7 things to see & do in Toronto for Christmas 2018
In a big city such as Toronto, there are always a million things you can do at the most wonderful time of the year. Holiday feeling starts with a 100-year old tradition, a Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade in November. Still, you are sure to be more than excited to explore the city’s ho-ho moments in December! However, if you are moving to Toronto or just planning a visit to feel the vibe of the place, things can be a little overwhelming during a busy holiday season. That’s why we put together a handy to do in Toronto for Christmas list. Use it to make this season even brighter and don’t miss out on any fun!
Visit the Toronto Christmas Market
The Toronto annual Christmas street Market starts on 16th November and ends on December 23rd at the Distillery Historic District. It’s a gathering for the whole family! Here you can find everything from crafts, artisanal food-makers, phenomenal lights display with Santa and his reindeers to a Ferris wheel and beer garden. Admission is 6$ on Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday, and free of charge from Tuesday to Friday (closed on Mondays). You can also buy an express 20$ ticket and skip the waiting line. If you’re into Christmas markets, there’s also a market at Nathans Philips square. So wherever you decide to go, markets bring out the festive fun for everyone.
Ravel in the magic of Casa Loma
North America’s only castle Casa Loma (Spanish for Hill House) is certainly on the top of the list when it comes to thing to do in Toronto for Christmas. Built in 1914 for Sir Henry Mill Pellat and now a historic landmark and a museum, Casa Loma is a place to be. It has bright passageways, stunning festive decor, and colorful holiday lights. Casa Loma is also a popular filming location that served for filming X-men, Beauty and the Beast and at some point was transformed into Hogwarts! Even if you’re staying for just one day in Toronto, be sure to pass by this magic casa around Christmas!
Enjoy the light show at Nathan Phillips Square
The one thing is sure to fire up the holiday season in Toronto: lighting up the beautiful 60-foot Christmas tree at Nathan Phillips Square. It all starts on November 24th and it is one of the best things to do in Toronto for Christmas! The Cavalcade of Lights is the annual show at the square. It includes performances by many of Canada’s top musical talent, mind-blowing fireworks and an outdoor ice rink with a DJ where you can skate under the stars – and a glow of a million Christmas lights (525,000 lights to be exact). But this 50-year-old tradition doesn’t end on one night – it lasts every night all through the Christmas season.
Discover a fascination behind the Nutcracker
Toronto’s favorite holiday tradition created in 1995 is certainly the story of the Nutcracker. With a stunning design and more than rich choreography, it tells the tale of Marie and Misha as they enter adolescence. A true Christmas gem among the things to do in Toronto for Christmas, this classic story set on Christmas Eve. It will surely warm up your hearts as you step into a dreamy world of fantasy with the Snow Queen, unicorns, Sugar Plum Fairies, rat kings, and more. With live orchestra and live children choir, Nutcracker is a family friendly performance for all ages. If you miss the tickets for the Nutcracker, check out Ballet Creole in December or Disney on ice in January.
Hitting the ice rink is the best thing to do in Toronto for Christmas
If you want to go ice skating Toronto, admission is free at Nathan Philips Square and other rinks such as those at the Gage Park. There is also the Harbourfront Centre Natrel Rink on the beautiful shoreline of Lake Ontario (for more than 30 years). At all places, you can rent out skates and helmets with change rooms and lockers. Side rink restaurants are the nicest places where you can warm up with hot chocolate. At some places, you’ll find skating parties with DJs that spin music classics. Do try not to miss the best Christmas tradition in Toronto – that is open on Christmas day as well.
Embrace the winter wonderland at the Aurora Winter Festival
This winter, the magical hidden village awaits at the Aurora Winter Festival. It promises an escape to a fantasy world with a frozen pond, Santa’s workshop (with Elves), amusement rides, a 20-feet tall and 180-feet long tube park, massive light displays, a Christmas Market, amusement rides, food gardens etc. It’s a definite must do in Toronto for Christmas (especially if you have kids). Its location is on the Ontario Place site, from 29th November to 30th December 2018. Prices of the tickets begin at 14.99$ and depend on the day. On certain days of the week, there are free tube park rides.
Savor the essence of the Flower show
The flower show is certainly not on anybody’s mind when it comes to Christmas in Toronto. Still, at the Flower Show at the Allen Gardens Conservatory, the entire conservatory is full with thousands of flowers with colorful blooms in the middle of the cold Canadian winter. On the weekend evenings, the majestic scenery gets even better, as a dozen candles are lit once the sun sets. In the spirit of the holiday, there are also topiary masterpieces. These are made completely out of plant components along with Santa slides and crisp apple cider. Fun for all ages, the admission to the conservatory is free and open until mid-January. There is also another great place, the Centennial Park Conservatory that is also decorated with over 30 varieties of poinsettia.
In the end, December in Toronto is full of festive activities. Whatever you choose to do or see around Christmas time, you won’t be wrong. You can even go to the Zoo and watch animals get their Christmas treats in the morning December 26th. On that day admission ticket are half-price and the fee goes to preserving endangered species. Of course, don’t forget to check out the lights around the city. Best places are the Toronto Music Garden, Westin Hotel, the Fire Hall, and the Tall Ship on Amsterdam Bridge. Enjoy the view!