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.
Leon in Wintertime. Courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada.
FILM: The National Film Board Toronto Mediatheque is hosting holiday programming for would-be young animators throughout the Christmas break. “Snowy Snowy Night,” the first offering of the “Snowed In!” animation workshops (geared to ages 6–13 and on daily until December 31 then Jan 2–3) gets kids to create their own snowfall flicks using paper cut-outs. The animation workshops are followed by an hour-long animation screening that includes Norman McLaren’s 1963 Oscar-winning Christmas Cracker, and the above-mentioned Leon in Wintertime. NFB Mediatheque (150 John Street); Sunday 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.; FREE with child, $5 per child.
WILDLIFE: What could be a more perfect way to spend Boxing Day than to take the family to the zoo for the 34th Annual Christmas Treats Walk? The outdoor walk takes visitors through the new polar bear habitat (polar bears included!), the Eurasia Section, and the new Tundra Trek to witness the animals receiving their special treats of the season. The air will be ringing with the sounds of roving Victorian carollers (and please don’t throw snowballs at them just because you’ve had it with the Christmas music, already) and outdoor trekkers will be rewarded with hot chocolate at the end of the walk. The zoo is asking that visitors bring a non-perishable item for the food bank, and will be accepting old cell phones for recycling. Proceeds from the zoo’s half-price admission (Boxing Day only) go to the Endangered Species Reserve Fund. Toronto Zoo (361A Old Finch Avenue); Saturday 10 a.m.; $10.50 adults, $6.50 under 13, $7.50 over 64 (half off regular admission prices).
FILM: For about the most opposite of Christmas Eve possible, there’s Chinese and a Movie: Star Trek, brought to you by the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre and Golden Chopsticks. The Star Trek in question is this year’s epic rehash with Chris Pine playing a pretty good James T. Kirk as it turns out. You can bet the egg rolls are kosher, and probably the popcorn, too. The dinner and screening are open to everyone, but be advised that they sold out last year. Al Green Theatre (750 Spadina Avenue); Thursday 7 p.m.; $50 adults, $30 students ($40 and $25 in advance), or $15 movie only.
CHRISTMAS: For those who feel inclined to go out on Christmas Eve for a really nice and proper church-endorsed Christmas service, the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto holds the biggest one in Ontario (we’re told) at Roy Thomson Hall. The Christmas Eve Service includes actual worship, carol singing, choir accompaniment, plus performances from Jeigh Madjus, Stephanie Martin, and Jackie Richardson. Roy Thomson Hall (60 Simcoe Street), Thursday 10:30 p.m., $25.
MUSIC: It’s safe to say that most bars will be open for business on Boxing Day, and there are a few good music treats around town to be had at special Boxing Day prices. The Garrison hosts a Boxing Day Special Festival and Food Drive starting Saturday (running nightly until December 30), which serves up a great collection of performers each night for a very low price, as long as guests hand over a couple of (non-perishable) food donations. Dutch, Proof of Ghosts, Hotkid, Mandeverest, and Saffron Sect play Saturday, and Doc Pickles, Bob Wiseman & His Films, Massy-Harris, Nifty, and Isla Craig hit the stage Sunday. The Garrison (1197 Dundas Street West), Saturday and Sunday 9 p.m., $2.99 (with two food donations).
MUSIC: Another great bet for live music during what’s become Boxing Week is the Drake Hotel’s “What’s in the Box” festival—five nights of five bands each for only five bucks a night (on until December 30). Our weekend pick is the Hand-Drawn Dracula showcase on Night Two (Sunday), featuring a DJ set from Holy Fuck, plus Bishop Morocco, Brian Borcherdt’s Fields of Fur, and By Divine Right. On the other hand, on Night One Skratch Bastid is spinning all night in the Drake Lounge. Decisions, decisions. The Drake Hotel (1150 Queen Street West), Saturday and Sunday 8 p.m., $5.
WORDS: After Waking Creative Group hosts its first ever event, Reader + Writer + Party! The mixer brings together experienced professional writers—good ones—with those who dream of becoming something similar themselves, and gives them all a chance to socialize and talk about writing for a living. There will be readings as well, from guests such as Anar Ali (Baby Khaki’s Wings), Sheila Heti (The Middle Stories), Giller-nominated Anthony De Sa (Barnacle Love), and more. The Social Bar (1100 Queen Street West), Sunday 6 p.m., $20 ($18.50 in advance, with complicated options for perishable food-related discounts—most importantly that with three items, the cover is only $5).
COMEDY: Three-man improv team The Classic Supremes (consisting of Ely Henry, Charles Pond, and Greg Chociej) open a Comedy Bar double-bill for the bar’s first post-holiday show. Sunday Night Live, the weekly gig featuring award-winning comedy troupe The Sketchersons, makes up the other half of the double-bill. And the whole thing is priced to get you to the bar on time. The Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), Sunday 8 p.m., $8.
MUSIC: Some people just wanna dance—and Starving Artist has just the solution with its Soul Power! Boxing Day Throwdown. Parkdale Funk’s Double K teams up with special guest CKLN’s Son of S.O.U.L. to spin classic vinyl-edition funk and soul. The night also happens to be one of the owners’ birthday celebration, so—well, in England the birthday
sucker boy has to buy everyone else drinks! Not here though, but at least there’s no cover. Starving Artist (584 Lansdowne Avenue), Saturday 10 p.m., FREE.
FILM: And finally—this just in from the lovely people at the Royal: they are giving back to their audiences with two free screenings of a new 35 mm print of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. We’ve probably sent you to other run-ins with the killer rabbit this year, but seriously—it is the Holy Grail, and if the opportunity arises (does the African swallow carry coconuts?) we will send you again. The Royal (608 College Street), Sunday (and Monday), 4:30 p.m., FREE.