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Sure Santa grabs kids' attention this time of year, but whisper the name "T-rex" and the jolly fat man is forgotten, however momentarily. On Sunday, Dec. 9, families can put aside the holiday hype for a few hours and learn about the great prehistoric beasts that used to roam our home and native land. The most recent installment of the Redpath Museum's Sunday Discovery Workshops, "Dinosaurs of Canada" will introduce budding paleontologists to the fabulous fossils in the museum's collection, including Albertosaurus, a bipedal predator that ruled Western North America some 70 million years ago.
And of course, there's the T-rex skull. What kid doesn't want to stand face-to-maw with a T-rex skull? To top it off, kids can bring home a little taste of the Late Cretaceous Period by making their own dinosaur fridge magnet.
Dinosaurs of Canada; Dec. 9; Redpath Museum; Auditorium; 859 Sherbrooke Street West. Two sessions for all ages: 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. Children $6, all other family members free. Reservation necessary: 514-398-4086 (ext. 4092).
Staying with the Redpath, on Sunday, Dec. 16, the museum will be hosting a special fundraising event featuring the movie Night at the Museum. While Montreal-born Matthew Harrison isn't the biggest name in a cast that includes Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney and Owen Wilson, he did play one of the movie's mischievous Neanderthals. Harrison, who spent many hours exploring the Redpath as a teenager will be on hand to introduce the movie and talk about life on a movie set. All money raised will go toward restoring the Redpath's silver-backed gorilla.
Night at the Museum; Dec. 16; 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.; Redpath Museum; 859 Sherbrooke Street West. Suggested contribution of $5 per person, $25 per family.
While the Redpath isn't teeming with rats, it does boast one of McGill's resident rodent experts, Virginie Millien, a vertebrate zoologist. On Friday, Dec. 14, Millien, along with special guests Jane Sorensen from Small Victories Rodent Rescue, will deliver a special family edition Freaky Friday lecture, "The Reality of Rodents." Topics will include everything from beavers' ever-growing incisors to the myths and realities of the much-maligned urban rat. Fittingly, the lecture will be followed by the 2007 animated film Ratatouille—about a rat who overcomes people's prejudice to become a leading chef in Paris—and a short film called One Rat Short.
The Reality of Rodents; Dec. 14; 4:00 p.m.; Redpath Museum auditorium; 859 Sherbrooke Street West. Free. For more information: Ingrid Birker at 514-398-4086 (ext. 4094).
It's winter, its Montreal, it must mean skating. On Sunday, Dec. 16, Principal Heather Munroe-Blum will be hosting her annual holiday skating party for McGill staff members and their families at the McConnell Winter Arena. Fueled by hot dogs, roasted chestnuts and hot and cold beverages, skaters can whiz around the same rink as the Martlets and Redmen. As always, a visit by Santa Claus will put a smile on youngsters' faces.
Principal's Holiday Skating Party; Sunday, Dec. 16; 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.; McConnell Arena. Free parking for all guests via the Residences entrance at the top of University Street.
RSVP by Dec. 12 by calling one of the following numbers: 514-398-7469, 514-398-0344, 514-398-6555.
Cost: Donation to the Yellow Door's "Food for Thought" Program.
Soprano Aline Kutan has captivated audiences and critics around the world with a voice that the New York Times has called "a coloratura of crystalline high notes." On Thursday, Dec. 20, music lovers can head to the Pollack Concert Hall to see—and hear—for themselves as Kutan will perform the world premiere of Fantastic Dances, Op. 1, composed by Airat Ichmouratov. Kutan will be accompanied by the Trio Muzcynski of the i Musici de Montreal Chamber Orchestra. Part of I Musici's Downtown Concert Series, the performance will also include Chamber Symphony No. 1, Op. 145 by Mieczyslaw Weinberg.
Thursday, Dec. 20 concert; 8:00 p.m.; Pollack Concert Hall; 555 Sherbrooke West. Admission: Regular $36, seniors $32, students $17. Tickets: 514-982-6038. For more information www.imusici.com.