If you have ever traveled to Europe around November or December, then you should be familiar with the traditional open-air Christmas markets where thousands of people wander through in celebration of the holidays. The markets are full of food, drink, music, holiday décor, and traditional gifts that are all reflective of the culture in that region. Whether you’re sipping gluhwein (mulled wine) in Hamburg or munching on pepparkakor (ginger biscuits) in Stockholm, the markets bring people together to experience the true essence of the season.
Luckily for us in Toronto, the Distillery District hosts its own version of the European Christmas Markets. The Toronto Christmas Market has been around since 2010 and is known as one of the best Christmas markets in the world. The Market captures the authenticity, charm and traditions of a European market, while adding Canadian flair to make it a native experience. The event takes place from November 20th to December 20th and offers guests hundreds of locally hand-crafted products, traditional European and Canadian eats, winter warming drinks, over 320 stage performances, and exquisite festive lights and decorations.
This is my 4th year attending the Toronto Christmas Market and it’s something I look forward to every holiday season. Whether you’re wandering around with friends, a significant other, family or even alone, you will feel the true spirit of Christmas.
Started the afternoon off with cocktails and snacks at Cluny Bistro
Explored the markets just before the sun went down to get a good idea of where everything was located. I also made note of some must-visit stalls.
Dropped by Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill for some of the best oysters in the city
Experienced the lighting of the 50-foot tree ceremony with musical performance by Francesco Yates
Indulged in food from French Canadian Poutine, Schnitzel Haus, Woodcutter's Grill and Kase-Sandwich
Warmed up with boozy drinks such as Hot Toddies from the Pure Spirits Patio and Mulled Wine from the El Catrin Patio
Snacked on assorted cookies from The Sweet Escape Patisserie, Mayan Hot Chocolate from Soma Chocolatemaker, Gourmet Chocolates and Drinks from Maisonette
Gifts galore such as coloured laces from Gentil Uomo, fashion socks from GOTSTYLE, shoe polish and discount card from Heel Boy (kudos to the wine and cheese spread inside the store)
Facial Treatments from Jacob & Sebastian, Bourbon-infused Maple Syrup from Blackbird Vintage Finds and Colourful clothing from Desigual
Cartman Ornament from RetroFestive, Holiday Ornament from Bergo Designs, Star Ornament from Mint Boutique and Funny Christmas Cards from Distill Gallery
The Toronto Christmas Market is open Tuesday to Sunday with free admission during the week and a $5 charge on weekends. Children under 12 are free before 2 pm on the weekend. The $5 weekend charge is new to the Market this year, however proceeds from the admission cost go help grow the non-for-profit festival and support the Daily Bread Food Bank, Plan Canada and the Toronto Star Santa Claus Fund.
Visit the TO Christmas Market today and share your pictures and experiences online using the hashtag #TCM15. I promise it will be one of your favourite experiences of this year’s holiday season!