Now in its 6th year, Toronto’s European style Christmas Market has been ranked by many as one of the best Christmas Markets in the world. Located in the historic Distillery District, the market features all the festivities you would expect, including Santa, a 54-foot Christmas tree, a mini Ferris Wheel and plenty of mistletoe. It’s the perfect way to kick off the festive season.
We visited the market when it opened on November 20th and have come up with five top tips to help you make the most of your visit:
1. Avoid the weekend
Last year we visited on a December Sunday and it was horrendous. The crowds were so huge that we were crammed in like sardines and got stuck in a slow moving sea of people as we tried desperately to get out of there! Fortunately, this year a $5 admission fee has been introduced on weekends in an attempt to control the numbers. To avoid paying the fee (although they are a non profit and a proportion does go to charity) we recommend visiting during the week.
2. Warm up with a glass of Glühwein
You can’t go to a Christmas Market without buying a nice warm
glass paper cup of mulled wine or hot cider. There were rumours of another tasty hot drink on offer, but we didn’t find it unfortunately. Whilst having our drinks we got chatting to some locals, who were amazed that we had travelled all the way from London (it’s always London, never England!) just to visit the market! Stewart had them convinced on this for quite a while before finally owning up that we in fact lived just 30 minutes away.
3. Do some Christmas shopping
Like the above, this goes without saying but unlike some Christmas Markets, we found this one actually had some great unique and hand crafted products on offer and we were able to do the first of our Christmas shopping. There’s also the 80 boutiques and galleries of the Distillery District itself to explore, although they are definitely on the pricier side.
4. Grab some freebies
It wouldn’t be a blog post from us without some reference of free stuff! Through not much effort on our part, we were able to get our hands on some Burt’s Bees lip balm, Hershey’s chocolate kisses and a gingerbread man wrapped in impossible-to-get-into Glad plastic wrap.
5. Treat yourself at a chocolate cafe
Last but most definitely not least, take a break in one of the two amazing chocolate shops – Soma and the newly opened Cacao 70. Stop in at either for a heavenly hot chocolate, sample a dessert pizza at Cacao 70 or take home some artisan chocolates at Soma.
Of course we just had to visit Cacao 70 on their opening night, and share the triple chocolate fondue. I’ll let the picture do the talking. The best part? It’s open till at least 11pm making it possible to get your chocolate fix at almost any time of the day.
Toronto Christmas Market is open Tuesday – Sunday until December 20th with a $5 admission fee charged only on weekends.