I’ll be the first to admit that going outdoors in the winter isn’t usually my thing – the bulky coats, heavy boots and overall wetness just don’t do it for me. However, when there are so many festive things going on in your city, the trek outdoors ends up being worth it. With a decorated tree or a string of twinkling lights everywhere you turn, Toronto really knows how to get festive! Solo, date-night, or family plan: here’s everything you need to add to your holiday schedule this year.
1. Union Winter presented by TD (Nov. 28 – Jan. 29; closed Dec. 25 – Dec. 26)
Location: Union Station – 65 Front St West
Whether you’re a figure skating pro or want to experience hopping on the ice for the first time, this rink welcomes all levels of skaters for a fun night in the heart of downtown (with an iconic view of the CN Tower). Skate rentals are available on-site, and on Fridays and Saturdays you can catch a DJ on-site, too. If you’re able to plan ahead, register for a skating slot in advance to secure guaranteed entry.
@slicedotca time to channel your inner figure skater ⛸#unionwinter #todotoronto #torontoholidays #torontoskating #unionstation #holidaydateideas ♬ December – Onika🎧
2. The Distillery District Winter Village (Nov. 17 – Dec. 31)
Location: 55 Mill St
Cost: $11 Friday–Sunday after 4pm for everyone ages 9+, free at other times
Holidays in the city are never complete without a trip to the Winter Village – at the very least, for a photo with the tree! Sponsored by Dior this year, you can be sure to see the village looking extra-sparkly this year. In addition to the 65+ local shops/restaurants already located in the Distillery District, there are numerous vendors set up outdoors for you do to a little holiday shopping while sipping on a hot chocolate.
3. Festive at Fairmont Royal York (Nov. 16 – Jan. 2)
Location: 100 Front St. W
Cost: Varies – see site for details
Want to live out your festive, holiday hotel dreams this season? The Fairmont has got it all going on. This year, take a stroll through the Royal Gingerbread Lane (with real gingerbread!), snap a photo with the Christmas tree and then stop by the Thirsty Elf, a holiday themed pop-up, for a festive cocktail (open until Dec. 17).
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4. Holiday Hills at Stackt Market (Nov. 18 – Dec. 31)
Location: 28 Bathurst St
This Toronto outdoor-shopping staple is getting festive this year with six weeks of holiday fun. This festival will take over the whole city block with unique experiences, fun photo ops, community events and of course, tons of small businesses to browse from. The best part is the Ferris wheel — you’ll love to view of the city from up there.
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5. WinterFest at Canada’s Wonderland (Nov. 18 – Dec. 31)
Location: 1 Canada’s Wonderland Dr.
Cost: Starting at $29.99
A regular visit to Wonderland is always fun, which is why it’s only expected that a holiday experience in this park is going to be a blast. The park has been turned into a Winter Wonderland with something for the whole family. Visitors can take part in a quick skate on Snow Flake Lake, enjoy one of the live holiday shows, decorate your own cookies, and walk along the pathways to admire the millions of lights across the park.
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6. Fleurs de Villes NÖEL (Dec. 7 – 11)
Location: Pacific Place, Bloor-Yorkville
For the first time, the annual Fleurs de Villes pop-up will be holding a holiday show. Guests are welcomed to participate in a self-guided tour to browse the 30+ unique floral installations throughout the neighbourhood, shop local florists and enjoy floral cocktails. Bloor Yorkville is also known for being one of the most decked out neighbourhoods in Toronto during the holiday season, so a day or night spent wandering through this area makes for the perfect date night or solo adventure.
7. Glow Toronto (Nov. 30 – Dec. 31)
Location: 1020 Martin Grove Rd. (Toronto Congress Centre, North Building)
Cost: General starting at $30
An indoor Christmas festival? Count me in. From light shows and one-of-a-kind food vendors, to live entertainment, there’s something here for every age to enjoy. The most exciting thing about this festival is the “Around the World” light display that transports you through six countries with light-up displays of famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Taj Mahal – it’s like the next best thing to going on vacation without leaving the GTA.