The Shortlist

NEXT’s picks for the top 10 things to do in Canada in the month of December



iHeart Radio Jingle Ball

Thursday, Dec. 10
Virtual Event

The year’s most power-packed concert is also a sneak peek into the living rooms—and bedrooms—of the stars. Couch surfing replaces crowd surfing as every chart topper on the Jingle Ball bill performs Top 40 hits and Christmas covers from home. Get a glimpse into the childhood home where Billie Eilish recorded Bad Guy, a chance to see if Sam Smith’s digs are as classy as his tunes, and maybe get a peek at the feline behind Doja Cat’s stage name. Heads will turn sideways to read book titles on the shelves of Harry Styles and Dua Lipa, and fans will finally see where Shawn Mendes kicks it with Camila Cabello and where The Weeknd spends the week.




Wonder Woman 1984

Friday, Dec. 25
Opens Across Canada

Just like everyone else, Wonder Woman has had enough—and she’s kicking ass in her latest action-packed flick that delivers a much-needed dose of optimism at the end of a screwed up year. Unlike the first instalment’s bright-eyed coming-of-age story, in 1984, Cold War-era Diana Prince is a full-fledged, bad guy-tossing superhero. Gal Gadot is back in the titular role, crusading against comedic queen Kristen Wiig—no longer laughing in the role of the nefarious DC supervillain Cheetah. With German maestro Hans Zimmer in charge of the score, spines are guaranteed to get serious chills. The film will premiere in theatres—the ones still open—on Christmas Day before hitting Crave in the New Year.


No. 3

BTS: New Year’s Even Live

Thursday, Dec. 31
Virtual Event

BTS’ New Year’s Eve spectacular will make their record-setting summer livestream, which brought in 750,000 viewers and $20 million, look like a humble college open mic. In addition to the biggest
boy band in the world, this year-end bash from South Korea’s Big Hit Entertainment enlists several more K-pop sensations—including TXT, GFRIEND and ENHYPEN—for a marathon of seductive choreography, elaborate light shows and breathless gang vocals.

Prices TBA.


No. 4

Gorillaz Song Machine Live

Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12 and 13
Virtual Event

This is the show Gorillaz has been unknowingly gearing up for since 1998. The fictional crew of virtual rappers and melancholy mumble-singers exists solely onscreen, making them the perfect band for a lockdown livestream. Damon Albarn’s cartoonish cyber posse joins a dream team of flesh-and-bone stars, including Elton John, St. Vincent, Beck and dozens of others. When the guest features are animated, there’s no limit to who might show up.

From $20.



Yoko Ono: Growing Freedom

To Jan. 31
Contemporary Calgary, Calgary

The princess of peace delivers a sprawling, career-spanning show of participatory art. The pieces are stark but stirring, like a photo series that pairs pics of women’s eyes with stories of misogyny they’ve faced. And Beatles fans will love all the art and artifacts from Ono’s bed-in with John Lennon.

See page 57 for more details.


No. 6


Monday, Dec. 21 to Monday, Feb. 15
Yonge Street, Toronto

At this magical walk-through maze, the most magnificent illusion is an eerily lifelike hologram of Houdini performing his most famous stunts nearly a century after his death. The marvel is just one trick up the sleeve of so-called iMagician Jamie Allan, whose sorcerous event guides visitors through the history of magic in four cavernous chambers, starting with ancient Egypt and ending in a funhouse of lasers, 3D projections and iPad illusions.

From $100 for two tickets.


No. 7

You Can’t Spell Dwayne Without NYE - New Years Eve 2021 Live Stream

Thursday, Dec.31
Virtual Event

Canada’s favourite party band, Dwayne Gretzky, won’t let COVID cramp their New Year’s fun. You won’t miss their hard to get into, legendary confetti-littered NYE shows – this year the show won’t sellout, its free and online. See the band do their classic New Years show live on YouTube from their west end Toronto rehearsal space and celebrate NYE in all time zones as the band plays all night. Preview the show with a just released, new live album from last year’s gig, Dwayne Gretzky New Year’s Eve Live at Danforth Music Hall.

10 pm – 3 am EST.


No. 8

Club Quarantine

Multiple Dates
Across Canada

Lady Gaga, Charli XCX and Laverne Cox have all headlined Canada’s Club Quarantine, “the original queer online dance party” that has become the COVID era’s hottest ticket. Founded by four Toronto artists, CQ quickly grew from pandemic project to international internet sensation. It all takes place in a high-capacity Zoom room where the chances of spotting a celebrity are exponentially higher than at any actual nightclub.

Follow @clubquarantine on Instagram for details on their weekly shows.


No. 9

Canada’s Best Wintry Light Shows



Canyon Lights
To Sunday, Jan. 3
Capilano Suspension, Bridge Park

It’s Tinkerbell time. Tucked away in the wintry woods, the forest sparkles with fairy lights twinkling from trunk to top on eight of the world’s tallest trees. And they light up the bridge! A Vancouver tradition that COVID can’t stop.

$54.95. Students $41.95.


To Sunday, Jan. 3
Calgary Zoo

This time, the animals are upstaged at the Calgary Zoo by two million glistening lights illuminating ethereal acres including skating paths and axe-throwing stations—note, those activities not offered concurrently.



To Sunday, Jan. 3
Pearson Airport

For once, you won’t feel trapped in the airport parking garage, as six levels of the lot are repurposed into fantastical tunnels and glittering holiday habitats. It’s all part of this COVID-compatible drive-through experience.

From $55.


No. 10

Canada in Unison

Thursday, Dec. 17
Virtual Event

This virtual concert is a stocking stuffed with hearty homegrown talent: CanRock kings Jim Cuddy and Sam Roberts, beloved indie outfits July Talk and Mother Mother, as well as a collaboration from two Indigenous powerhouses, veteran roots rocker Tom Wilson and rising alternative force Iskwē. The show will raise much-needed moula for the Unison Benevolent Fund, a lifeline for Canadian artists in need and the industry staff who support them.



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