You might’ve got your tree (it is a bit early), you’ve got your gifts (we’ll say 50/50), and you’ve already got what you need for Christmas dinner (probably not). Well for better or worse, Christmas is coming upon us sooner rather than later! Instead of running around crowded malls or sitting at home browsing Amazon, why not pay a visit to one of the city’s events of the season – The Toronto Christmas Market!
When is it?
Now! If you’re out of the loop, it might surprise you to learn that the Christmas Market has been going on since November 16th. While it can be argued that November is a bit early to start the season’s festivities (especially with the distinct lack of snow that we’re still enjoying/stuck with), it does give Torontonians multiple chances to partake in the celebration. But if you’ve been blissfully unaware or just haven’t had a chance to make it out, the Christmas Market runs through Saturday, December 23rd – so you still have a lot of time!
Where is it?
The Christmas Market is located in the historic Distillery District east of Downtown. As a National Historic Site, the Distillery District is worth a visit anytime of year thanks to the old brick buildings, great drinks (as the name might suggest), and fine dining. There are a variety of public transit options to get you from in or around Toronto to the district itself.
When is it open?
The Market is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from Noon to 9 PM, Friday from Noon to 10 PM, Saturday from 10 AM to 10 PM, and Sunday from 10 AM to 9 PM.
What is it?
Well it’s a lot of things. For one, all the great shops, restaurants, and pubs you’d expect anytime of the year are open and filled to the brim. This includes the Mill St. Brew Pub, Cluny Bistro, and numerous cafés. What the Christmas Market adds to proceedings is mostly in the way of…well Christmas decorations and street vendors. Stalls sell hot cider, mulled wine, and plenty of gifts for those of us who may still be struggling to decide what that fourth cousin you met once at a wedding wants.
One of the main draws of the Christmas Market is the beer gardens and terraces. If you enjoy drinking but ever thought, “Forget the warm pub, I wish I was much colder!” then these are for you! In all seriousness though, the outdoor beer gardens are great fun and can really help you get into the holiday mood. Plus with the relatively warm weather (for the season at least), there’s actually never been a better time to take advantage of them.
What should I expect?
In short, crowds. Especially if you go on a weekend evening (as this writer was once foolish enough to do), you’ll find that more or less all of Toronto had the same idea. If you haven’t booked ahead of time at the various establishments, you can expect wait times upwards of a few hours at some of the more popular places. You might still be able to find a spot at a bar or more likely the outdoor areas, but don’t expect to walk in and snag a table right away. We recommend visiting during off hours or weekdays, but we understand that not everyone is free to do so. Even with the crowds, it’s worth a trip to enjoy a great Toronto tradition.
How much does it cost?
Weekdays are free until Friday at 5 PM, but you have to pay $6 to get in on Friday night, Saturday, or Sunday. In addition, children under 2 are free. Buying tickets beforehand will save you a bit of time, although the general admission line can move pretty quickly anyways.
While you’re reading this, the chances for you to visit the Toronto Christmas Market are slipping away. So close the computer (or tablet, phone, whatever), make your way there, brave the crowds, embrace the cold (or lack thereof), and take advantage of the event of the season before it’s done!
Learn more about the Toronto Christmas Market and buy tickets HERE. If you’re just curious about the Distillery District in general, click HERE. If you want to see Homer Simpson stuck in a Chimney, head on over HERE.
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