Mild weather brought thousands of people from near and far to Nathan Phillips Square for the 50th annual Cavalcade of Lights on Nov. 26.
The evening started off with the crowd singing along to classic Christmas carols and other favourites with Choir! Choir! Choir!, a Toronto based open choir. The square echoed with the sound of festive favourites including Féliz Navidad, Loenard Cohen’s Halleljuh and Imagine by John Lennon.
With less than a month left before Christmas day, downtown Toronto is starting to look festive and despite the on and off rain, young and old filled the square to share the Christmas spirit.
Mayor John Tory led the countdown to the tree lighting. The 18-meter tree, as well as the rest of the square, shined bright as the audience cheered. Each one of the tree’s 525,000 red and white lights twinkled against the darkened sky.
The white spruce is chosen a whole year in advance from a tree farm in Bancroft, Ont. before it is brought to the city’s core. Decorating the enormous tree takes about two weeks.
Although the tree lighting ceremony has been a tradition for over half a century, this year was a first for Windsor native Quinn Taylor.
“It was an unbelievable experience, to see the amount of people downtown to celebrate Christmas and hearing people sing to the Christmas music it was truly magical. Great first experience,” Taylor said.
The celebration also included a variety of cultural performances from Canadian artists. The Chippewa Travellers brought their Powwow style drumming to the stage and JUNO winner Kiran Ahluwalia sang Indian-inspired songs.
The event includes a spectacular fireworks show at City Hall and this year was no exception. Captivating bursts of light went off to Justin Timberlake’s catchy tune Can’t Stop the Feeling!
Other Canadian performers contributed to the night including YouTube sensation Dan Talevski, JUNO nominee Cris Derksen and heartthrob Don Amero.
Red Pepper Spectacle Arts also gave a riveting performance outside City Hall. They entertained the crowd with fire theatre, giant puppets and costumed performers.
Many also brought their skates as the ice at the square was finally ready. The evening ended with a skating party with music by DJ General Eclectic. Hundreds laced up and took to the downtown rink and skated to a variety of music.