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Urban Planner: New Year’s Eve 2012 Edition

Your guide to cheap and fun ways to spend the big night.

This post was originally published on December 17. Happy New Year’s.

New Year's Eve is quickly approaching. Are you ready? Photo by {a href=""}PearldotKom{/a} from the {a href=""}Torontoist Flickr Pool{/a}.

If you’ve never experienced New Year’s Eve in Toronto (and, no, sitting at home watching the countdown on TV doesn’t count), then what are you waiting for? The end of the world? Well, we hope that doesn’t happen.

Assuming it won’t, you’ll probably want to ensure that you don’t spend a ton of money on your festivities—you know, because it would be a shame to start 2013 penniless. Never fear! We’ve compiled a handy list of events that won’t bust your budget. It’s below.

TORONTO ZOO: If you’re looking for things to do before your wild party, join the Toronto Zoo’s 10th annual countdown. Besides the animals, there will be a “That ’60s Show” tribute band and a Majinx Magic Show. The countdown, which is mainly for kids with strict bedtimes, will be at 8 p.m. Toronto Zoo (2000 Meadowvale Road), 5 p.m.–8 p.m., $20.

SNAKES AND LATTES: If going out to party and drink isn’t quite your thing, consider a night of board games. Snakes and Lattes is offering group games, end-of-the-night champagne, appetizers, and prizes. Get your tickets ASAP, though, because this one is bound to sell out quickly. Snakes and Lattes (600 Bloor Street West), 6 p.m., $40.

TRANZAC: Why have one room of music when you can have three? Here, you’ll find a diverse line-up of artists, like Sheezer, The Bicycles, OG Melody, and a whole host of others. Tranzac (292 Brunswick Avenue), 8 p.m., $15 advance, $17 door.

CHERRY COLA’S: Ring in the new year with an evening of horror punk and some good old-fashioned rock. Featuring Toronto band Dearly Beloved and Montreal’s the Brains. Cherry Cola’s (200 Bathurst Street), 9 p.m., $15.

BLOOR CINEMA: Is there anyone around here who just wants to watch movies instead of doing the countdown? Bloor Hot Docs Cinema is hosting “The Dude’s New Year’s,” with a screening of The Big Lebowski (two drinks are included in the ticket price). Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (506 Bloor Street West), 9:30 p.m., $20.

NATHAN PHILLIPS SQUARE: If you’re a fan of the concerts and countdowns you see on TV, and if you don’t mind braving the immense crowds, head on down to City Hall, where you’ll be treated to fireworks. Nathan Phillips Square (Queen Street West and Bay Street), 10 p.m., FREE.

SOUND ACADEMY: If you do crave a fancy NYE, consider “Cirque New Year’s Eve,” which features its very own balloon drop, confetti canons, plenty of music, and, of course, all the beauty of ringing in the New Year on the waterfront. Sound Academy (11 Polson Street), 10 p.m., $25.

NOCTURNE: Double your music, double your fun. If you can’t decide between a retro New Year’s and an electro/future-pop one, you’re in luck. Here, you’ll have two rooms of music to choose from, as well as $4 drink specials that last until 11:30 p.m. Nocturne (550 Queen Street West), 10 p.m., $15 before 11 p.m., $20 after.

HORSESHOE TAVERN: In what has now become a Toronto tradition, the Sadies will once again be playing the Horseshoe, making this the band’s 11th annual New Year’s countdown (they’ll be playing two sets for those that just can’t get enough of ‘em). Horseshoe Tavern (370 Queen Street West), 11:15 p.m. and 1:15 a.m., $25 advance, $30 door.

TTC: The TTC will be offering free service between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. on all of its subways and bus routes. Do yourselves (and everyone else) a favour and leave the cars at home.

CORRECTION: December 18, 4:00PM The address previously given for Tranzac was 92 Brunswick Avenue, when it is actually 292 Brunswick Avenue. The correction has been made above.


  • KWaltz

    No family events?!? Other than standing outside at NPS with obnoxious crowds where my husband can be musically insulted.

    • picard102

      Toronto Zoo is listed first.

    • Anonymous

      On behalf of the obnoxious crowds, please stay home with your SUV-sized stroller and elitist husband.

    • KWaltz

      Sadly, pre-teen, no strollers in sight. So magic shows and pre-countdowns are a no go. We usually do past 2am on Nuit Blanche. Thanks tyrant, I’ll avoid you like the plague.

    • Anonymous

      Go to the levee, and introduce yourselves as teachers. Gwan!

    • Laura Godfrey

      In addition to the Toronto Zoo, Snakes & Lattes sounds like a great family-friendly event! I’ll be at the Tranzac, and although there’s a bar, the musical line-up is great (Sheezer! The Bicycles! Others!) and I bet your family would love it (if kids are allowed in).

  • EhmBoo

    Come to Tranzac then! No musical insults there. Oh be the way Torontoist. We are at 292 Brunswick, not 92! I think 92 is someone’s house down near College. Don’t go there!

    • Torontoist

      Thanks for the heads up on this. We have corrected the error in the post.