Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery District

Christmas Markets aren’t exclusively for Europeans. This tradition has migrated to the Americas with an annual Christmas Market being held each year in Toronto at the historic Distillery District. If you love Christmas, this is sure to be the event that you don’t want to miss. Welcome to the Toronto Christmas Market! This is a free festive event in the city. I visited the market with two of my favourite ladies – my sister, Robyn and my best friend, Shannon.

About the Toronto Christmas Market

Christmas Markets originated in Germany and Austria during the Late Middle Ages. They are street markets that celebrate Christmas during the four weeks of Advent. In our case, the Toronto Christmas Market opens from the end of November through the weekend before Christmas. And the Distillery District is truly the best area in town for this type of market. The site was once home to the Gooderham & Worts Distillery, which represents the largest and best preserved collection of Victorian Industrial Architecture in North America.This revitalized pedestrian-only city block is presently filled with boutiques, galleries, restaurants, cafes, and microbreweries. The Toronto Christmas Market is exactly what you would expect of a European Christmas Market – in Canada! We truly celebrated the sights, sounds, and tastes of Christmas all in one afternoon.

Open-Air Stalls

The Toronto Christmas Market is lined with dozens of wooden huts, each selling a unique variety of handmade gifts, imported treats from across Europe (we saw sweets and local delicacies from Germany, the Netherlands, and England, among others), Christmas decorations, nesting dolls, knit winter wear, and so much more. I added a new Christmas ornament to our growing collection (a little wooden owl decoration). You’ll be able to find unique holiday gifts here for loved ones (or yourself!).

 

The Tree

What’s a Christmas Market without a Christmas tree? The Christmas tree this year at the Toronto Christmas Market was huge and very beautifully decorated in red and silver ornaments. Something about the tree looked really special with the old, industrial buildings in the background. Of course, it looked even better as the day quickly turned into night where the lights could truly sparkle.

Sisters!

The Drinks

While there were a few food options (sadly, none of them vegan), we were more interested in enjoying a beverage to ring in the holidays. Fortunately for us, some drink samples were being offered for free! Once we entered the Winter Warmer Lounge, we were able to enjoy some alcoholic drinks outside on the heated patio. There were a few open-air stalls that were giving away shots of vodka and amaretto. There were also samples of Mill Street beer being given out, which is a local microbrewery in the Distillery District. It was great to try some of their seasonal varieties, like their Vanilla Porter. We bought some Mulled Wine and Hot Toddies, complete with a cinnamon stick for garnish. Tip: We noticed that the liquor stalls closed down as it got dark outside, so be sure to get there earlier in the day!

Sights and Sounds of Christmas

Wandering about the Christmas Market really put me into the holiday spirit! There were people dressed up in costumes singing Christmas carols. There were snowmen statues that you could pose with, and you could take your photograph with Mrs. Claus. For the little ones (or the young at heart), you could get your photograph with Santa and tell him what you’d like for Christmas. Fodor’s Travel rated the Toronto Christmas Market as one of their Top 10 Christmas Markets in the World. You should definitely visit if you’re interested in frequenting Christmas markets or if you happen to be traveling to Toronto over the holidays.

Okay, not Christmas-related, but I did find my first sighting of love locks in Toronto! They are attached to a metal grate on a wall along an alley of the Distillery District.

Visiting the Christmas Market

So, the Christmas Market has completely wrapped up for this year, but it is an annual event. The market typically runs from the end of November through December, so be sure to check the website to attend next season. While it gets quite busy on weekends, most of the events and activities occur on the weekend. I have visited on a weekday, and it definitely isn’t as bumpin’. I highly recommend going on a weekend, but pack your patience. There are crowds and it does get busier as the evening rolls on because I’m sure everyone wants to see the market all lit up. I’ve heard that it is less busy on a Sunday. I recommend getting there earlier in the day on a Sunday and staying through nightfall, like we did!

Have you visited a Christmas Market before? Where was it, and what’s your favourite one?

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas! Have a very safe and happy holiday!

28 Responses

  1. Antonina
    | Reply

    Very interesting! I liked “matryoshka” type Santa the most 🙂

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      Yes, it is quite cute! They also showed me one that was many cats stacked and the final one was a tiny mouse.

  2. I’d love to go to a Christmas market like this one day! We have a few Christmas markets here but because the weather is warm they’re more like summer markets. I’d love to go to one with snow and hot drinks and stuff like that. 🙂

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      That’s true – they wouldn’t really be the typical snowy market would they! I hope you can make it out to one on future adventures 🙂

  3. […] Linked to Mosaic Monday, Our World Tuesday, Outdoor Wednesday #weekendwanderlust hosted by justinpluslauren […]

  4. Shaun
    | Reply

    This looks wonderful! I missed going to the German Christmas market in Vancouver this year but may check this out when I pass through TO this next week!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Shaun
    http://www.thislifeintrips.com

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      Unfortunately, it ended on December 22nd…but maybe you’ll catch it another time!

  5. Jessi
    | Reply

    I love Christmas markets! I haven’t been to any in Europe (or Canada, for that matter) but my parents live near Frankenmuth, MI, which is home of the largest Christmas store in the U.S. They make a huge deal out of Christmas and visiting the market has always been one of my favorite holiday activities. I’d love to check out Toronoto’s sometime!

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      Ooh I didn’t know that! Good to know – I’d like to visit that one. I think it would be within driving distance…

  6. I’ve never visited a European style Christmas Market but would really love to one year. I really like all that woodwork in the 2nd photo. I’m not sure if I’d rather go when it’s quiet so I can do some browsing without getting bumped or when it’s jumping so I can feel that holiday vibe.

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      Even if you aren’t in Europe, there are some other ones in North America and even in other countries around the world! It’s really fun and great for the whole family!

  7. Hannah
    | Reply

    Ahhh this looks like so much fun! I’ll have to add it on my list for next year for sure! 🙂 Great pics!

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      Hopefully you can make it out next year!! I think it will be an annual event for me so let me know if you end up coming down!

  8. Marisol@TravelingSolemates
    | Reply

    Hi Lauren, didn’t know about this Christmas market in Toronto. Look very festive indeed. It certainly has the holiday vibes of the markets in Europe. Will definitely keep this in mind when I visit Toronto during the holiday seasons. Lovely photos.

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      You should definitely check it out next year if you’re around for it!

  9. […] I’m also linking this up to #WeekendWanderlust; you can link up your posts here […]

  10. Upasna
    | Reply

    What a gorgeous Christmas Market! And here I thought it was only Europe that did the Christmas Market tradition so beautifully!
    Lovely post Lauren 🙂 Seasons Greeting to you…!

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      Seasons greetings to you as well!

  11. Rhonda Albom
    | Reply

    What a fantastic Christmas market. I love your colorful photos and now want a gingerbread cookie. Thanks for including the love locks photos – they are really cool.

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      I really liked seeing the love locks, too! I realize that in some places they can damage bridges, etc but it seemed like this was a grate that was put up just for them. So, it’s a win win 🙂

  12. Elaine J. Masters
    | Reply

    Just loved Toronto on my first visit during TBEX a few years ago and the Christmas Market is another wonderful reason to return. So wish we had something like this in San Diego – but then we’d probably need to have winter too! Thanks for the post and stellar photographs.

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      Yes, there could be one in San Diego but it might not have the same feeling without the chill in the air and some snow! You’ll just have to return to Toronto 🙂

  13. Looks like a fun place, very festive. I’ve never been to Toronto but it’s certainly on my list of places to go visit.

  14. Lyn - A Hole in my Shoe
    | Reply

    Great post. I haven’t visited a Christmas market yet, but my plan is to visit many of them in Europe in 2015 as we are planning a Rhine River cruise in December form Frankfurt to Basel, Switzerland.

  15. […] Quebec City (which include a German inspired Christmas Market and a Farmer’s Christmas Market), the Distillery District Christmas Market in Toronto, and Vancouver’s outdoor Christmas Market […]

  16. […] I’m also linking this up to #WeekendWanderlust; you can link up your posts here […]

  17. […] temperatures of the Caribbean. I hope you remember my sister, Robyn from a couple of previous blog posts because you’ll be seeing a lot more of her here – she’s coming with me! […]

  18. […] day was the historic Distillery District. You might remember it from my past blog post about the Toronto Christmas Market. The Distillery District is a pedestrian-only city block that was once home to the Gooderham & […]

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