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Harbourfront Centre sharpens Toronto's festive season with a new SK8 CULTURE program of free all-ages events -- HarbourKIDS: SK8 weekend, hockey readings and art exhibitions, DJ SK8 Nights and the 25th Anniversary of the Natrel Rink!

SK8 CULTURE at Harbourfront Centre turns a triple axel on Toronto's Winter skating with an experience to rival Ottawa's Rideau Canal Skateway or New York's The Rink at Rockefeller Centre. On every weekend from November 15 through December 21 there will be free events for all ages centered on and around the Natrel Rink. Beginning with hockey themed visual arts exhibitions and outdoor fireplace performances, SK8 CULTURE then launches a HarbourKIDS: SK8 weekend, hockey readings, DJ SK8 Nights as well as synchronized skaters and stars from Degrassi: The Next Generation helping to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Natrel Rink! For more information call 416-973-4000 or visit www.harbourfrontcentre.com

SK8 CULTURE Featured Events:

Blue Blood and The Arena Project - These hockey-inspired visual arts exhibitions run daily (except Monday's) from November 15 to January 4. Blue Blood is a twisted engagement with the cursed trajectory of the Toronto Maple Leafs post-1967. Curated by Andrew Hunter and David Bidini, Blue Blood is a group exhibition of new works, archival materials and imagined artifacts in a setting inspired by the suburban recreation room. Artists include: Craig LeBlanc, Matt James, David Poolman and Katherine Mockler, Barbara Hobot and Patrick Cull, Michael Davies. The Arena Project is part of an ongoing examination of architecture's impact on our cultural experience and memory by Toronto photographer Martie Giefert. This series documents the interiors of small town Ontario hockey rinks.

Natrel Rink - Launches its silver 25th anniversary season November 22, 2008 and is open daily until March 15, 2009 (weather permitting). The first outdoor rink to open in downtown Toronto is also Canada’s largest artificially cooled outdoor rink. The Natrel Rink provides skate rentals, sharpening, change rooms and lockers. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday to 11 p.m. Lakeside Eats offers casual dining and hot and cold beverages next to the rink.

Fireside Rinkside - Outdoor fireplaces surrounding a seated area next to the Natrel Rink operate every Friday through Sunday from 6 pm. to 11 p.m. from November 22 to December 21 as well as during artist performance times to follow. Every weekend from November 22 to December 21 features acoustic performances and storytelling from Ontario artists. On November 22 Joan Smith performs Country Rock Blues at 1:30 p.m. while on November 22 (5 p.m.) and November 23 (4 p.m.) Sarah Granskou tells Scandinavian folk stories. On November 29 singer-songwriter Melissa Larkin performs at 1:30 p.m while November 29 and 30 (at 5 p.m.) features storyteller Laurel Dee Gugler. On December 7 storyteller Marylyn Peringer has interactive riddles and puzzle stories at 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.. while Singer-songwriter Brendan Thomas performs on December 13 at 3 p.m. and musician Marcus Walker performs on December 20 at 1:30 p.m

HarbourKIDS: SK8 - From December 5 to 7, Harbourfront Centre hosts the city’s coolest skating celebration for families - ice skating, skateboarding, roller skating and in-line skating - with performances, films, hands-on activities and loads of fun! HarbourKIDS: SK8 kicks off on Friday, December 5 at 5 p.m. on the Natrel Rink, with a Family Skate Night with DJ Fase featuring kid-friendly hip hop, r&b, reggae, funk, rock, soul, old-school and jazz, along with a live painting from Clay Rochemont, one of Toronto’s most talented graffiti artists. Highlights on Saturday & Sunday, December 6 & 7 include: Great SK8 Performances featuring incredible synchronized skating performances; The Salads, a Casby Award-winning and a Juno Award nominated group, perform a special rock/ska set created for kids; and the Natrel Indoor Skate Park, an awesome mobile skate park with cool music and instructors, which is designed especially for kids. (Helmets are mandatory; kids can bring their own helmet and skateboard or use available equipment.) HarbourKIDS: SK8 takes place on Friday, December 5 from 5 to 8 p.m., and Saturday & Sunday, December 6 & 7 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. - Admission is free.

DJ SK8 Nights - The fourth year of this series has DJs at seven events spinning everything from French Pop to Canadian Indie Rock to Techno and House. All nights start at 8 p.m. and end at 11 p.m. On December 12 Zoï Zoï presents Classic and current French Pop from DJs Mimi la Twisteuse & SOJU. On December 13 CBC Radio 3 on Ice! features a live broadcast of top Canadian Indie music featuring host Craig Norris from the R3-30 program. On December 20 Degrassi DJs features stars from Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi High and Degrassi: The Next Generation. On January 10 Promise DJs spin House, Techno and Disco. On January 24 Nocturnal Magazine DJs spin Techno and House. On January 31 SIRIUS Satellite Radio presents a CBC Radio 3 DJ event while on February 14 DJs Denise Benson and Cozmic Cat host a Cherry Bomb Valentine's Day with Electro, Breaks, Techno, House and Hip Hop.

Hockey Readings - Authors at Harbourfront Centre presents three free readings about hockey on Sunday December 14 from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Lakeside Terrace. Veteran hockey broadcaster Brian Macfarlane reads from his memoir Legendary Stanley Cup Stories while respected sportswriter Scott Morrison reads from My Greatest Day - where he asks profile NHL players to share their most memorable day in hockey. Author and sports journalist Andrew Podnieks shares the insights gleaned from the number NHL players where on their jersey's with tales from the The Little Book of Hockey Sweaters Vol. 2.

25th Anniversary of the Natrel Rink- The silver anniversary of Canada's largest artificially-cooled outdoor rink is celebrated with a synchronized skating performances by Ontario’s black ice and NEXXICE groups (December 19, 8 p.m.) as well as with a Degrassi DJs DJ SK8 event (December 20, 8 to 11 p.m.) featuring DJ sets by stars from Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi High and Degrassi: The Next Generation. The December 20 evening begins with free screenings of six episodes selected from Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi High and Degrassi: The Next Generation at the Studio Theatre (5 to 8 p.m.).

Natrel Rink 's Learn to Skate starts November 22 through December (weather permitting). Lessons for adults and children are taught by instructors in small groups resulting in a comfortable environment and personal attention. Classes range from $40 to $60. Call 416-973-4093 for information and to register.

These festive season events also take place at Harbourfront Centre this November and December:

Swedish Christmas Fair - The twenty-seventh annual fair takes place November 22 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and 23 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Experience a Lucia Pageant, Swedish singing and folk-dancing. The fair also features the sale of Swedish handmade crafts and Christmas decorations and home-baked goods like saffron bread and ginger bread cookies as well as imported Swedish food. The Children’s Christmas Workshop allows families to make Swedish crafts, bake gingerbread cookies and dance around a Christmas tree. Presented by the Toronto Chapter of the Swedish Women's Educational Association International Inc. (SWEA).

Ten Thousand Villages Christmas Festival - From November 28 (6 to 10 p.m.), November 29 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) through November 30 (noon to 5 p.m.) this fair trade Christmas festival features works from over 130 artisan groups from more than 35 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Purchase personal and home accessories, carpets, Christmas décor, games, toys, coffee and food, while soaking in the sights and sounds of Christmas. As one of the world's oldest and largest Fair Trade organizations, Ten Thousand Villages builds long-term relationships with artisans based on mutual understanding and respect.

Ballet Creole presents Glorious Soulful Messiah - December 5 and 6 (8 p.m.) and December 7 (3 p.m.):
A wonderful rendition of Handel’s holiday classic soulful songs and contemporary dance with African-Caribbean forms. These NextSteps performances are at the Fleck Dance Theatre (formerly the Premiere Dance Theatre). Tickets are $25-$35.

The Xing Dance Theatre presents The Nutcracker - December 13 (7:30) and December 14 (2 p.m.) - The Xing Dance Theatre of Canada’s take on the classical The Nutcracker holiday ballet. Principal dancer Simon Sylvain Lalonde performs the role of the Prince for the last time in his career in a Gala Night VIP performance. These NextSteps events are at the Fleck Dance Theatre. Tickets are $28-$38. VIP Gala tickets are $100.

Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre (CCDT) presents Winter Song - Toronto’s Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre (CCDT) is a modern dance company of dancers under 20 years of age. They perform the production Winter Song at the Fleck Dance Theatre (Tickets are $28).

Sarah Slean & Friends Annual Holiday Show - December 19 and 20 (8 p.m.)
This acclaimed Toronto singer-songwriter performs at the Enwave Theatre (Tickets $32.50)

Advance tickets are available through the Harbourfront Centre Box Office
by calling 416-973-4000 and online at www.harbourfrontcentre.com

Media Contacts:
SK8 CULTURE - Shane Gerard. 416-973-4518, sgerard@harbourfrontcentre.com
HarbourKIDS: SK8 - Linda Liontis, 416-973-4381, lliontis@harbourfrontcentre.com
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