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Toronto Holiday Events Guide 2023

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Your comprehensive guide to Toronto Holiday events, shows Christmas markets and more

TORONTO, November 24, 2023 – The holidays are very much upon us! The signs are all there as the first flakes of snow have been falling and some of the city’s iconic Christmas trees are already lit. But we all know when Santa Claus comes to town for Toronto’s “Original Santa Claus Parade” this Sunday, TO will be fully primed for another wondrous holiday season. Rest assured when it comes to getting into the festive spirit the GTA has you covered. As always in our fair city, holiday markets, festivals, light displays, concerts and more await you this holiday season.

Cavalcade of Lights & Tree Lighting

When: Saturday, Nov. 25 from 3-11 p.m. with tree lighting at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Nathan Phillips Square

Price: FREE

Gather at the square for the annual tree lighting on Saturday, Nov. 25 at 6:30 p.m. Watch City Hall and its surroundings become a winter wonderland, including the classic tree and public skating rink. You can bring your own skates or rent them onsite. 

Expect musical performances by the Toronto Chinese Orchestra, POlky, Horah Machine, Zaki Ibraim, and a dance performance by T.S.D Crew. Even more performances will take place at the Circle Stage, plus watch a skating showcase on the rink by Team Trinity featuring 2022 Olympiam Madeline Schizas.

Skating continues throughout the winter season, including a DJ Skate Party on Dec. 2 from 5-8 p.m.

Toronto Santa Claus Parade new route

Toronto Santa Claus Parade

When: Sunday, Nov. 26

Where: starts at 12:30 pm at Christie Pits, located at 750 Bloor Street West

Price: FREE

The beloved Original Santa Claus Parade is back with a new route this year. It will begin at Christie Pits and continue east along Bloor Street to Spadina Avenue, then continue south on Spadina Avenue, east on Harbord Street and Hoskin Avenue, then south on Queens Park Crescent and University Avenue, east on Wellington Street, and south again on Yonge Street to Front Street. From there, the Parade will head east on Front Street and finish at the St. Lawrence Market at Jarvis Street.  

It is anticipated that the Parade will attract up to 750,000 guests along its route, taking approximately 2.5 hours to complete. It will feature a stunning array of 26 diverse, beautifully decorated floats, lively bands, spirited marchers, and Celebrity Clowns, plus a brand-new float starring Mrs. Claus leading the North Pole’s command centre, and more.

Read more about the parade.

Ferrero Rocher® Light Up Your Holidays pop-up

When: November 25-26 and December 2-3

Where: Nathan Phillips Square

Price: Free

This holiday season, Ferrero Rocher is encouraging Canadians across the country to Light Up the Holidays with family, friends, and community. Ferrero Rocher® will be in Toronto at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto at the Cavalcade of Lights on November 25-26, and December 2-3, 2023.

Stop by with your loved ones, snap a photo, and enjoy a free sample as you Light Up Your Holidays with Ferrero Rocher®. You can also enter their holiday contest from anywhere in Canada, for a chance to win one of 50 Ferrero Rocher® 96-piece Milk Chocolate Pyramid to enjoy with friends and family this holiday season.

Mississauga Festival of Trees

When: Dec. 8-17, various times

Where: Small Arms Building

Price: Pay-what-you-can

For the 3rd year in a row, Mississauga’s Small Arms Building will transform for the holidays with art, food and fun activities. Catch the opening night ceremony on Dec. 8, or one of the many markets throughout December offering handcrafted, locally made goods, plus festive holiday eats and drinks. 

Incredible art installations and canopies of lights will be on display throughout the entire Festival. Read even more about the event.

Evergreen Brickworks Winter Market

When: Dec. 10 and 17 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Where: Evergreen Brickworks

Price: Pay-what-you-can

Joined by the Ontario Artisan Market and Ontario Vintage Market, this festive shopping experience brings together over 40 vendors, local artists, makers and Artisans. Shop for handmade products including vintage clothing, jewellry, candles, records, handmade cards and art.

There will also be a food court and food trucks, skating, children’s activities, Weekend Nature Play, live performances and more.

Christmas at the Castle & Holiday Lights at Casa Loma

When: Dec. 1 – Jan. 6

Where: Casa Loma

Price: $45 & up

Check out Casa Loma’s annual Christmas events this holiday season. The indoor castle walkthrough is full of holiday décor, including a 40ft tall tree in the Great Hall and eight other signature trees by talented Canadian designers. You can also visit Santa in his castle workshop and participate in festive arts and crafts, visit with wintery holiday mascots, and more.

Or, step into the gardens and tunnels on the castle grounds and look at all the festive light displays, decor and live performances in the Holiday Lights Tour. You can also attend both events by upgrading to a dual package at checkout.

Read more about both events.

Buy tickets.

THE ANDY KIM CHRISTMAS RETURNS TO TORONTO’S MASSEY HALL DECEMBER 6

The Andy Kim Christmas

When: Wednesday, Dec. 6

Where: Massey Hall

Price: $36 & up

With performances from iconic Canadian artists, this year’s show marks the 19th year that luminary musician and Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee, Andy Kim will bring together some of the nation’s most applauded talent for a night of intimate performances, with all event proceeds donated to CAMH’s Gifts of Light.  

The complete line up of musical guests taking the stage will be announced in the coming weeks. Buy tickets.

The Distillery Winter Village

When: through Jan. 7; Sunday – Thursday from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m, Saturday from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Where: Distillery District

Price: FREE or $15 & up (tickets required after 4 p.m. Fridays-Sundays and Dec. 18-31)

The Distillery Winter Village brings together 65+ local merchants, restaurants and cafés, live entertainment, christmas carols, heated patios, lights and more in one of the oldest and most charming parts of Toronto. Tickets must be purchased in advance, no ticket sales on site. Buy tickets.

Winter Wonderland Spectacular at The Distillery District

When: Nov. 24 – Jan. 7

Where: Distillery District

Price: $35 & up

Be transported into a winter wonderland castle filled with state-of-the-art interactive technology and an ever-changing dreamland of nutcrackers, jingle bells and candy canes. From Santa’s luxurious winter palace to whirling snowstorms and glowing Northern Lights, Winter Wonderland Spectacular is a place of beauty, magic and wonder.

Expect a Holiday Themed Spectacular, 360 Degree Immersive Show, Santa or Mrs.Klaus Photo Opportunities and a Free Hot Cocoa Station. Bundle options are available for those also looking to explore the Distillery Winter Village.

Read more about the immersive experience. Buy tickets.

Union Winter Roller Express

When: Dec. 1 – Feb. 4

Where: Union Station TD West Carriageway

Price: FREE

This new 5,500 sqft skating surface is free for all, featuring a skating trail that leads into the carriageway tunnel, animated with lights for a fun retro vibe. Get free skate lessons, jam to Union Beats DJ skate nights on Fridays, check out exclusive Beats & Boogie 19+ Skate nights, immersive activities and activations provided by AriZona and tasty eats and drink options at the Snack Bar courtesy of Amano, Union Chicken and Wvrst.

WinterFest returns to Canada's Wonderland

Winterfest at Canada’s Wonderland

When: Select dates from Nov. 17 – Jan. 6

Where: Canada’s Wonderland

Price: Tickets start at $34.99

Winterfest is an immersive holiday experience for the whole family, including ice-skating on Snow Flake Lake, live shows and holiday entertainment, spectacular lights, seasonal shopping, and hundreds of beautiful Christmas trees throughout the park, including two 50-foot Christmas trees on International Street. Click here for the event calendar and hours.

Home Alone in Concert

When: Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Roy Thomson Hall

Price: Tickets start at $55

Watch Kevin Mcallister get up to no good in the holiday classic, Home Alone, again this year at Roy Thomson Hall. This beloved film features renowned composer John Williams’ score performed live to picture by TSO.

TSO encourages guests to bring a new, unwrapped toy to the performance to brighten the holidays for children in need. Buy tickets.

TSO Christmas

TSO Holiday Pops 

When: Dec. 11-13

Where: Roy Thomson Hall

Price: Tickets start at $77

A musical celebration for all ages, TSO Holiday Pops features holiday favourites and timeless classics for an evening of festive fun. Toronto Symphony Orchestra Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke will be joined by Canadian jazz vocalist Molly Johnson and the Etobicoke School of the Arts Holiday Chorus.  

TSO encourages guests to bring a new, unwrapped toy to the performance to brighten the holidays for children in need. Buy tickets.

The Nutcracker Ballet

When: Dec. 8-30

Where: Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts

Price: Tickets start at $59

The Nutcracker is a holiday season must-see, especially when The National Ballet of Canada has one of the finest versions in James Kudelka’s staging from 1995, which opens at a Christmas Eve party in rural 19th-century Russia. See Marius Petipa’s beloved classic this December at the Four Seasons, but plan ahead as tickets sell out pretty quick.

Buy tickets.

Holiday Fair in the Square

When: Dec. 1-23

Where: Mel Lastman Square

Price: FREE

North York’s winter wonderland opens this December, including an artisan market, hot chocolate bar, fireside lounge, food trucks, live entertainment, ride, games, and of course, Santa Claus. 

Visit Tuesday to Thursday from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m., Friday to Saturday –from 12 p.m. – 10 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. – 9 p.m. On December 23, visit from 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Holiday Hills at Stackt

When: Through Dec. 31

Where: Stackt Market

Price: FREE

More than just a market, Holiday Hills is a festive occasion for everyone to enjoy, with Disco Mistletoe, a Speakeasy Whiskey Bar, a 120-ft tunnel of lights with city views, a 40-ft Wish Wall for all of your holiday hopes, outdoor curling lanes with warming huts, a 20-ft tree, the Fizz & Fire patio with s’mores kits and a buzzing champagne bar, a taco bar with seasonal offerings from Kong’s Hot Tacos, baos from Baobird, weekly free live music nights, Family Funday Sundays, vendor markets, and community led events. 

If that’s not enough, it is still a market, with numerous one-of-a-kind holiday shopping pop-ups.

CF Holiday Market

When: Through Dec. 23; Thursdays-Sundays

Where: Sherway Gardens, entrance 6 near Zara

Price: FREE

Shop for unique holiday gifts at 15 local merchants offering personalized ornaments, flower arrangements, apparel, beauty products, culinary delights, gift baskets and more. Plus, enjoy gift wrapping, photo-worthy holiday decor and entertainment with visits from Mrs. Claus, live holiday music and a fun station where kids can write and mail letters to Santa.  

by Daisy Lankstead

Other articles from totimes.ca – otttimes.ca – mtltimes.ca

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