This Week in Canada: Winter Lights Festivals, Holiday Cooking for a Cause, Events to End Gender Violence

BizBash's new Canada-focused column covers the week's biggest event news.

The producers of Immersive Van Gogh plan to open Illusionarium, an exhibition on the history of magic, at the Toronto Star printing press building. The immersive event uses 3D projections, lifelike holograms, and live magicians in a socially distanced setting. It opens Dec. 14.
The producers of Immersive Van Gogh plan to open Illusionarium, an exhibition on the history of magic, at the Toronto Star printing press building. The immersive event uses 3D projections, lifelike holograms, and live magicians in a socially distanced setting. It opens Dec. 14.
Photo: Courtesy of Illusionarium

Welcome to BizBash's newest column, covering Canada’s biggest event news from coast to coast. Got a tip? Get in touch!

Provincial News
Legacy, a master-planned residential community in Calgary, kicked off its sixth annual Christmas Lights Parade Nov. 16. More than one million lights along streets, parks, and trials were unveiled for visitors to walk or drive through until Jan. 10. Visitors can also tour decorated show homes from developers WestCreek Homes and Look Master Builder and see a display from local interior designer Shane Homes that's inspired by the Griswald House in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. The neighborhood’s community skating rink is scheduled to open in early December. 

British Columbia: Bring It to the Ballroom, a livestreamed Canada’s Drag Race event, takes place at Vancouver’s The Commodore Ballroom this evening. The show features season-one winner Priyanka and fellow contestants Jimbo the Drag Clown and Scarlett Bobo, who will be doing meet and greets with special ticket holders. One dollar from each ticket sale will be donated to Rainbow Rails, a charity focused on helping LGBTQ refugees to safety. With 20,000 square feet across three spaces, The Commodore Ballroom offers full-service corporate, social, and concert events throughout the year. 

Ontario: Toronto’s Casa Loma is hosting a Holiday Light Tour from Dec. 3 to Jan. 3, opening daily at 4 p.m. The outdoor, self-guided tour designed to maintain safe distances between individual groups of ticket holders, invites guests to stroll through festive light displays across the historic castle's pathways, tunnels, and gardens—with hot chocolate and cookies waiting at the end. The 2-kilometer walk features A Christmas Carol-themed exhibit depicting Ebenezer Scrooge’s mansion, as well as the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. 

Quebec: The Luminothérapie free outdoor public art installation returns to Montreal’s Place Des Festivals on Dec. 3. Twelve interactive loop structures acting as two-person seating pods throughout the square will use light, sound, and animation to pay tribute to some of Quebec's most renowned authors, including Joséphine Bacon, Dany Laferrière, and Wajdi Mouawad. Video projections of literary-inspired imagery will be displayed on the facade of the President-Kennedy Building pavilion at Université du Québec à Montréal, and additional audio and artwork will pop up in the Quartier des Spectacle neighborhood.

Luxury kitchenware company Thermador is producing virtual, holiday-themed cooking classes in Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal during the month of November. Hourlong classes instruct participants in preparing a three-course menu alongside renowned Canadian chefs, including Teatro Group executive chef Matthew Batey, former Top Chef Canada contestant Danny Smiles, and SugarKane’s RenĂ©e Charles, Donna Charles, and Nicole Charles-Page. Kits with meal ingredients for two people are delivered the morning of the events, which are hosted by Toronto-based lifestyle blogger Astrid Moulin. Ticket-sale proceeds will be donated to Food Banks Canada. 

As part of its #ActTogether campaign, the Canadian Women’s Foundation (CMF) encourages hosting local fundraisers during the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence from Nov. 25 to Dec. 10. Suggested events include physical fitness challenges, company activities, and film or TV screenings addressing gender violence. “Since the pandemic hit, women-serving organizations are facing higher expenses and reduced ability to raise funds,” reads CMF’s website. “Organizations across the country need our help now to support the most vulnerable women and girls through this crisis and its aftermath."

The Broadbent Institute, an independent organization focused on social equality and environmental sustainability, hosts its fifth annual Progress Gala online this evening, partnering with The Walrus. Speakers this year include singer-songwriter Jann Arden, author and journalist Anand Giridharadas, Black Lives Matter Canada founder Sandy Hudson, Montreal mayor ValĂ©rie Plante, and novelist Waubgeshig Rice. 

“Before COVID-19, we used to have gatherings with 30 or 40 people in our family and we used to get together in one house and celebrate. But this year, we thought, 'We're going to cancel it.' Definitely, it is not the way we used to celebrate, but then this is a new world. Thanks to technology, finally we have something in our hand. At least we can see each other and meet and greet virtually to celebrate. It's not the best, but then, of course, better to have something than nothing.”

—Bulbul Sethi,  speaking to The Chronicle Herald about celebrating Diwali in small groups

On the Scene
The Winter Festival of Lights returned to Niagara Falls for its 38th year on Nov. 14. 

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