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December 19, 2006
Two of Toronto’s historic houses recreate “Hogmanay” - Traditional Scottish New Year’s celebration
Two of Toronto’s historic museums reflecting the city’s Scottish heritage, Gibson House and Mackenzie House, will present activities to illustrate Hogmanay - Scottish New Year’s celebrations. Visitors are invited to discover Hogmanay traditions, enjoy delicious Scottish food and experience the music of Ontario’s early Scottish settlers at both locations.

Gibson House Museum, at 5172 Yonge St., hosts two Hogmanay events. Stroke of Midnight is a candlelit, licensed event, featuring Scottish delicacies, songs and stories of old Ontario performed by Ian Bell and Geoff Somers. The evening also features a visit from the “first-footer,” the first man to cross a home’s threshold at the stroke of midnight. According to this tradition, it was hoped that the man would be dark-haired, which was viewed as lucky for the household, and bring offerings such as bread, salt and coal, representing life, hospitality and warmth for the year ahead. This event occurs on Friday, December 29 and Saturday, December 30 from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and reservations are required. A Taste of Hogmanay, the site’s drop-in afternoon program, offers activities for the whole family, and includes tastes of delicious traditional Scottish holiday food and the opportunity to make a Hogmanay craft to take home. The event will be held on Sunday, December 31 from noon to 5 p.m. Admission prices: Adults: $4.25; Seniors & Students: $2.75; Children: $2.25. Telephone: 416-395-7432.

Mackenzie House, in downtown Toronto, hosts a traditional 1800s “open-house” style party. The Hogmanay celebration takes place on Friday, December 29 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and is an opportunity to taste Scottish food, hear the band Gin Lane play traditional music, and take a gaslight tour of the house, which is decorated for the holidays. Tickets are $15 each. Reservations are required. Mackenzie House is located at 82 Bond St., just south of Dundas St. E. Telephone: 416-392-6915.

Gibson House Museum tells the tale of Scottish immigrant David Gibson, who joined the Upper Canada Rebellion, and was later forced to live in exile in the United States. The home was built after the family’s return to Toronto.

Mackenzie House was the last home of William Lyon Mackenzie - Toronto’s first mayor, newspaper publisher and leader of the 1837 Upper Canada Rebellion. Also on the site is a recreated print shop and exhibit gallery. The exhibit in place during the holiday season is While the Cold Winds Blow - The Festive Season in Toronto, which introduces visitors to culturally diverse celebrations of the festive season. Both museums are operated by City of Toronto Culture.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of more than 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years Toronto has won more than 50 awards for quality and innovation in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact:
Kim Corby, Museum & Heritage Services, 416-338-0497



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