Switching to winter tires; shutting off outdoor water taps, and covering garden furniture are only a few of the mundane but necessary tasks that are top of mind heading into December. The flip side of that coin is, planning an exciting schedule to celebrate the season. Family dinners, social events and exploring Burlington’s holiday charms are highlights to be cherished as the New Year’s countdown begins. Take care of business, of course, but don’t neglect the fun!
At the Molinaro Group we get into the spirit as a proud sponsor of one of the showcase events of the season. The 7th Annual Festival of Trees began on November 22 and runs until December 17 at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre (BPAC). It’s an ideal way to kindle that spark of longing for good times and charitable giving. It’s also a brief but welcome distraction for us following a watershed year in company history. After saying goodbye to family patriarch and company founder, Domenic Molinaro, we dealt with our grief by plunging into the final construction phase of the Paradigm Grand lifestyle condominium on Fairview St. It’s a legacy project, fulfilling the dream that began with the original towers beside the GO Station over a decade ago. Upon completion of the last two, street-facing pillars, it will stand as another landmark to honour Dominic’s commitment to Burlington where his life’s work and impactful vision dominate the skyline.
The gateway event for Christmas joy arrives with the annual Santa Claus Parade on Sunday, Dec, 3, beginning at 2 p.m. The parade route starts at Guelph Line and Prospect St. and finishes on Brant St. Please bring a non-perishable food item for donation to the Burlington Food Bank. Local volunteers will be collecting contributions. Licensed vendors will be providing refreshments along the route, but feel free to patronize your favourite local businesses, too.
Did You Know that Burlington has, not one, but two symphony orchestras and an opera company? All three call the BPAC home and will be busy during the holidays, staging shows both large and small. The BSO Christmas concert is on Dec. 10 (see event list below). The opera company, known locally as SOLO (Southern Ontario Lyric Opera) performs its Sounds of the Season show on Dec. 20. Neighbouring Oakville also has a community orchestra, drawing professional musicians from Burlington and Toronto to play in its productions.
The doors at BPAC will hardly have time to close with major events slated on a near daily basis (Reminder: concert tickets make great gifts!). Here are some randomly-chosen highlights:
- State Ballet Theatre of Ukraine: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Dec. 1, 7 p.m.
- State Ballet Theatre of Ukraine: The Nutcracker: Dec. 2, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.
- The Barra MacNeils: An East Coast Christmas: Dec. 3, 7:30 p.m.
- Christmas with the Ennis Sisters (Newfoundland and Celtic music): Dec. 8, 8 p.m.
- Beaches International Jazz Festival: Merry Motown Christmas Special: Dec. 9, 8 p.m.
- Burlington Symphony Orchestra: A Christmas Spectacular: Dec. 10, 3 p.m.
- A Whitehorse (husband and wife, Canadian folk rock band) Winter Classic benefitting Ladybird Animal Sanctuary – ft. Special Guests: Dec. 21, 8 p.m.
- Sing-A-Long Grease (think Newton-John and Travolta): Dec. 31, 8 p.m.
- Bounty Enterprises Inc.: Abbamania (yes, THAT Abba) and Night Fever/The Bee Gees: Jan. 5, 7:30 p.m.
For BPAC box office info and ticket availability, click here.
Plan to make time for one or more of these local events to spice up your holiday season, stimulate the kids, or contribute to a worthwhile cause (or all of the above):
- 7th Annual Festival of Trees from Nov. 22 to Dec. 17
The BPAC lobby will look like a cosmic forest aglow with lights during this annual fund-raising auction sponsored by local companies including the Molinaro Group. The 28, six-foot, pre-lit, artificial trees will be on display daily during regular box office business hours (Tuesday to Saturday, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.) and for one hour prior to each concert or event. Stop by and browse to select your favourite and consider a bid. If you win, that tree and all the trimmings will go home with you for the holidays!
Bidding starts at a minimum of $50 per tree, and closes at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 17. Each tree, including decorations, is valued from $250 to over $800. Proceeds go directly to funding the many worthwhile outreach programs and activities of BPAC which is designated as a non-profit charity.
- Santa has two local gigs on the first weekend of December:
64th Stoney Creek Santa Claus Parade: Saturday, December 2nd, 2023, 2 p.m. along King St. The Stoney Creek Lions Club will be collecting non-perishable food items for the local food bank.
Burlington Santa Claus Parade: Sunday, December 3, 2023 at 2 p.m. in downtown Burlington.
Burlington Festival of Lights: Nov. 24-Jan. 8, 4PM to Midnight daily; extended hours (all day & night)
on Christmas eve, Christmas Day, Orthodox Christmas, New Years Eve, Spencer Smith Park. A defining feature of our town, the festival illuminates the waterfront and always delivers a big jolt of seasonal joy. Celebrating 28 years, it’s among our most cherished annual traditions and attracts local sightseers as well as visitors from throughout the Golden Horseshoe. Stroll through for a close look at the themed exhibits or take it all in from your vehicle while driving along Lakeshore Road. Access to the park is free.
- Winter Wonders: Thursdays to Sundays, Nov. 23-Jan. 7, Hendrie Park, Royal Botanical Gardens. Described on the RBG website as “A unique outdoor evening experience, guides visitors along Hendrie Park’s picturesque pathways adorned with charming festive lights, interactive installations and magical displays that tell the stories of unique winter wonders. Stroll through our breathtaking garden to the rhythm of festive music while indulging in the warm tastes and fragrances of the holiday season.”
Be sure to catch a ride on the RBG Express, a round-trip train ride through the park. Admission charges apply.
The Holiday Season is better in Burlington!