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Toronto Holiday Happenings and Events Guide

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Holiday inspired events, shows, Christmas markets and concerts happening in Toronto

‘Tis the season to have fun and be merry! After last year’s holiday at home, we are grateful to see the return of in-person events in Toronto, from concerts to magical light-filled experiences. Here are some of the many events to look forward to this holiday season.

Festive Fun

WinterFest returns to Canada's Wonderland

WinterFest

This November, Canada’s Wonderland will once again transform into a magical, winter wonderland for WinterFest – an immersive holiday experience for the whole family.

Located just north of Toronto in the City of Vaughan, and running select dates from Nov. 13 to Dec. 31, 2021, this event features ice-skating on Snow Flake Lake, more than a dozen live shows and holiday entertainment, millions of spectacular lights, themed areas and hundreds of beautiful Christmas trees throughout the park, including two 50-foot Christmas trees on International Street. Visit the WinterFest event page for more information on the 2021 event, or our attractions page to see all that’s in store! 

Tickets are on sale now. Admission to WinterFest is included for GOLD and Platinum passholders, but reservations are still required for all guests.

2019 Toronto Santa Claus parade photo by Stephen Uhraney

Santa Claus Parade

As a long-standing tradition since 1905, the Santa Claus Parade will be happening again this year as a broadcast-only event on CTV & CTV2. On Saturday, December 4th at 7pm ET / PT, experience the magic from the comfort of your home with over-the-top floats, magical characters, and special performances by some amazing Canadian artists! You can still purchase tickets for their famous 50/50 raffle right here.

See the parade’s event page for more details.

Coca Cola Holiday Truck Tour

For the first time in Canada, Santa will be trading in his sleigh for an iconic red Coca-Cola Canada Holiday Truck, travelling from coast-to-coast and delivering seasonal joy and optimism. The Holiday Truck Tour is expected to pass through over 100 communities, safely bringing Canadians together and featuring some holiday magic and the big guy himself. 

The Tour kicked-off with its first stop in St. John’s, Newfoundland on November 13th and the last stop will be in Victoria, British Columbia by mid-December. Catch the tour at Ripley’s Aquarium on November 27th, or at the Toronto Zoo on November 28th. Visit the tour’s event page for more details.

Cavalcade of Lights, 2019, City of Toronto

Toronto Cavalcade of Lights

The City of Toronto will once again share the magic of the holiday season with the Cavalcade of Lights 2021 and it all kicks off on Saturday, November 27, 2021. This year’s event will differ from previous years, as it will run for an entire month until January 2. Also, to encourage physical distancing, there will be no fireworks display. Visitors can still look forward to the formal Christmas tree of Toronto, ice skating, and more festive events beginning November 27.

Taking inspiration from light festivals and cultural celebrations around the world, Cavalcade of Lights will include elements from a variety of traditions for its new, enhanced lighting installations. As part of this year’s month-long celebration, the public can also explore tunnels made from thousands of energy-efficient bulbs, discover glowing ice sculptures in an enchanted forest (weather dependent) and a luminous lantern garden.

Along with the official tree lighting, Cavalcade of Lights kicks off with a special opening day and evening of pop-up performances around the Square and on the ice.

As always, events are held in Nathan Phillips Square, free admission.

DriveThru Fun Co. presents Snow Magic, a unique, wonder-filled event at Ontario Place featuring 1.7 km of enchanting drive-thru fun from November 12th to January 16th.

Snow Magic

DriveThru Fun Co. presents Snow Magic, a unique, wonder-filled event at Ontario Place featuring 1.7 km of enchanting drive-thru fun. From November 12th to January 16th, visitors can expect 18 fantastical artworks including epic creatures, caverns, sights and lights, from the comfort of their vehicle. There is even a Snow Magic Card Game to play along the journey for a chance to win great prizes!

Experience the adventure from Wednesdays to Sundays in November, and 7 days a week in December and January.

Tickets are available per vehicle from $45 plus tax. $1 of every purchase will support the SickKids foundation.

Polar Winter Festival is a winter wonderland of dreams running from November 25th to December 26th, Toronto’s Bandshell Park in Exhibition Grounds.

Polar Winter Festival

From November 25th to December 26th, Toronto’s Bandshell Park in Exhibition Grounds will transform into a winter wonderland of dreams! This magical outdoor walk-through experience has evolved from a drive-through experience at Pearson Airport last year to an enchanting self-guided tour with highlights such as giant teddy bears at Santa’s Toy Shop, tunnels of starry lights, rides, and food trucks. There are tons of festive photo opportunities, perfect for a holiday night out with family and friends. 

Festival grounds are open from 5 pm to 11 pm, Wednesday to Sunday. All attendees must have a ticket, and tickets must be purchased in advance.

Holiday Shows

Andy Kim Christmas Concert

For the last 17 years, Andy Kim has been gathering friends and fans together for the Andy Kim Christmas Show to celebrate the spirit and generosity of the musical community with all proceeds going to CAMH Gifts of Light. 

This year’s show will take place at Toronto’s Massey Hall, on December 8th at 8pm. The 2021 lineup includes special guests: Billy Talent, The Sheepdogs, Ron Sexsmith, Alex Lifeson, Jully Black, Tyler Shaw, Sloan, William Prince, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Jake Clemons, Men Without Hats, Pursuit of Happiness, Theo Tams, Beverly Mahood, Georgia Harmer and Choir, Choir, Choir. 

Tickets are available at MasseyHall.com

Tickets (incl. HST) $37.50 – $97.50 (plus service charges)

All Ages / Reserved Seating

The Tenors

JUNO Award-winning and multi-platinum selling vocal group The Tenors are returning to the stage this holiday season with their Santa’s Wish tour presented by Live Nation and sponsored by WestJet. The Tenors will perform holiday hits in the spirit of the season on December 22nd and 23rd in Toronto, ON at the newly renovated Massey Hall. Joining them on the tour is multi-platinum selling, JUNO Award nominated recording artist Tyler Shaw. Tyler Shaw and The Tenors will perform their newly-released holiday single, “O Holy Night.”

Tickets are available at MasseyHall.com

Tickets (incl. HST) $54.19 – $119.29 (plus service charges)

All Ages / Reserved Seating

TSO Christmas

TSO Holiday Pops

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra returns with guest Canadian Broadway singer Ryan Silverman for TSO Holiday Pops. Ancient yuletide carols, other holiday favourites, and an audience sing-along are all a part of this annual tradition once again. Experience this Canadian classic from December 7th to 9th at 8 pm at Roy Thomson Hall. The performances on December 7 & 8 will be conducted by TSO Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke. The performance on December 9 will be conducted by Lucas Waldin.

Tickets are available at TSO.ca

Tickets (incl. HST) $62 – $138 (plus service charges)

All Ages / Reserved Seating

Catch this holiday family favourite featuring renowned composer John Williams’s charming and delightful score performed live to picture by the TSO on Friday, December 3rd at 7:30pm or Saturday, December 4th at 2pm & 7:30pm at Roy Thomson Hall.

Home Alone in Concert

This beloved holiday favourite features renowned composer John Williams’s charming and delightful score performed live to picture by the TSO. Macaulay Culkin stars as Kevin McCallister, an 8-year-old boy who’s accidentally left behind when his family leaves for Christmas vacation, and who must defend his home against two bungling thieves (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern). Also starring John Candy and Canadian actress Catherine O’Hara, and nominated for Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song (“Somewhere in My Memory”), Home Alone is hilarious and heart-warming fun for the entire family!

Catch this holiday family favourite on Friday, December 3rd at 7:30pm or Saturday, December 4th at 2pm & 7:30pm at Roy Thomson Hall. The concert is approximately 106 minutes long and does not include an intermission.

Tickets are available at TSO.ca

Tickets (incl. HST) $61 – $141 (plus service charges)

All Ages / Reserved Seating

Candlelight Holiday Special

Enjoy your favourite holiday tunes in a new way this season: surrounded by candlelight. Fever’s Candlelight: Holiday Special runs select nights at both 6:30 pm and 8:45 pm from December 17th to 22nd at the historic Metropolitan Community Church. Listeso String Quartet will perform songs such as “The First Noël,” “Deck The Halls,” and “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” with vocal and piano accompaniment. This 60-minute show is both simple and festive, perfect for a relaxing night out. 

Tickets are available at FeverUp.com

Tickets (incl. HST) $30 – $60 (plus service charges)

All Ages / Reserved Seating

The Nutcracker Ballet

Every Tuesday to Sunday evening (and Sunday matinee) until December 31st, this classic show takes the stage at Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre. The National Ballet of Canada has one of the finest versions in James Kudelka’s 1995 staging which opens at a Christmas Eve party in rural 19th century Russia. With non-stop dancing and magnificent sets and costumes designed by Santo Loquasto, The Nutcracker is an unforgettable tribute to the imagination.

Tickets are available at The National Ballet of Canada

Tickets (incl. HST) $25 – $180 (plus service charges)

All Ages / Reserved Seating

Markets

Toronto Christmas Market has been re-branded this year to The Distillery Winter Village and it opens November 18, 2021

The Distillery Winter Village

The beloved Toronto Christmas Market is back on November 18th at 6 pm in the historic Distillery District with its traditional tree lighting kickoff. Some traditions are changing, however, as the festival is rebranding from the Toronto Christmas Market to The Distillery Winter Village. After last season’s hiatus, the festival organizers have taken a more modern approach and visitors can expect a new-and-improved experience, along with the market’s classic charm.

With over 75 retailers and restaurants, free gift wrapping from December 1st to 23rd, tons of live entertainment, and of course, twinkly lights, this year’s new experience will not disappoint.

Tickets are required for the tree lighting event on November 18th after 4:00 pm, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays after 4:00 pm, and between December 20th – December 23rd after 4:00 pm. Tickets are $8 each (age 6 years and up). All other times, access is free of charge and tickets are not required.

Scarborough Town Centre’s Holiday Street Market is back this year for more festive family fun every weekend in December.

Holiday Street Market

Scarborough Town Centre’s Holiday Street Market is back this year for more festive family fun every weekend in December. Known for its many food trucks, visitors can taste the holidays with flavours from across the world. Other attractions include an artisan village for Christmas shopping, unlimited rides for the kiddos, live entertainment, and their must-see ‘walk-in tree’, where visitors can walk inside the tree and take photos amidst the hundreds of christmas lights. 

Parking is free, and there is no time limit for visitors. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

Adults (18+) – $20 (plus taxes and fees)

Youth (2-17) – $15 (plus taxes and fees)

Children (under 2) – FREE

One of a Kind Show

The One of a Kind Show (OOAK) brings together the country’s most talented makers so you can shop and discover the best Canadian-Made gifts this holiday season. Back again with 400 exhibitors, 30+ product categories, and 4 shopping neighbourhoods, OOAK will run from November 25 to December 5 at the Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place. 

One Of A Kind and Foodiepages are coming together to offer you limited edition, curated gift boxes. Enter their giveaway to win a “Let’s Get Festive” box (valued at $150!), which celebrates Canadian-made small business brands. Check out their other giveaways to win free admission and more.

Support local businesses and purchase tickets here.

$15 – Adults (18+)

$8.50- Senior (65+)

$8.50 – Kids & Youth (5-17)

$10.00 – University/College Student (With valid student ID)

$10.00 -Speed Shopping (7pm-9pm Monday to Saturday only)

$27.00 – GO Transit & One Of A Kind combined ticket

Free – 5 and under; Children must be accompanied by an adult

From from December 1st to 23rd, Holiday Hills takes over stackt market, featuring live musical entertainment, three separate weekend vendor markets, eight interactive holiday-themed workshops, magical light installations, a daily crokicurl tournament and more. photo by Stephen Uhraney

Holiday Hills at stackt

Stackt market located on Bathurst near Front Street, presents Holiday Hills for a third year, from November 23 – December 31. Holiday Hills will be a full takeover of stackt market, featuring live musical entertainment, three separate weekend vendor markets, eight interactive holiday-themed workshops, magical light installations, a daily crokicurl tournament from December 1st to 23rd, a drag brunch, culinary specials, and neighbourhood block parties. Stackt will also introduce their new rooftop patio, which will be transformed into a moody speakeasy with clear CN tower views.

stackt market is located at 28 Bathurst St. Toronto, ON M5V 0R4

Admission to Holiday Hills is free and opens at 11 am every day.

Toronto Zoo Holiday Marketplace showcases 18 local artisans and producers a day and runs from November 19 – December 23 Friday through Sunday until December 19 and on December 20, 21, 22 & 23 from 2:00pm to 8:00pm.

Toronto Zoo Holiday Marketplace

Discover the magic of the holiday season this winter with a visit to the Toronto Zoo’s second Holiday Marketplace beginning on November 19. The Toronto Zoo’s front and Indo-Malayan courtyards have been transformed into a magical holiday marketplace, showcasing over 90 amazing artisans, processors, and producers from our local and surrounding communities (18 per day).

Toronto Zoo Holiday Marketplace Opening Day

Support local while enjoying holiday-inspired food and drink, festive décor, and photo opportunities, including our giant Holiday Tree! Friday through Sunday until December 19 and on December 20, 21, 22 & 23 join us from 2:00pm to 8:00pm to celebrate the magic of the holidays while supporting local businesses, your community and your Toronto Zoo.

There are also some food trucks set up for your convenience at the entrance to both the Holiday marketplace and Terra Lumina experience.

Holiday Marketplace tickets are $5.50 per person, OR admission is free with either regular Zoo admission and with tickets to their incredibly cool Terra Lumina experience.

Celebrate the holidays Scandinavian-style at the Niemi Family Farm, located not far from Toronto, just East of Newmarket. Visit the farm between 11 am and 7 pm Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays from November 11th to December 22nd. Tickets are available at Niemifamilyfarm.ca

Outdoor Christmas Market on the Farm

Celebrate the holidays Scandinavian-style at the Niemi Family Farm, located not far from Toronto, just East of Newmarket. Purchase locally-made crafts and premium Ontario-grown Christmas trees, taste some traditional Finnish treats, meet Santa, drink some hot cocoa and be merry! With tons of activities for children, farm animals, and many photo opportunities, this special Christmas market is perfect for a festive family day out. Looking to make lasting memories? Book a special session with a professional photographer.

Visit the farm between 11 am and 7 pm Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays from November 11th to December 22nd. Tickets are available at Niemifamilyfarm.ca

Ages 2+: $14.99

Ages 2 and under: FREE

by Daisy Lankstead

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