ages. Through a magical path, you’ll get to enjoy the view of the majestic “Grand Sapin” (great Christmas tree) as well as an enchanting traditional Alsatian Christmas décor.

Also in Montréal, you have the uber-popular Atwater Christmas Market. A magical village featuring exhibitors and entertainment, it’s located near one of the city’s most famed indoor markets and puts the wonder of Christmas on full display.

In Calgary, the famous farmers’ market has transformed into a Christmas market from November 12 to December 23. You can find artfully crafted goods from your favourite vendors as well as everything from Yuletide gifts, food, jewelry, décor and more, all in a safe environment.

In Toronto, and elsewhere in Canada, there are a number of holiday drive-thrus, like Polar, Canada’s first multi-level drive-thru experience. Located in Mississauga, this is great fun for the whole family from the safety and comfort of your car.

You don’t need to travel far to experience the magic of the holidays this year with all the virtual offerings and safe local activities on tap.


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