Every year, we hold a big to-do over the lighting of the Christmas tree in Downtown Toronto, at City Hall. The Cavalcade of Lights, which fell on November 26th this year, is apparently something people from out of town come to the city for: Choir! Choir! Choir! asked the audience if anyone had made the journey to Toronto for the event, and they got some responses. Ignoring the existence of the Santa Claus Parade (which was the previous Sunday), the first lighting of the Christmas tree ushers in the arrival of the holiday season in a big way. Although it is a one-night event, the lighting and fireworks do fall under the umbrella of “Seasonal Things to Do in Toronto”, and this week I wanted to acknowledge that which the retail world has been hammering into our collective mind since late October: ‘Tis the season. Plus, you can merrily skate at Nathan Phillips Square all season long, and the tree will also be there, along with the charming star hangings over the skating rink.
Having been this year, I will split the experience into pros and cons according to my impressions. To get the unpleasantness out of the way, we’ll start negative and build up to positive.
Big, free, and widely advertised events, much like big name tourist destinations, have one inevitable problem: you will be in a relatively small space with, seemingly, everyone you could ever hope to meet on this earth all at the same time. (Though the skaters seemed capable of moving freely.) Best not to show up right on time to see the light up like a certain person of questionable reasoning skills (myself) chose to do this year. Canadian politeness, if you are afflicted with it, may make it difficult to elbow your way through the crowd like you will need to.
That split second where the square lit up for the first time, and we got to see the Christmas tree in its full glory, was pretty magical. That small moment of beauty is worth the jostling, the lack of personal space, and the slight discomfort of being far closer to my fellow man than I normally like. Plus, as this capture from an Instagrammer we like shows, the fireworks were pretty dope.