It’s a brisk evening in downtown Toronto. A couple of friends and I decided December 15, a mid December day, was the time to go to the Toronto Christmas Market. The second we arrived and tried to find parking, is when I realized how well-loved the Toronto Christmas Market truly is. On a Tuesday evening, it took us three rounds around the parking lot to find a spot. I was really impressed with how much parking was available considering the downtown area. At a reasonable price of $15, you can park for the entire evening.
Upon entering the Market, the first thing to catch your eyes are all the lights. A giant glowing sign greets you as you enter, immediately instilling that sense of holiday charm. My hands curl up as my childhood giddiness takes over. I have a soft spot for festive lights. The winter holiday season is basically Christmas everyday for me. But enough of this, on to the main event.
The Toronto Christmas Market is full of artisan shops that sell everything from hats, gloves, and candy to tree ornaments, China dolls, and knick-knacks. A giant Christmas tree sits in the main thoroughfare, acting as a beacon for direction as well as a selfie hotspot. I admit I’m guilty of one or two selfies. Who doesn’t want to take a selfie with a giant lit-up tree? Am I right?
Anyhow, there are plenty of opportunities for libations scattered throughout the Market. In the Distillery District, there is no shortage of representation for smaller local breweries. Mill Street Organic has at least five booths all to itself. If you’d like to get a cup of cider for $3, then you’d better plan on showing up a little early. I arrived around 7:00 p.m. and found that Brick Street Bakery, which sells cider for $3 a cup, had already sold out! You can, of course, find cider scattered throughout the various other vendors for $4 a cup.
Among other amazing baked goods, there were giant cooked turkey legs to be had for $15. I, unfortunately, didn’t have room in my belly for the turkey leg after a delicious oatmeal cookie and some macaroons from Brick Street Bakery. I got the cookie for just over a dollar and six macaroons for $6. On top of those baked goods, I also had the extreme pleasure of trying Uncle Betty’s mini donuts! Let me tell you, these donuts are the classic mini donuts of CNE’s passed. I tried the ones smothered in cinnamon sugar, my personal favourite, and the ones dusted with icing sugar. You can get half a dozen of these classic flavours for $5.25. If you want to get super fancy, they have other flavours like S’mores, Caramel Crunch, Strawberry Shortcake, Cookies & Cream, Chocolate Sauce & Sprinkles and the Canadian trademark, Maple Bacon. These more specialized flavours are a tad more expensive at $6.25 for half a dozen.
All in all, you can make it through the entire market in under an hour, but you can easily spend multiple hours browsing all the artisan goods while enjoying a nice piping hot cup of apple cider. Looking for last minute gifts for those hard-to-shop-for relatives? Why not stop by the Market and see if you can’t find something for everyone! The Market is as enchanting as it promises to be and although it was chilly, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Don’t forget to grab your free clown nose from the information centre as you enter the Market. Your kids, and maybe even your significant other will be sure to have some fun with it. The Toronto Christmas Market is going to be a regular event for me every holiday season!
The last day of the Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery Historic District is Sunday December 20. Get there while you still can! Admission on Saturdays and Sundays is $5.00 per person (including HST) and all proceeds go to charity.
Sarah Goldstein is a freelance writer and editor who likes curling up in bed with a good book and a hot cup of tea any day. She will never say no to dessert and will probably go for seconds. Her weaknesses include Adele, back tickles and fuzzy animals. Follow her at @SarahG_93 on Twitter.