Christmas in the City

by | Dec 15, 2016 | Canada, Toronto | 6 comments

Fire and Ice!


Toronto is on Fire this Christmas!


Mariah Carey kicked off the Christmas season with a free concert in downtown Toronto, sponsored by The Bay and Saks for ‘the big reveal’ of their Christmas windows. It was a million dollar performance … literally! Mariah Carey was paid a million dollars. She sang two songs. That’s $500,000 per song. The concert lasted 5 minutes.

Was it worth a million dollars to The Bay? Well, they got more than a million dollars worth of publicity with this event. Newspapers around the world carried the story of the million dollar concert.

I decided that I just had to take in ‘the big reveal’. I couldn’t get close! The crowds closed the streets in downtown Toronto long before the concert started. I went directly to Plan B … shopping at The Bay. However, the main entrance was closed because of the crowds. I skirted the crowds through a side entrance.

The whole store was deserted …. 7 floors of emptiness! The Bay and Saks were all decked out for a big party following the concert but all the guests were outside, waiting for the concert.

My first stop was the wine bar… all free.


The wine was flowing and free and no one was there but me!

My next stop was the oyster bar, with fresh-shucked PEI oysters


Again, no one was there but me!

I stopped for a private piano concert

The jazz band was great!

The DJ showed me all his fancy equipment. He played for an audience of one!

I wined and dined my way through 7 floors


With all that food, wine and entertainment, I didn’t do any shopping


Mariah Carey was an hour late for her concert. She sang her signature song, All I Want for Christmas is You. She wrote and produced the song. Since its release in 1994, the song has earned $50 million in royalties …. plus $500,000 for her performance at The Bay.

Just as I was ready to leave The Bay, I caught a quick glimpse of Mariah Carey just after her performance. Like everyone else in the crowd, I stuck up my camera and managed to grab a shot.

She was dripping in diamonds and resplendent in a red satin gown.


With Christmas in full swing in Toronto, my next Christmas stop was Casa Loma for its Christmas kickoff event.



Casa Loma is a real-life fairy-tale Castle in the middle of Toronto


Casa Loma is a 98-room Gothic-Revival style castle at the top of a ravine, overlooking downtown Toronto.

In 1904, a local financier bought 25 lots to build Casa Loma as his private residence. Construction was mostly complete at the outbreak of World War I. During the depression, the City of Toronto raised taxes on Casa  Loma from $600 a year to $1,000 a month. This was too much for the owner who was already in financial difficulties. The city seized Casa Loma in 1933 for unpaid taxes. During World War II, Casa Loma was used for secret research and construction of sonar devices for U-boat detection.

Casa Loma is a popular location for movies and television, including X-Men and Chicago.

The two-story Great Room in Casa Loma features an organ and a knight in shining armour

Christmas at Casa Loma features 10 trees decorated by celebrity designers

The tree in the Great Room was decorated by Colin & Justin

This room is decorated for Hanukkah


The first day of Hanukkah is December 24

This fire-eater and juggler entertained the kids … and me!

The CN Tower is decked out for Christmas


This is the fabulous view from the turret in Casa Loma. It was freezing cold but I snapped a picture and retreated.


I loved my Christmas at Casa Loma visit

But to really get into the spirit of Christmas in the City, the best place to go is downtown Toronto to the skating rink at Toronto City Hall.


Bring your skates and have a go. It is free and fun.

The ice is on fire for Christmas

This was suppose to be a picture of skates but my camera took control and did weird things. It looks like lava is flowing onto the ice from the Toronto sign. There are ghost traces of skaters in the background.

Christmas Fun with Photoshop


I snapped a picture of the skating rink just as the Zamboni left the ice. Although it was a pretty picture, I jazzed it up by photohopping Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling into the picture. They star in La La Land, opening Christmas Day. I changed their tap shoes into skates. Since Ryan Gosling is Canadian, I am sure that he would approve of the edit.  La La Land received the People’s Choice Award at TIFF this year. (Toronto International Film Festival). La La Land just received 7 Golden Globe nominations.

La La Land opens in theatres on Christmas Day. If there is a sequel, it should be in Toronto …  on skates!


I hope you are feeling in the holiday spirit with Christmas in the City!

Rose Ann MacGillivray

Rose Ann MacGillivray

World Heritage Traveller at
I love visiting World Heritage Sites, celebrating the world’s most fascinating places and cultures, and most of all, having fun on a trip. Join me on the road to fun and fascinating places. Thanks for reading – and remember to add your e-mail below for updates!
Rose Ann MacGillivray

Latest posts by Rose Ann MacGillivray (see all)