One-Tank Trip for Dec. 26/15
(c) By Jim Fox
Welcome 2016 at New Year’s Eve free outdoor parties as the countdown to midnight begins.
Some of the fun gatherings are in Niagara Falls, Toronto, Kitchener and London.
Canadian rock legend Tom Cochrane and Red Ryder will headline what is billed as “Canada’s largest New Year’s Eve bash” at Queen Victoria Park in Niagara Falls.
|The Winter Festival of Lights continues through New Year’s Eve in Niagara. (Ontario Tourism)|
The party begins at 8 p.m. overlooking the falls that each year attracts about 50,000 people.
It features two countdowns with fireworks – one for the youngsters at 8:45 p.m. and the other for the party hearty at the stroke of midnight.
Event organizers say Niagara Falls is the “place to be” on New Year’s Eve as the entire tourism district comes alive.
There’s great music in the park, family fun at Clifton Hill’s World Famous Street, gaming at Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara, along with a variety of restaurants and hotels.
The Niagara Parks Commission and its party partners have assembled an “exciting roster of musical talent,” starting with Down with Webster, a Canadian rap rock band from Toronto.
They’re followed by East Coast favourites Alan Doyle and the Beautiful Gypsies.
Doyle is best known as one of the lead singers of folk rock band Great Big Sea and collaboration with Russell Crowe.
Dennis Deyoung, a founding member of the rock band Styx and lead vocalist and keyboardist, will feature music by the group.
|Displays shine brightly for the Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara. (Jim Fox photo)|
The Winter Festival of Lights continues through Jan. 31 along a five-kilometre route that includes the Niagara Parks, Dufferin Islands and surrounding tourist districts.
There are iconic displays including the shimmering Zimmerman fountain, the world’s largest illuminated Canadian-U.S. flag and three-dimensional Canadian wildlife displays.
Fireworks over the falls also take place nightly at 9 p.m. tonight, Jan. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29. niagarafallstourism.com/events; 1-800-56FALLS
What is billed as “Toronto’s largest skating and dance party” happens on New Year’s Eve outside city hall at Nathan Phillips Square.
The city is hosting the celebration with Deputy Mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong counting down the New Year that will include a midnight fireworks display choreographed to music.
The fun begins at 8 p.m. with a DJ skating party while the ice rink is open until 10 p.m.
|Fireworks light up the night sky over Toronto City Hall to mark New Year’s. (Barbara Fox photo)|
The evening will feature music from 10 p.m. to midnight by Toronto DJs MelBoogie and P-Plus, concluding with a set by DJ Starting from Scratch while the square will be animated by “atmospheric performances” by Zero Gravity Circus.
There will be food trucks including All Star, Heirlooms, Original Chimneys, Prince Edwards Fries and Randy's Roti and Doubles.
Tim Hortons will be selling coffee and hot chocolate with the proceeds going to the Daily Bread Food Bank. toronto.ca/newyearseve; (416) 392-2489
The force of midnight
Downtown Kitchener will hold a Star Wars fan party/expo at city hall and ring in the New Year.
“Wear a costume and join the fun,” organizers say and bring some quarters to play vintage arcade games.
For children, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., there will be photos with Star Wars characters, crafts, face painting, ice skating in Carl Zehr Square and a hot chocolate decorating station.
Inside the city hall rotunda from 6 p.m. to midnight will be retro arcade games and vendors selling Star Wars and space-related memorabilia.
Music begins at 10:30 on the main stage with School of Rock, followed by CleanSL8 and the midnight countdown. kitchenerevents.ca; (519) 741-2200
|Toronto’s “largest skating and dance party” takes place on New Year’s Eve at Nathan Phillips Square. (Jim Fox photo)|
Londoners are encouraged to bring in the New Year with “music, laughter and spectacular fireworks.”
The “Rockin’ New Year’s Eve” party at Victoria Park (509 Clarence St.) will feature headliner
Sloan, a legendary Toronto-based quartet.
Things get underway with children’s act Glee London at 8 p.m. followed by a special fireworks display for kids at 9 p.m.
Next up is local alternative pop group Ivory Hours followed by Sloan and a “phenomenal fireworks display” from the rooftop of city hall at midnight. londontourism.ca/events; (519) 661-5000; 1-800-265-2602
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com
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