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This week couldn’t have gone better for most people in the GTA. First, the snowstorm that hit the region was not as bad as forecasters thought. Second, the storm came during March Break, which means school buses weren’t impacted. And third, the week ends with St. Patrick’s Day festivities on Friday, which, let’s face it, will continue over the weekend.

There are plenty of things to do to celebrate the day devoted to the patron saint of Ireland, and also to celebrate the weekend.

St. Patrick’s Day events

St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Whether you are Irish or just wish you were, the annual parade on Sunday welcomes everyone to its celebration. There are over 20 marching bands, and, for the first time this year, there will be a March of Gingers. You don’t have to be a natural redhead to join; even a wig will do.

The main parade kicks off at noon at Bloor and St. George streets. It then heads east on Bloor, south on Yonge Street, west on Queen Street and ends at Nathan Phillips Square.

Those attending the parade are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for the Daily Bread Food Bank. The goal this year is to collect 5,000 pounds of food.

St. Patrick’s Day at Amsterdam BrewHouse
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at Amsterdam BrewHouse this weekend. The brewery, located on Queens Quay West, is offering a full day of festivities, including a free pancake breakfast in the morning. There’s also Irish entertainment, a live band, DJ battles, a fiddler, BBQ, pizza and more.

The event runs Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Tickets range from $25 to $30.

St. Paddy’s Day-Long Extravaganza
This year, St. Patrick’s Day falls at the start of the weekend, which means the celebrations will last for three whole days.

A man rides past during the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Toronto on March 13, 2011. Courtesy of Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla.

Gladstone Hotel is taking advantage of all the fun with a day-long party at the hotel, from 1 p.m. on Friday to 2 a.m. on Saturday. There will be prizes handed out and live music to follow. Then, once you’ve had a couple of beers, you can test your vocal prowess at karaoke.

Woodhouse Brewing Co. will also be provide free samples of their brews from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The event is restricted to ages 19 and up, and no cover charge is required. Remember, don’t drink and drive.

Guinness SPD
Dubbed Toronto’s largest St. Patrick’s Day party, the festivities at Polson Pier on Saturday start at 11 a.m. and continue until 9 p.m.

There will be a free pancake breakfast, live music, fiddlers, Irish dancers, face painting, and more. Of course, the party would not be complete without some Guinness. Drink responsibly and don’t drink and drive. The event is restricted to ages 19 and up.

St. Paddy’s Weekend in Mississauga
The Irish Club of Mississauga also has you covered starting Friday and into the weekend with St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

On Friday, feast on homemade Irish stew for $8, and amuse yourself with live music and dancing. The entertainment continues on Saturday, following by a family-friendly parade on Sunday and a pancake breakfast, and some more music and dancing. Admission is $5 for non-members.

Other events

Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off
Ready, set, bake! Toronto Vegetarian Association’s Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off returns to Artscape Wychwood Barns this Sunday for its ninth annual event.

The friendly baking competition brings together over 50 of Toronto’s best professional and amateur bakers in a celebration of vegan food and community.

The event opens at 1 p.m. and the bake-off is at 2 p.m. Entries are voted upon by celebrity judges and 600 attendees.

Wonders and Miracles Grand Illusion Show
Prepare to be amazed this Sunday night at the Wonders and Miracles Grand Illusion Show. The high production magic show is presented by Will Zhang (the conjurer) and Matt Stewart (the mentalist). It features 15 grand illusions, including making people appear from fire, switch places and vanish. There will also be magic acts by guest performers, comedy magic and various dance acts.

The performance runs from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Isabel Bader Theatre on Charles Street West. Tickets can be purchased on the duo’s website.

Toronto Spring Festival
It doesn’t look like it now but spring arrives at 6:28 a.m. on Monday. To celebrate its arrival, an arts and culture festival is being held at the Murray Building on Spadina Avenue on Saturday from noon to midnight. The family-friendly festival features a drawing contest, a chance to design your own mini tree house, a spring shop, baked goods and more. Children under 12 years old can enter for free.


PAW Patrol at Dixie Outlet Mall
Spend your last days of March Break with Chase and Marshall of PAW Patrol at Dixie Outlet Mall. The pair will be at the mall for a special meet and greet this Saturday and Sunday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Fans will have the opportunity to shake paws and snap photos. The free event will take place in Dixie Outlet Mall’s Silver Wing between Urban Planet and Laura Outlet.

TTC closure

Partial Line 2 closure
There’s a subway closure to keep in mind if you’re out and about this weekend. The good news: it’s only affecting two stops on Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth). There will be no service between Kennedy and Warden stations because of TTC track work.

Shuttle buses will operate between these stations during the closure, and Wheel-Trans buses will be available upon request between Kennedy and Victoria Park stations. Regular service is set to resume at 6 a.m. on Monday.

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