Things to do in Toronto on New Year’s Eve weekend, December 30-January 2

Including a waterfront fireworks show, a livestreamed Dwayne Gretzy virtual show and a star-studded concert of Dolly Parton music


Uncovered: The Music Of Dolly Parton

Why not close out the year enjoying the music of one of the most beloved singer/songwriters of our time, someone who also helped fund one of the COVID-19 vaccines? Musical Stage Company’s in-person concert, taped earlier in the year, features local talents Jully Black, Sara Farb, Kelly Holiff, Beau Dixon, Andrew Penner and others doing the songs of the Queen of Country Music. Feel free to harmonize to 9 To 5 at home.

December 30. $35 per household. musicalstagecompany.com

New Year’s Eve… Eve With Steve

Comic and host of The Debaters Steve Patterson was supposed to host Massey Hall’s big New Year’s Eve bash on Friday, but it got cancelled because… d’uh. Now he’s performing two shows on the night before New Year’s Eve. And no debate about it; he’ll get you laughing about the crazy year we’ve just lived through.

December 30 at 7:30 and 10:30 pm. $12. stevepatterson.ca

New Year’s Eve fireworks

Many of the events on our NYE party roundup have been cancelled among a new Omicron wave of COVID, but this official city of Toronto event is still safe and still on. Instead of Nathan Phillips Square, this year the fireworks display will emanate from across the waterfront and it will be so high-altitude that you can see it from Etobicoke to Scarborough. The 10-minute fireworks show will happen at midnight, but there will also be a virtual concert and countdown event live on YouTube starting at 10:30 pm. Performers include Walk Off The Earth, Andy Kim, Dwayne Gretzky, Young Creek, members of the Lemon Bucket Orkestra and more.

December 31. 10:30 pm-midnight. Free across Toronto and on YouTube. More info here.

Yuk Yuk’s Toronto live New Year’s Eve show

Yes, the comedy institution is open for the final night of 2021. Groups of socially distanced tables (all patrons masked and vaccinated) will be able to witness Cedric Newman, Jon Steinberg and headliner Rob Pue make fun of one of the worst years ever and get you laughing going into 2022.

December 31 at 8 pm (show ends around 10 pm). $60. 224 Richmond W. yukyuks.com

Dwayne Gretzky livestream

Dwayne Gretzky were initially set to perform at the new venue History, but they’ve moved the performance online with a livestream from the Toronto party band’s studio. That same livestream was a highlight of last year’s all-virtual NYE, so it’s a solid bet again this year. Turns out you can play all covers and still get people to tune in – and make requests. “We were excited to be back in-venue with our fans and friends, but the most important thing is that we
all stay safe,” says singer and bandleader Tyler Kyte.

December 31. 10 pm. Free. Donations to CAMH encouraged. dwaynegretzkyband.com

Walk Off The Earth virtual show from the El Mocambo

Omicron might have cancelled most IRL parties, but there are still some new ones being added in the virtual world. Canadian rock band/serially viral YouTubers Walk Off The Earth are playing a last-minute free online show live from the El Mocambo along with Harm & Ease. A good way to count down from your couch.

December 31. 10:30 pm. Free. Tickets at cya.live.

Cinderella In Muddy York

The Puppetmongers’ annual holiday puppet show goes virtual this year with an at-home, on-demand version of its charming classic tale set in 1834 Upper Canada. As an online bonus, creators Ann and David Powell answer FAQs about the show in the stream.

Runs to January 3. $15. puppetmongers.com

Immersive Nutcracker

The Immersive Nutcracker, A Winter Miracle

Sure, the National Ballet of Canada’s version of the Tchaikovsky ballet had to close down because of breakthrough cases of COVID-19. But Lighthouse Immersive’s physically distanced show for all ages captures the magic and wonder of the ballet with immersive video and sound – all in about half an hour. See review here.

Runs to December 31 at 1 Yonge. $35, child $30. immersive-nutcracker.com

Cavalcade of Lights

Most in-person things might be closed, but this outdoor socially distanced light spectacle at Nathan Phillips Square is safe and spectacular. If you haven’t seen the huge installations of lights and festivity, you can head over and walk around or strap on some skates and enjoy it from the ice rink.

To January 7. Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen West). Free. toronto.ca/cavalcade

Messiah/Complex

Against the Grain’s innovative film adaptation of Handel’s Messiah – capturing performers in every province and territory in the country, in six languages – was one of the breakthrough events of the last winter. Now it’s back and available to stream on-demand.

To January 9. Pwyc-$100. atgtheatre.com.

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