Christmas might be more than a month away, but that doesn’t mean that Toronto’s waiting to get the city ready for the holidays. From Hudson’s Bay’s big window unveiling with Carly Rae Jepson and their decked out basement, to parades and light shows galore, there are tons of incredible options for getting into a wintery mood.
One Toronto tradition that can’t be missed is the Toronto Christmas Market, which officially opens to the public on Thursday, November 15. For those who don’t know, the market, which has been ranked one of the top holiday markets in the world, pops up each year in the Distillery District and transforms into Southern-Ontario’s version of the North Pole.
This year, in addition to 40,000 twinkling lights and Instagram photo opportunities like the market’s 50-foot tree, the Christmas Market will feature a slew of daily musical entertainment on their outdoor stage with themes like bluegrass, world music, holiday jazz, pop, and instrumental, vocal, and choir ensembles. Not to mention, a daily interactive show dubbed, “Santa’s Elves Sing-Along” — something that’s sure to get kids and adults going. Check out their scheduled events to get the full picture.
For foodies, the Christmas Market is the place to get your feast on — just be sure to bring a warm pair of gloves to keep your fingers warm!
First time visitors have got to try the market’s classics: mulled wine and a traditional turkey leg. But if you’re looking to explore other options, there’s a vendor with offerings to suit everyone’s palettes.
This year on the roster, visitors can enjoy things new to the market like chocolate fondue, served under the canopy at Cluny Bistro; Boku Noodle Bar, which is open year ’round but will be decking their patio out with fire pits and lounge chairs; and butter and jerk chicken, which will be served at select cabins on the cobble streets. Other notable eateries making a return to the market include Wafel Bar, Tornado Potato, Eva’s Original Chimneys, and Raclette.
For those who like to get their drink on, well there’s not one, not two, but multiple adult-friendly areas for you to visit!
El Catrin will have a Tequila Terrace featuring cocktails by the Toronto-owned, Mexican-made brand, Tromba. The market will feature two areas dedicated to beer lovers: the Mill Street beer garden and the Winter Craft Beer Lounge. The latter will also be hosted on El Catrin’s patio.
Other spots to grab a drink with your holiday-loving family and friends include the Holiday Spirits Square on the Archeo Trattoria Patio, which will be sampling premium vodkas, brandy, and wines; the PMA Canada Holiday Lounge, which will serve up toasted coconut rum hot chocolate and cinnamon spiced eggnog on the Pure Spirits Oyster House patio; and the PMA Canada Wine Hut, located in front of Cluny Bistro, serving up — you guessed it — wine!
Of course, a market wouldn’t be complete without a little shopping, so be sure to check out the Distillery District’s regular roster of shops while you make your way across the market. Not only is it a good way to warm up, but the stores are a great place to cross names off your holiday shopping lists, too.
For opening day, the market will hosting Opening Ceremonies starting at 6 p.m., with performances by Barbra Lica and Sharon Riley.
While the market is closed on Mondays, it’s completely free to visit Tuesday to Thursday, and Friday until 5 p.m. Weekend tickets can be purchased online and at the door for $6. Express passes, which let you jump the admission line, are $20 each.
Featured Image: Instagram/@veroailes