It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The lights are hanging. The trees are standing. The mulled wine is flowing. Let’s face it, the Toronto Christmas festivities start long before the evening of December 24th. The weeks leading up to Christmas are some of the most exciting weeks in the city, and you won’t want to miss out on the fun and festivities! So, I put together this list to help you make the most of this holly jolly holiday season in Toronto.
1. Hit up the Toronto Christmas Market
One thing I’m sure Torontonians dread all year is the inevitable arrival of winter. *Insert obligatory Game of Thrones quote here*. But one thing I’m certain we look forward to all year is the Toronto Christmas Market! Held in the historic Distillery District, the Christmas Market will transport you into a European-inspired Winter Wonderland filled with food vendors, carol singers, and beer gardens. The market is free on weekdays, and costs $6 on the weekend (or $20 for an express line-skip pass if you hate waiting in the cold).
2. Break out the Ice Skates
In a city as cold as Toronto, there is certainly no shortage of skating rinks to choose from. My two favourites are Nathan Phillips Square and Harbourfront Centre. Both are free of charge if you have your own skates, or you can rent skates for a small cost. Harbourfront even has DJ skate nights on the weekend, so bring your dancing shoes… erm… skates and prepare to bust out those moves on the rink! Time to grab those skates from the storage closet and take them out for a spin! And um, you might want to sharpen them first.
3. Check out the Window Displays at Hudson’s Bay
Want to feel like you’ve been teleported to Santa’s workshop in the North Pole? Swing by Hudson’s Bay on Queen Street and check out their INSANE holiday-themed window displays. I dare you not to smile like Buddy the Elf on Christmas Eve when you are there.
4. Go on a Hunt for Toronto’s Biggest and Brightest Christmas Trees
Does anyone else feel giddy like Kevin from Home Alone when they see a giant Christmas tree? Well, you’re in luck, because we’ve got some pretty grand Christmas trees here in Toronto. Some of the my favourite ones can be found at Toronto Eaton Centre, Distillery District, Casa Loma, and Nathan Phillips Square, but if you find any other good ones, I’d love to know where!
5. Visit the Allan Gardens Christmas Flower Show
If you’re like me and you have a thing for pretty flowers, then you won’t want to miss the highly anticipated Christmas Flower Show at Allan Gardens Conservatory! Each winter, the conservatory is decorated with a wide range of Christmas-themed plants and flowers. It is the biggest event of the year at the Allan Gardens. And the best part? It’s totally free *queue Christmas angels singing*!
6. Watch the Nutcracker Ballet
Nothings screams “tis the season” like an evening at the Nutcracker ballet! It is a timeless holiday classic, and is a great outing for singles, couples, and families alike. My grandmother used to take me to the Nutcracker when I was a kid. I have vague memories of being perched on a booster seat holding binoculars because I was too small to see anything. But hey, that’s part of being a kid, right! Aaaand now I find myself humming the Nutcracker music as I sit here writing this post.
As you can see, there is no shortage of festive entertainment in Toronto this December! The weather outside may be somewhat frightful, but I can guarantee that if you follow this guide, your month with be rather delightful. So pile on those layers, grab your cameras, and head out for some Christmas fun!