Top Things To Do In Toronto For The Holidays
Cavalcade of Lights
For many, the holiday season doesn’t officially begin until the illumination of Toronto’s famous Christmas Tree in Nathan Phillips Square. This special event takes place every year at the Cavalcade of Lights. Featuring performances by some of Canada’s top musical talent, a brilliant fireworks show and an outdoor skating party under the glow of more than half a million lights, this is a celebration that will warm the hearts of even the frostiest of attendees. Don’t worry if you miss the kick-off event, the light displays are ablaze every night for weeks after. November 30, 2019.
Toronto Christmas Market
No trip to Toronto during the holidays is complete without a visit to the Toronto Christmas Market. Inspired by the European Christkindlmarkt that originated in Germany in the 1400s, this five week-long event celebrates the sounds, sights and scents of Christmas. Set in the Victorian-era, cobblestone-lined Distillery Historic District, the Market brings together local craftspeople, artisanal food-makers and spectacular light displays for a truly festive experience. Free admission Tuesday to Friday and $6.00 admission Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday. Closed Mondays. November 14 to December 22, 2019.
Venus Winter Market
Venus Fest is hosting its first Winter Market which showcases local businesses run by and supporting women and non-binary folks. Local, hand-crafted goods, made with love, will warm up your seasonal gatherings. Crave some treats? Food trucks are available on the site to keep your sugar level up. Lula Lounge, December 16, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check out more of the holiday markets that have popped up in recent years using our guide, Must-Visit Holiday Markets.
Christmas at Casa Loma
Who needs a visit to the North Pole, for a truly unique and memorable Christmas experience, a visit to Toronto’s castle is a must. Built by Sir Henry Pellatt over a three-year period from 1911 to 1914, Casa Loma is an homage to the Gothic castles of days gone by, complete with soaring battlements and secret passageways. Decked out in lights and seasonal decor, North America’s only castle is a stunning sight during the festive season.
The Ward Cabaret
If you crave seeing a performance but perennial favourite The Nutcracker is not your style, then may be just the thing. Listen to the pulsating sounds of Toronto’s first cross-cultural community. When they came to Toronto they brought their cherished cultural treasures: deep traditions of stories, music and song to complement your winter wonderland. December 12 to 15, 2019 December 17 to 22, 2019.
Breathe in the magical winter. Imagine a full symphony orchestra playing along to your favourite holiday movie! The Toronto Symphony Orchestra presents Home Alone in Concert with the orchestra and Resonance Youth Choir singing along with the film. Enjoy this new Christmas classic in a fresh way, at Roy Thomson Hall December 6 to 7, 2019.
Aurora Winter Festival
The Aurora Winter Festival promises to be like visiting a hidden village near the North Pole filled with captivating light displays, magical characters, amusement rides and plenty of other joyful activities. Located on the Ontario Place site, which itself is having a spectacular Winter Light Exhibition the whole area will be a vast winter wonderland. November 22, 2019 to January 5, 2020.
The Cinesphere at Ontario Place will be showing Love Actually. Follow the lives of eight different couples in London, England dealing with their love lives in interrelated tales all before Christmas. December 26 and December 27.
Conservatory by Candlelight
The displays at the Allan Gardens Conservatory and Centennial Park Conservatory at Christmastime are the highlight of the year. Each conservatory is decorated and filled with thousands of flowering plants including over 30 varieties of poinsettia. For a very special experience, visit the conservatory in the evening on a weekend when dozens of candles are lit at sundown. The shows run until mid-January.