Carolling makes a comeback in Leaside

'It makes me think of my childhood and when people would be carolling in the streets,' says organizer

Christmas carollers in Leaside
Christmas carollers from Northlea United Church sing holiday classics in Leaside. Kasy Pertab/Toronto Observer

Beverly Vanstone remembers neighbourhood carolling as a perk of her childhood. With Christmas around the corner, she’s reliving those memories in Leaside.

For the second year in a row, Northlea United Church has brought back its Christmas carolling event. Vanstone is one of its organizers.

“It makes me think of my childhood and when people would be carolling in the street,” she said. “As long as people keep coming, the carolling will carry on.” 

This year, the group met at the church on Friday, Nov. 30, around 6:30 p.m., when music sheets were handed out and band members warmed up before heading out. The route started at Killdeer Cresc. and ended at Aerodome Cresc. in the Leaside area. 

Event organizer Marnie Phoenix (far right) stands with fellow carollers from Northlea United Church. (KASY PERTAB/TORONTO OBSERVER)

The event used to be held years ago, said Marnie Phoenix, another of the organizers, but interest died out. Now, with fresh faces in the neighbourhood, they decided to start it up again. 

“Like all churches, we don’t have that many people sitting in the pew Sunday morning, but we do encourage it,” Phoenix said. “We love when people come to special events, as well, and know that the church does do more than that.” 

Out on the street, the carollers sang the classics, from “Jingle Bells” to “Joy to the World” to  “Away in a Manger.” Once people in the neighbourhood heard the melodies, it didn’t take long before they came out of their houses and joined in. Kids in their pyjamas, some with their pet dogs, watched from their front porches, while parents took photos.  

The band from the Salvation Army community church stands playing music for the Northlea Christmas carolers. (Kasy Pertab/Toronto Observer)

Paul Carew, the bandmaster for the evening, said his group regularly attends events like this during the holiday season. The band also plays at Sunnybrook Hospital on Sundays for children and other patients. They are located at the local Salvation Army community church. This is the band’s second year of carolling at Northlea United.  

“It’s an opportunity to share our love for music, share our love for the season, and share our love for Christ with everyone,” Carew said. “People are usually pretty open to hearing Christmas music, so it’s a great opportunity to do that.” 

Watch a clip of the carolers in action at

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Posted: Dec 4 2018 12:48 pm
Filed under: News