Urban Planner is Torontoist’s guide to what’s on in Toronto, published every weekday morning, and in a weekend edition Friday afternoons. If you have an event you’d like considered, email all of its details—as well as images, if you’ve got any—to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ho Ho Ho! Plenty on this holiday weekend, including a traditional Christmas Eve service, a non-traditional atheist comedy show, an Island nature hike, a Monty Python screening, tons of Boxing Day music, and animation workshops for kids.
COMEDY: Contrary to what greeting card stores and TV specials would have us believe, Christmas is not a universally celebrated holiday. Maybe you’re Jewish, Hindu, atheist, or maybe you just hate your family. If, for whatever reason, Christmas isn’t your thing, check out the atheist holiday show at Yuk Yuk’s. The evening will be headlined by Bryan O’Gorman, a survivor of the Catholic school system, and will also feature Steve Scholtz and Hunter Collins. Yuk Yuk’s Downtown (224 Richmond Street West), Friday 8 p.m., $22.
CHRISTMAS: Presents wrapped, stockings stuffed, ham glazed, cider mulled, tree trimmed—all you need now is a healthy dose of merriment. Join Metropolitan Community Church for their twenty-first annual Christmas Eve service at Roy Thomson Hall. The MCC Toronto choir will perform everyone’s favourite Christmas carols, and will be joined by Thom Allison of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert for a special performance. The evening should be an uplifting experience for Christmas celebrators and non-Christmas celebrators alike. Roy Thomson Hall (60 Simcoe Street), Friday 10:30 p.m., $25.
NATURE: All fireplaced out? Escape the confines of your cozy living room for a crisp nature hike. The Toronto Bruce Trail Club will lead hikers on a tour of the Toronto Islands, the site of some lovely natural terrain. This is a great opportunity to see the Islands during their off-season, unsullied by Frisbee-hurling picnickers and tandem bicycles threatening to run you over. The hike will also show you some of the natural life that populates the area during the winter months. Meet at the ferry docks at the foot of Bay Street, Sunday 10 a.m., FREE (excluding ferry fare).
FILM: Along with the works of Thomas Malory, T.H. White, and Lord Tennyson, the Monty Python adaptation of the Arthurian legend has become one of the myth’s most steadfast and beloved incarnations. Join King Arthur, Sir Lancelot the Brave, Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-As-Sir-Lancelot, and the Knights Who Say Ni on their most famous quest in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which screens at the Royal for free on Sunday and Monday and will undoubtedly make your weekend much more giggly. The Royal Cinema (608 College Street), Sunday 4:30 p.m. and Monday 7 p.m., FREE.
MUSIC: It’s almost 2011, and what better way to honour the year that was than by celebrating with some of the city’s best local talent? Every year, the Drake Hotel hosts What’s In the Box, a five-night festival of live music running from Sunday to Thursday. This year’s fest features performances from PS I Love You (whose debut album, Meet Me At the Muster Station, was listed by our Nicole Villeneuve as one of AUX’s top indie records of the year), Do Make Say Think, By Divine Right, Ruby Coast, Skratch Bastid, 84.85, and more. The Drake Hotel (1150 Queen Street West), Sunday and Monday doors 8 p.m., $5.
MUSIC: The Drake isn’t holding the only Boxing Day bash in town. Not to be outdone, the Horseshoe will host three roots ‘n’ country acts on Sunday. Headlining the evening is The Schomberg Fair, a gospel-tinged folk act named for the springtime agricultural fair in the band’s Ontario hometown. Joining them will be indie-country bands Cavaliers and The Stables. So get over your Christmas food coma, pull on your cowboy boots, and come on down! Horseshoe Tavern (368 Queen Street West), Sunday doors 8 p.m., $7 or $5 with food donation.
KIDS: So the kids have been off school for a week, they’re wired on candy and presents, and you just want a moment’s peace, right? Take them to the NFB Mediatheque which, starting Monday and until January 2, will lead a number of kids’ animation workshops throughout the week, keeping your kids happy and out of your hair. Monday’s theme is Wintry Windows, and between each day’s workshops will be an hour-long screening program of family-friendly animated short films from the NFB’s library. NFB Mediatheque (150 John Street); Monday, workshop: 12 and 3 p.m., screening: 2 p.m.; workshop: $5 per child, screening: $2 per child or free with workshop.