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 [email protected].
Ring in the new year with a dip in Ashbridges Bay. Photo by marty_pinker from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.
Happy New Year! Celebrate in style with a Tranzac fundraiser, an old-fashioned Prohibition party, the Sadies’ annual show, a burlesque extravaganza, a polar bear plunge in Ashbridges Bay, New Year’s levées with the mayor and lieutenant governor, and a baroque Viennese concert from the Musicians in Ordinary.
FUNDRAISER: The Tranzac hosts a New Year’s party every year, but the stakes are higher this time around. The Annex’s arts and music centre needs money fast, and tonight, some of the city’s brightest musical acts are banding together to support it. With performances by Hooded Fang, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Sandro Perri, Laura Barrett, The Wilderness of Manitoba, I Am Robot and Proud, and more, the evening will honor this cultural institution as well as entertain. Tranzac (292 Brunswick Avenue); Friday, 8 p.m.; $15/advance, $17/door.
PARTY: New Year’s Eve is the most glamourous night of the year, and what’s more glamourous than the Roaring Twenties? Nothing, according to the Drake, and that’s why they’re hosting a Prohibition Era–themed party for Toronto’s classiest patrons. The party will have live jazz and dancing, performance art, bathtub gin, special menus, and of course, partiers dressed to the nines in top hats, pearls, slinky gowns, and more. Dinner tickets are sold out, but after-midnight dancing tickets are still available. The Drake Hotel (1150 Queen Street West), Friday 8 p.m., $20.
MUSIC: When you’re trying to figure out what to do for New Year’s Eve, sometimes an old standby is the best way to go. For the tenth year in a row, the Sadies will headline a rollicking NYE at the Horseshoe. The band, which released its latest album, Darker Circles, in May, will play two sets—one in 2010, at 11:20 p.m., and one in 2011, at 1:15 a.m. The Weirdies and Deloro will also be performing earlier in the night. Horseshoe Tavern (368 Queen Street West); Friday, doors 8:30 p.m.; $25/advance, $30/door.
BURLESQUE: The sexiest party in town will be taking place at the Gladstone, as the eighth annual Knockout Burlesque Party takes over the hotel ballroom. The city’s top burlesque troupe, Skin Tight Outta Sight, will knock your socks off (or at least their own pants), performing to the rock ‘n’ roll sounds of Alistair Christl and The Cosmotones. Also on the bill are mystical mentalist Mysterion the Mind Reader, Dew Lily and Wrong Note Rusty of Boylesque, performance artist Obskyura, and the evening’s headliner, Miss Roxi DLite, 2010’s reigning Queen of Burlesque. Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West); Friday, 9 p.m.; $40/advance, $50/door.
SWIM: If you’re seeking a way to cure that NYE hangover, look no further than the icy cold waters of Ashbridges Bay. Despite being clearly insane, polar bear plunges are a common ritual in these here parts, where hordes of shivering masses take leave of their senses and go swimming in sub-zero temperatures. Today’s plunge, the Great Canadian Chill, will raise funds towards helping kids with cancer. All you need is a bathing suit (costumes are also encouraged), warm clothing for before and after the dip, and a blanket or towel. Ashbridges Bay Park (30 Ashbridges Bay Park Road), Saturday 1:30 p.m. (registration at noon, costume contest at 1 p.m.), donations and pledges accepted.
LEVÉE: In seventeenth-century France, the levée was a reception held by King Louis XIV in his bedchamber. In Canada, the custom became associated with New Year’s Day as a way for fur traders to pay respects to their governors. On Saturday, both Rob Ford and Lieutenant Governor David C. Onley will hold New Year’s levées. First, drop by Fort York for the lieutenant governor’s reception. (Fort York [250 Fort York Boulevard], Saturday 12–2 p.m., FREE.). Later on in the day, Ford’s fête will offer council members the chance to mingle with constituents. (Toronto City Hall [100 Queen Street West], Saturday 2–4 p.m., FREE.)
MUSIC: For classical music during the Baroque period, Vienna was the place to go. It was a hot spot for composers and connoisseurs alike, and it is therefore fitting that the Musicians in Ordinary hold an annual Vienna-themed concert to ring in the new year. The concert, which will be held on both Saturday and Sunday, will focus on music from seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Vienna, treating listeners to cantatas and sonatas by Francesco Bartolomeo Conti, Antonio Caldara, and Antonio Vivaldi. Heliconian Hall (35 Heliconian Avenue); Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m.; $25/regular, $15/students and seniors.