Put on your toque (That's a hat, for you non-Canadians.), and get ready for some rosy cheeks and holiday fun: Toronto's Christmas market is soon in town. The Toronto Christmas Market is a traditional street market in the Distillery District of Toronto, a wintertime experience that wholeheartedly celebrates the magic of the season.
If you've been wondering if there really is a Santa Claus, wonder no longer; there is an additional week of festivities added on this year, for some extra gingerbread-munching fun. The 2014 Christmas Market runs from Friday, Nov. 28, through Sunday, Dec. 21.
At Toronto Christmas Market, the whimsy is palpable — Photo courtesy of Toronto Christmas Market
As breath gets frosty in the air, carolers abound to sing classic songs that will bring you back to when times were simpler. For kids in the phase of life where things are already simple, angels walk – or, shall we say, float – the cobblestone streets, enjoying a welcome break from the top of a tree.
The Victorian neighbourhood of the Distillery District is the perfect backdrop for festive nostalgia. With romantic accents and old-fashioned architecture, it feels like you have stepped onto the set of that Christmastime classic film It's A Wonderful Life.
Grab a coveted position near a fire pit, and snuggle up with a warm and toasty drink. It may be your favourite moment of the season.
You might need the panorama setting on your camera — Photo courtesy of Toronto Christmas Market
Marvel at a 45-foot white spruce tree, which sparkles in the open air with 18,000 light bulbs. A carousel and Ferris wheel make for some kid-friendly fun, but the adults will find their toy store in the heated beer and wine gardens.
Just try not to "fa, la, la, la, la" while you shop — Photo courtesy of Toronto Christmas Market
The unique atmosphere is peppered with stands that are filled with everything from crafts to Oktoberfest sausages. You can stock up on Christmas gifts, with ideal stocking stuffers that range from European chotchkies to the richest of chocolate. Come hungry, as there are many opportunities to sample.
When the nip in the air becomes a little too nippy, stop into Soma Chocolatemaker. The smell of melted chocolate will snap anyone out of the grasp of Old Man Winter.
Try a cup of their highly acclaimed drinking chocolate, which will keep you in your old-fashioned revelry, as this type of hot chocolate was popular in the 17th century. It's like drinking a chocolate bar. (We might have to start reading up on our history to predict future food trends.)
Who needs Christmas magic when there is the magic of love? — Photo courtesy of Toronto Christmas Market
Entertainment varies with the week, but you are certain to hear choirs, bells and maybe the hearty laugh of a certain man with a long white beard. If you have been subscribing to the theories of Scrooge for years, leave your "Bah! Humbug!" at home, tie a scarf around your neck and be prepared for a dose of joyous spirit.