Toronto Weekender: December 19 through 22, 2013

For most of us, this is the best weekend of the year. Why? Because we’re done with work for a week or two (or three for you lucky ones out there) and it’s the beginning of the gifting season. Naturally, there are still a few cool things left to do in the city before Toronto starts to sleep…

BeerProv is back for a December instalment with another great lineup of funny guys and gals ready to turn your Thursday into a barrel of laughs. A dozen comedians will be improvising some yuletide cheer as you sit around and pound back beer after beer. 

It’s back, and better than ever. Yes, HoHoTo is back for another instalment, with this year’s event happening tonight at The Mod Club. The big social media et. al. holiday party sees funds being raised for the Daily Bread Food Bank, an always worthwhile cause. Expect tons of drinks, great tunes, and some awesome holiday vibes. 

Friday night over at Wrongbar, expect a bevy of Toronto’s coolest cats out at This Is Toronto. This shindig is all about celebrating all the great talents that are in our fair city, from designers to musicians, retailers, DJs, journalists, hair stylists, PR peeps, promoters, and the list goes on. It’ll be a biggun’, so be sure to arrive at a, you know, semi-decent hour to avoid lineups. 

Strange Holiday at the Mod Club Friday night is sure to dazzle and delight. Expect a night of Dr. Draw’s notorious intensity (one of the best musicians in the city in our opinion), including a full band, an extended string section, and a light show. The energy will be carried from the beginning of the show through to the last acts, getting your metabolism ready for those holiday feasts! 

Friday night over at Palais Royale, get ready for a jiving night of live swing music featuring vocalists like Alex Pangman, Terra Hazelton, Roger Clown, and Drew Jurecka, backed by the band directed by Peter Hill. Seasonal songs, traditional jazz, Tin Pan Alley classics, and ditties from the Great American Songbook will all make their way to your ears. 

Still haven’t found that perfect gift yet? Perhaps it’s waiting for ya at The Night Before Pop-Up, going down Thursday through Sunday this weekend at Oz Studios. Find some cool items for your last-minute shopping needs, featuring amazing local fashion, jewellery, and accessories designers.

Head over to Nathan Phillips Square Saturday afternoon and partake in the now-annual Gifts for Strangers, an effort to brighten and make merry the lives of others by handing out gifts to random folk. Bring a prezzie along and join hundreds of others as they spread good cheer to those who might not have other avenues to find it this season.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, directed by Christopher Warren-Green, joins forces with the 140 voices of the heavenly Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and internationally renowned vocal soloists for a glorious and stirring performance of the holiday tradition that is Handel’s Messiah. Shows run through Sunday, and this is one classical oratorio you don’t want to miss! 

The 4th annual 1LoveTO skating party goes down Saturday evening at the Harbourfront as hundreds of hip n’ happening folks are set to skate around to the tunes laid down by DJ DLux and DJ Lissa Monet. Drinks, skating, dancing, and some hot chocolate? Sounds like a pretty rad Saturday night to us! 

Support local farmers in the coolest venue possible when Steam Whistle Brewery launches their Winter Farmers Market this weekend. At the brewery’s DT digs you’ll find a consortium of farm-fresh delights like apples, baked goods, root vegetables, organic meat and cheese, beauty products, maple and honey products, all while you sip a cold one and shop. 

Not heading to work on Monday? Want to party it up like a total scenester? Then you’ll want to head to The Hoxton Sunday night as killer cool Been Trill is set to tear it up, alongside special guests Thrizzo and Bevstmode. This weekend, Sunday is a day for sinners. 

Speaking of sinners, over at EFS on Sunday night there’s the Tinder Launch Party for Toronto. This new app is sort of (but not really) like Grindr for straight folk – find out who’s nearby, send ’em a message, you know, that sort of thing. Test out the app and see how many singles are ready and raring at this end of weekend shindig.

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Top photo: The Dock Ellis