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The 16 Best Events in Montreal and Toronto this December

From Christmas markets to urban snowboarding, Canada's biggest cities have a lot to offer this month.

Your Montreal to-dos this month.

Empire City Troopers: Opération urbaine de snowboard
December 5
Rue Saint-Denis

Conditions call for massive air as a steep section of Saint-Denis is transformed into the longest urban slopestyle course in the country. Top riders throw down for prize money, but everyone wins at the huge after-party.

Salon des métiers d’art de Montréal
December 10–20
Place Bonaventure

Get crafty with your holiday giving this year at your one-stop shop for handmade gifts. Meet (and buy from) over 400 skilled artisans at the biggest professional arts and crafts show in Quebec, now in its 60th year.

December 11–30
Place des Arts


Photo: Damian Siqueiros, Zeta Production

Check your inner Grinch at the door and lose yourself in a world of sugar-plum fairies and toy soldiers. Featuring 100 dancers, and set to Tchaikovsky’s magical score, Les Grands Ballets’ The Nutcracker has been delighting kids – and kids at heart – since 1964.

6448, boul. Saint-Laurent


Photo: Fortune

The horseshoe in the logo is a harbinger of good things as you enter this tiny Little Italy restaurant: The fanciful mix of ­tacos, rolls (a.k.a. guédilles in Quebec) and cocktails is a winning combination. Sip a tequila old-fashioned or a Hibiscus Buck (bourbon, hibiscus, lime and ginger); then sample tasty creations, such as pork with spicy mango, roasted cauliflower with avocado and ricotta on soft tacos or spicy shrimp and veggies on brioche.

Time to shop?
Magasin général Lambert Gratton
4051, rue De Bullion

Magasin General Lambert Gratton

Photo: Rachel Chainey

A happy bric-a-brac of retro objets and hand-picked local products, this reimagined general store sits on a corner of Duluth Avenue in the heart of the Plateau. Please the foodies on your list with Dorians baked crackers from Montreal or a maple syrup jug by Marianne Chénard; surprise mixologists with Lab syrups and bitters or Charlatans tonic; and give your favourite homebody a Dahls” apron or a Mlle Maple cutting board.

Patrick Watson
December 16

Polaris prizewinner Patrick Watson returns home to unleash his eclectic ­indie sound on the city. The new album, Love Songs for Robots, is anything but mechanical, with influences ranging from classical to electronica.

Cirque du Soleil: Toruk – Le premier envol
December 21–January 3
Centre Bell

Cirque du Soleil: Toruk – Le premier envol

Photo: Youssef Shoufan, 2015 Groupe Cirque du Soleil

The Cirque’s newest live spectacle was inspired by creative genius James Cameron and his epic film Avatar. Prepare to be immersed in the lush, magical world of Pandora and its Na’vi tribe, in a story set thousands of years before the events depicted in the film.

Les Canadiens de Montréal contre les Kings de Los Angeles
December 17
Centre Bell

The Bleu Blanc Rouge battle the 2014 Stanley Cup champs at the Bell Centre. It’s the Habs’ last home game of the year, so they’ll be looking to give their fans an early holiday-gift win.

Your Toronto to-dos this month.

Habitat for Humanity Gingerbread Build
December 12–13
Ontario Science Centre

Habitat for Humanity Gingerbread Build

Photo: Marisol Costa

You can help out Habitat this holiday season by wielding a hammer or by participating in their annual gingerbread build. For a sweet way to give back, bring home a house kit for your own brood, and gift one to a family in need.

Time to shop?
COS Toronto 
85 Bloor St. W.

COS Toronto

Photo: COS

Staking its turf on Toronto’s Mink Mile, H&M’s sophisticated sister brand has arrived in Canada. Beyond the facade’s irregular picture windows, browse the Japan-inspired, clean-lined winter collection including kimono-like dresses and wool culottes. The tailored menswear is no slouch either, and the accessories, such as a felted-wool winter sandal and colour-blocked scarves, are equally timeless.

The Nutcracker
December 12–January 3
Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts

The Nutcracker

Photo: Bruce Zinger

Reimagined in brilliant detail with masterful choreography by the legendary James Kudelka, the National Ballet of Canada’s version of The Nutcracker celebrates its 20th anniversary with a lead performance by Evan McKie.

7 Fingers: Traces
December 15–27
Panasonic Theatre

With over 1,800 performances in more than 200 countries, Québécois contemporary circus troupe Les 7 doigts de la main’s innovative fusion of theatre, dance, acrobatics and street sports, like basketball and skateboarding, raises the roof on the big top in a decidedly modern way.

A Chorus Christmas: Across the Universe
December 19
Roy Thompson Hall

300 voices of the Toronto Children’s Chorus (plus those of 100 alumni) renew your faith in holiday songs, while renowned baritone Russell Braun adds vocal heft with his rendition of “Fantasia on Christmas Carols.”

Toronto Christmas Market
Through December 20
Distillery District

Toronto Christmas Market

Photo: Toronto Christmas Market

Sip mulled wine as music by carollers, brass bands and choirs fills the air. There’s lots for the little ones, from visits with Santa to Ferris wheel and ­carousel rides.

New Year’s Eve Comedy Extravaganza
December 31
Massey Hall

Ring in the New Year with uproarious laughter as comedians take the stage at one of the city’s most beloved music venues, with CBC funnyman and actor Shaun Majumder hosting.

The Addisons 
456 Wellington St.

The Addisons

Photo: Joel Levy, Lisa Ho Studio

The Addisons like to leave the keys to their swish pad to the entire city – or so suggests the theme of this L.A.-inspired nightspot, dressed up as a private residence. Grab a cocktail from the inventive drink menu while snacking on tasty, high-end bar food by the Food Dudes. It’s a cozy yet raucous place to kick back on a winter weekend, but keep in mind that come summertime, the 5,000-square-foot back patio will be open to house guests.



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