Toronto is more than ice and hockey (though we’re huge fans of both!). During the winter months, Canada’s most popular city welcomes guests with a barrage of holiday splendor, including shopping to rival Fifth Avenue in NYC, tours and parades to rival the major theme parks, and shows to rival Broadway. Discover all of Toronto’s Holiday Magic in this video by the Toronto Tourism Board.
No one wants two front teeth for Christmas…
…because, seriously, that would be gross (although, we did mention we love hockey, right?).
Instead, grab great gifts at the amazing shopping venues in Toronto. Take the One of a Kind Christmas Show and Sale at the Direct Energy Centre Exhibition Place, the largest consumer craft show in North America with work from more than 800 artists, designers, and craftspeople. Perfect for that one family member who has everything, this shop showcases some of the best homemade, unique, and original works produced by young Canadian and American artists. Swing by anytime from Nov. 27 to Dec. 7.
The Lowe’s Christmas Market (in the Distillery District) is a free annual event that celebrates the holidays with traditional tastes, scents and shops. The market begins on Black Friday (are you brave enough?) and runs through Dec. 21. It offers not just great shopping kiosks but also a Santa’s Lane with daily visits from St. Nick, a Ferris wheel and a merry-go-round. For an instant jolly holiday, adults won’t want to miss on the market’s Beer Garden which serves mulled win, hot rum beverages and European cocktails around warm fire pits.
For more mainstream shopping, check out “Canada’s fashion mecca,” Yorkville, with its traditional, luxury stores like Harry Rosen, Prada and Gucci, all decked out with lights and decorations for the winter season; Eaton Centre with its stunning glass galleria and more than 230 stores, restaurants and services; and The Bay with its iconic holiday windows akin to those at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Baby, it’s cold outside, but Toronto has holiday cheer
Watch a holiday parade that isn’t taped beforehand (unlike the Very Merry First Week of December Parade). Experience a tree-lighting 48 years in the making (move over, Rockefeller Center) and celebrate the Canadian culture and foods (including maple syrup—no joke!) in T.O. this winter season.
The 110th Toronto Santa Claus Parade will be held on Nov. 16 and is the longest running children’s parade in the world. This not-for-profit event runs from Christie Pits around The Rom and ends St. Lawrence Market, and features a 5k run and “Celebrity Clowns,” including corporate executives and junior clowns.
Cavalcade of Lights has been a Toronto tradition for 48 years and boasts the lighting of Toronto’s official Christmas tree, performances by famous Canadian musical talent, a spectacular fireworks display, and a skating party at Nathan Phillips Square. This year’s Cavalcade takes place Nov. 29.
The Nathan Phillips Square, an ice skating rink outside of City Hall, has been a staple in Toronto’s holiday celebrations for years with sparkling lights and a tree decked to the nines.
If you’re heading across the border a little early this season, then check out the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, complete with a horse show, agriculture competition (including butter sculptures, giant vegetables, gourmet cheese, and yes, maple syrup), a petting farm, ag-tivities, and even square dancing.
Check out more tours and events at See Toronto Now.
‘Tis the Season for the Theatre
– The Nutcracker Ballet, performed by National Ballet of Canada—This re-imagined Christmas classic has been enthralling audiences since 1995 with eye-pleasing choreography, fantastic costumes, and tangible emotion.
– Donnie and Marie Christmas – He’s a little bit country. She’s a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, and together, they put on a holiday spectacular, mixing Christmas songs with their international-recognized numbers.
–Jersey Boys – The Tony®, Grammy® and Olivier Awarding-winning Best Musical follows four roughens from New Jersey who became the 1960s pop-singing group the Four Seasons.
– Famous People Players Present Sleigh Bells Ring—This event serves a delectable dinner, created by Celebrity Chef Christopher Woods, before theatre-goers enjoy a night of Christmas-themed fun with holiday decorations, elves, and even Elvis.
– Second City Presents Holidazed and Confused – You ever realize how many absurd rituals, stresses, and obligations come with the holiday season? Laugh about it with Second City’s collection of satirical sketches and songs, complete with a full bar and finger-food menu!
Still can’t think of heading to Canada without seeing some hockey? Check out Canadian Hockey is Cooler, and as a holiday treat, grab a fourth night free, CN Tower admission and kids free promotions now. Contact your local travel agent and ask for GOGO Vacations’ package today!