Looking for that European Christmas vibe but not in Europe? Don’t worry, you are not alone. The mulled wine, the lights, the cozy homes and shops, the hot cocoa, the Christmas gifts, the short bread cookies…I could go on. There is something about Christmas in Europe that just seems so cozy, and on top of the coziness are their famous and fabulous Christmas Markets! What I would give to spend a day in a German Christmas Market. Well lucky for me, Toronto is nearby and they have been rockin’ their own European style Christmas market right in the heart of the distillery district for a few years now. When given the opportunity to go, there was no question, the answer was obvious.
Boots, coats, sweaters, hats, mittens, scarves, socks on socks on socks, this is a Canadian Christmas Market, and being a block or two away from Lake Ontario, this market was going to be SLIGHTLY colder than its European counterpart.
We parked in public parking 1 block away ($12.50), purchased our tickets into the market ($6.00) and were immediately greeted with free Alexander Keiths beers! Woohoo! It was going well so far.
Entering the market into the historic distillery district of Toronto did in fact feel very European. Complete with its old brick walled buildings, little architectural details, cobble stone streets, and tiny Christmas stalls scattered through out, it was love at first site.
We shivered our way through the streets and alleys of the Toronto Christmas Market. Taking our time, looking at a variety of Christmas stalls which sold things like ornaments, short bread cookies, toys, and even beard wax. If you were searching for that special Christmas present, you could certainly find it here! If you can’t you might want to check out my guide to buying Christmas Gifts for the traveler here.
The decorations at the Toronto Christmas Market were to die for…well that might be a bit dramatic but none the less they were pretty fantastic. Beautiful lights were strung from building to building creating the effect of twinkling stars in the sky. Then there was a giant Christmas Tree in the centre for all to enjoy, and the best part….there were a few super instagrammable photo spots available for the public. I’m talking cute signs reading ‘Love’ for couples, ‘Noel’ for Christmas and ‘Family’ for well…families. A giant heart sticking out of the ground was next to a row of pink Christmas trees…I mean…could my instagram be happier!
We popped into a Mexican restaurant for a bit of a break from the cold, and to get some tacos, guac, and margaritas. There are quite a few little restaurants to choose from in the area just in case you need a bit of a break from all of the shivering. After a delicious snack it was back into the market to fill up on sweet treats and mulled wine.
The distillery district and Toronto Christmas Market is home to a few indoor stores where one can find some unique clothes and decorative items. We stumbled in and out of a few stores grabbing drinks along the way as we passed stalls selling spiked and non-spiked hot chocolate and well…basically every alcoholic beverage you could want. We enjoyed some of the local art galleries in the area and even grabbed a shot of aquavit to warm our souls, Cheers Norway.
Visiting the Toronto Christmas Market was a genuinely great way to get into the spirit of the holidays. Truth be told I had a great time taking photos, looking at crafts, drinking and eating holiday splendors. We even danced to Christmas music in the beautifully decorated distillery district. I would recommend a day at the Toronto Christmas Market to anyone looking to enjoy some holiday spirit, and to feel as if they were transported to Europe for just an afternoon.