By EVA VOINIGESCU
The most festive of seasons is upon us, and though Toronto may be a little lacking in the snow department, there’s definitely no shortage of winter cheer. Arguably the city’s most popular holiday gathering is the annual CityTV New Year’s Eve Bash, where thousands of residents and visitors count down to midnight—accompanied by top Canadian musicians—at Nathan Phillips Square.
In advance of the big night, Where Toronto got in touch with one of event’s effervescent hosts, Breakfast Television’s Dina Pugliese. Below, she shares some of her favourite ways to celebrate the holiday season in this city.
What are the best ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Toronto?
There are so many great restos, club events, and halls offering something for everyone. But my fave New Year’s memories are from house parties—intimate gatherings, warm and comfy inside, watching CityTV’s New Year’s Bash (really!). It’s so surreal to be on the flip side working it for my eighth consecutive year now. It’s also the best rush—sharing the countdown with tens of thousands in the square and millions across the country!
Do you go to any after parties following the Nathan Phillips Square show?
When I do finally thaw out and change, I rush to meet up with my husband. It’s usually around 1:30 a.m. Sometimes it’s at a family gathering or friends’ house, sometimes it’s to join him at a party in full swing at a venue like Spice Route. I sit, eat and drink tea to warm up. (Clearly I’m the life of the party!)
What performer are you most looking forward to this year?
All of them! There’s a stellar lineup! Kardinal Offishall brings the energy, Shawn Desman dances up a storm, and there are plenty of surprises. I love good surprises!
How do you keep warm on stage all night?
You don’t. The trick is to act like you’re toasty warm even though you can’t feel your toes. But I do dance a ton. That helps.
What are your favourite things to do in Toronto during the holiday season?
I love this time of year. Visiting The Bay’s Christmas windows is a family tradition. My niece’s and nephew’s eyes light up. It’s too cute.
Do you have any holiday traditions?
Eat. Family time. Buy stretchy pants. Eat some more. Get to Christmas mass. Eat again. Repeat.
What are some of your favourite stores for holiday shopping?
I love Yorkdale Shopping Centre. It’s a one-stop shop for everyone on your list. I always find great gifts at BCBG and Club Monaco for my sisters and girlfriends.
You work on a morning show, so you must love your coffee. Do you have a favourite place to get it?
Anywhere and everywhere. My only stipulation? It must be piping hot.
What Torontonian have you most enjoyed interviewing?
One of my favourite Torontonians is nutritional food guru Mairlyn Smith. She always leaves me with a full belly, a warm heart, and bright smile. The woman is as kind as she is witty and loving. As for her recipes? All the indulge without the bulge! Everyone’s day is brighter when Mair walks on set!