As I make my way along the cobblestone pathways, I feel as if I’ve been transported somewhere else. Lights twinkle overhead in a spider-web like pattern, there’s a sweetness in the air that I can almost taste, the sounds of carolers bounces between the old brick buildings, and there’s the unmistakable smell of firewood burning somewhere in the vicinity. I soak it all in and remark that it’s finally starting to feel like Christmas.
For the past 3 years, I haven’t really celebrated Christmas. Two years were spent in South Korea where Christmas isn’t exactly observed, and last year I was donning shorts, a t-shirt, and a Santa hat on the beaches of Thailand doing everything opposite I’d normally do. So, you’d think being back with family and friends, and surrounded by holiday cheer everywhere I go, I would naturally be extra excited for the holidays this year…
Nope. I actually haven’t been feeling very festive at all.
That was until I reconnected with the holidays at the Lowe’s Toronto Christmas Market in the city’s historic Distillery District.
Modeled after the Christmas markets made famous in Germany, the Distillery District was transformed into an outdoor emporium. Little wooden cabins lined the lane ways selling all sorts of things. Food choices ranged from sausages and poutine, to chocolate covered bacon and maple fudge. There were also a number of booths selling festive handcrafts, so if you wanted to get some Christmas shopping in, this was the place to get something out of the ordinary.
A giant, 45-foot White Spruce tree marked the center of all the action; along with a stage for live musical performances. I noticed what a great event this was for the whole family. Children danced in the streets with Elf-costumed individuals, while parents watched on enthusiastically. And if that didn’t satisfy the kiddies enough, there was a large ferries wheel, a merry-go-round, and train and pony rides for them to enjoy as well.
A large section of the district had been made into an adult’s playground as well, with outdoor patios serving up craft beers and mulled wine, alongside gas heaters and wood-burning fire pits. Tristan and I decided to take full advantage of the Mill St. Brewery patio and nuzzled up to the flaming heaters with a beer in hand.
We arrived around 5pm and by 6pm the place was rocking. We met up with a couple more friends, grabbed another beer, and continued wandering around the area before settling in for some dinner.
The overall festive feeling was infectious and I didn’t really mind the crowds at all. I even found myself humming along to the Christmas music being played throughout the event. With the crispness in the air, the sounds of children laughing nearby, and the company of amazing friends, I was starting to get that excited feeling about the holidays I fondly remember as a kid.
For a visual overview of the Toronto Christmas Market, check out the promotional video below:
What you need to know: The Toronto Christmas Market is free to attend. It runs now through until December 16th. It’s open Monday – Friday: noon till 9pm and Saturday & Sunday: 10am till 9pm. There is $20 valet parking available on-site, or to save costs, take the TTC. Click here for public transit and driving directions.