Toronto kicks off Christmas in the city with annual Cavalcade of Lights

It isn’t the holiday season in Toronto until the Christmas tree in Nathan Phillips Square has been lit. Not a city to pass up an opportunity for a party, the annual Cavalcade of Lights will feature music, entertainment, and fireworks.

This year marks the 49th Annual Cavalcade of Lights, and tonight’s show is guaranteed to be thrilling. Far from limiting itself to musical performances, tonight’s show will include fire juggling and eating brought to the audience by FireGuy, a fire and light artist from right here in the Big Smoke. In keeping with the theatrics, FireGuy’s spectacle will be followed by gravity defying aerial acts by Zero Gravity Circus.

Last year’s Christmas tree stood over 60 feet tall, decorated with ornaments and lights that reportedly took weeks to put on. Bedecked and brightened, the tree traditionally stands in Nathan Phillip’s Square for the entire holiday season as a shared symbol of merriment for downtown dwellers and visitors to City Hall alike. This year’s tree, set to be lit at the end of tonight’s celebrations, is sure to be as festive.

Naturally, the beginning of the Christmas season in Canada is inescapably accompanied by the cold, and for some, standing in a crowd in subzero temperatures is not their idea of fun. For others, the entertainment and sense of city camaraderie makes the brisk weather worth it.

Kendal Alexander has gone for the past three years, and believes it’s a good time. “It’s a nice outing for the family to just hang out and watch the show,” he said. “Although it does get cold, you don’t really notice it because of all the fun you’re having.”

Wind chill aside, some observers have pointed out that the grand spectacle seems to disregard other holidays that could have been recognized alongside Christmas during the Cavalcade of Lights, especially in a city as multicultural as Toronto. “It’s funny because both Diwali and Chanukah are festivals of light, but the only literal festival of light for Toronto is for introducing Christmas” said Jamie Basian, an International Studies student.

The event certainly does get quite a bit of attention – the kind of attention that results in road closures. Those driving around downtown today will have to ensure their trip doesn’t involve using any roadway from Dundas to Queen on Bay Street between the hours of 4pm and 11:30pm.

The Cavalcade of Lights kicks off at 6pm tonight in Nathan Phillips Square.

Featured Image from City of Toronto website

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