Getting into the holiday spirit can be challenging coming out of an abnormally warm fall. With more rain than snow falling from above, it’s hard to believe that Christmas is only a few weeks away. If you are in need of some holiday inspiration, or just some Christmas cheer, look no further than the Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery Historic District.
Open until December 23rd this year; the distillery is transformed into a dreamy winter wonderland. Your senses will be overwhelmed with Christmas carols, the smell of cinnamon and pine and the twinkle of lights. It is impossible not to feel jolly and a little nostalgic the moment you enter the gates to the Distillery Historic District. Pooches are also welcome, and you can bring your four-legged furry friend along for the fun!
The event boasts over 450 free performances on their main stage – everything from jazz, seasonal opera, pop, classical and instrumental ensembles. It is worth checking out the event calendar online, as there are a variety of events daily.
An interactive stage show “Santa’s Elves Sing-Along” is great for the youngsters and is performed several times a day. Or visit Santa during designated hours and capture a magical moment with Saint Nick on your device (a great alternative to the mall Santa!) In fact, the market is bursting with festive photo ops.
In addition to live entertainment and a few carnival rides, there are over thirty vendors offering gift ideas and tasty treats. A Poutine Shack, Schnitzel-Haus, Maple Leaf Fudge and Eat My Shortbread are just a few savoury temptations. The outdoor vendors that adorn the cobbled streets are nicely spaced and sell everything from gourmet preserves and candles to alpaca scarves and Christmas tree decorations.
The Beer Market is home to several Thirsty Elf Huts that offer a selection of traditional European Christmas cocktails including Drambuie caramel apple cider, mulled wine, hot toddies and specialty hot chocolate. You can walk around with a warm bevie or get cozy with a selection of beer and other adult beverages on one of the heated patios in the market.
Because the Distillery is still open during the Christmas Market, there are also lots of options for a sit-down meal if you want to escape the crowds and the cold for a wee while. The Christmas Market offers free admission during the week. They charge $6 a person starting Friday’s at 5 pm for the weekend unless you purchase your Christmas tree on site, and then admission is free! If you are brave and decide to tackle the crowds on the weekend, be prepared to wait in a line for entry and the shops will likely be overflowing with people. The weekends are exceptionally busier. And I should note, the market is closed on Monday’s.
Parking can be daunting during peak hours and will range in price depending on the parking lot. You can reserve a spot in the Lakeshore Parking lot here:
....but taking public transit or a taxi is recommended.
The Toronto Christmas Market is a non-profit event that will truly get you into the holiday spirit. The recipe for a perfect date night; enjoy the live entertainment, traditional European fare and cocktails and be amazed by the holiday decor and hundreds of lights.