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Harbourfront Centre Unleashes a Flurry of Festive Season Events

TORONTO, November 4, 2004-With winter approaching there are many exciting free weekend festivities upcoming at Harbourfront Centre starting Saturday November 20. Activities range from free daily skating at the Natrel Rink to festive cultural forays at the Swedish Christmas Fair and at the Ten Thousand Villages Mennonite Christmas Festival.

On Sunday November 28, Harbourfront Centre presents The Natrel Skating Party - which features free hot chocolate, cookies and skate rentals! Every Sunday afternoon,ZOOM! family programs engage and entertain with storytelling and Gallery Kids tours. Learn To Skate classes for adults and children are also available at the Natrel Rink (class fees apply).

All events occur at Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West, Toronto). All events are free (except where noted) and are suitable for all ages. For more information the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit www.harbourfrontcentre.com

Natrel Rink
Enjoy the winter weather by visiting Canada’s largest outdoor artificial-ice surface, the Natrel Rink. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Sunday through Thursday) and from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Friday and Saturday) beginning November 20, 2004 through March 14, 2005 (weather permitting). Skate rentals and sharpening services are also available.

ZOOM! Family Programming
Every Sunday afternoon (except December 26), Harbourfront Centre provides unique and creative activities for families with ZOOM!. In the new ZOOM! Room from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. families can enjoy storytelling (1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.) as well as the new Gallery Kids programme - which provides visitors of all ages with the chance to respond to what they see in The Power Plant and York Quay Galleries through interactive tours and hands-on activities (2 p.m. to 4 p.m.).

Swedish Christmas Fair
The twenty-third annual Swedish Christmas Fair begins Saturday November 20 through Sunday November 21 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Visitors experience a traditional Swedish Christmas featuring the sale of handmade Swedish crafts and Christmas decorations, plus home-baked goods and imported Swedish food, a Lucia Pageant and Swedish folk-dancing and singing. There will also be a children's Christmas workshop with Santa and a lottery to win a trip to Scandanavia! This event is presented by the Toronto Chapter of the Swedish Women's Educational Association International Inc. (SWEA).

The Natrel Skating Party
Harbourfront Centre celebrates the festive season all afternoon Sunday November 28 (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) with a flurry of free skate rentals, hot chocolate and cookies at The Natrel Skating Party. Free skate rentals are available when patrons bring a non-perishable food item (which will be given to the Daily Bread Food Bank). Natrel provides free hot chocolate milk with free cookies compliments of Lakeside Eats. The afternoon also features Swing era Jazz from the Toronto All Star Big Band from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., who perform a ticketed concert at the Lakeside Terrace (Tickets $20 - available at the Harbourfront Centre Box Office at 416-973-4000) as well as free ZOOM! family storytelling and Gallery Kids tours.

Ten Thousand Villages Mennonite Christmas Festival
Beginning Friday November 26 through Sunday November 28 support skilled artisans from more than 30 developing countries through the sale of fairly-traded handcrafted gifts and holiday activities. Join in the caroling of songs of the season, led by members of the Pax Christi Chorale, and sample Mennonite baking at the Tea Room. The Ten Thousand Villages Mennonite Christmas Festival takes place on November 26 (6 p.m. to 10 p.m.), November 27 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and November 28 (noon to 5 p.m.). Presented by Ten Thousand Villages, a non-profit fair trade programme of the Mennonite Central Committee, the relief and development agency of the Mennonite and Brethren in Christ Churches of North America.

Music with Bite presents True North Brass
On Sunday December 12 at 1 p.m., True North Brass presents a programme of traditional Christmas classics entitled A True North Christmas. Bursting onto the Canadian scene in 1997, True North Brass are regarded as one of Canada’s most exciting ensembles. Proudly Canadian in focus and expression, True North Brass have also performed in the United States and China. Music with Bite, a co-production with Jeunesses Musicales of Ontario, is a refreshing experience where children can sit up close to the artists and, after the concert, ask them questions, while enjoying a complimentary Natrel milk beverage and cookies. (Tickets are $8 or $25 for four tickets - available through the Harbourfront Centre Box Office at 416-973-4000)

Learn to Skate at the Natrel Rink
Skating lessons are offered by trained instructors for all ages and levels from November 22 to December 12, 2004 and January 5 to February 14, 2005 (weather permitting). For children there are Parent and Tot, Kinderskate, Beginners and Intermediate level classes while for adults there are Absolute Beginners, Refresher, Advanced, Silver Skater's Club and Learn at Lunch courses. Regardless of what age or level, classes are geared to develop and enhance skills while enjoying the weather and having fun. For registration and information call 416-973-4093 (classes cost from $45 to $85 for 6 one hour lessons).

Bounty
Visitors can also shop at Bounty: Contemporary Canadian Craft Shop, open daily (except Mondays). This store features blown glass, wheel-thrown ceramics, lathe-turned wooden bowls and a diverse selection of contemporary handmade jewelry. Support Canadian artists with your holiday shopping by purchasing unique works created by Harbourfront Centre's Craft Studio residents and alumni. Works are also for sale by some of Canada's most prominent independent craft artists.

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Media Contact: Shane Gerard, 416-973-4655, sgerard@harbourfrontcentre.com
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