I’m not the girl that gets all gitty about Christmas before December first. It seems that every year the talk of Christmas decorating and shopping starts earlier than the last. Where do we draw the line? Don’t we need a bit of breathing room between Halloween and Christmas? But I digress. I must admit that there are two things that put me in the holiday spirit and make my Grinch heart grow three sizes. First, hearing George Michael’s Last Christmas on the radio; Second, first day of Lowe’s Toronto Christmas Market in Toronto’s Distillery District.
I first discovered the European Christmas inspired market a few years ago while attending an event at one of the restaurants in The Distillery District. Now in it’s fourth year, the two-week-long event is becoming Toronto’s Christmas tradition and a must-attend event of the season. The market glows with canopies of glittering lights, antique gas lamps draped in garlands, not to mention the 20,000 lights illuminating the towering tree. Wondering around the market feels a lot like being in a small, European town with artists and artisans showcasing unique and local handcrafted products, musicians and carollers entertaining the crowds, and plenty of food and beverages around to keep the energy up.
This year, you’re guaranteed to get into the Christmas spirit with this line up of music and entertainment. The Main Stage will have everyone bopping along, and maybe even singing along, with 170 different programs including concerts, Bavarian brass bands, trumpets, organists, children’s choirs and carollers. There will even be storytellers primed with Grimm’s fables to entertain and enchant the little ones.
While walking around the grounds, you will find contemporary art installations interpreting seasonal motifs. Just as any other day of the year, you’ll be able to brows the permanent boutiques, but the streets will also host traditional European-style huts brimming with varieties of international delicacies and one-of-a-kind items that reflect the cultural diversity of Toronto’s residents. Who knows, you might even find a few great stocking stuffers or Secret Santa gifts.
All that walking around and fresh air is guaranteed to make you hungry. That’s not a problem because you’ll be able to feast on delicious Swiss schnitzels, fluffy Belgian waffles and tasty German pretzels. And if that’s not enough, there’s also Oktoberfest sausages, Italian meatballs, cheese-oozing poutine, and thick sourdough bread grill-cheese. If you happen to leave room for dessert, there are many mouth-watering marzipan and chocolate dipped treats to choose from. Of course if wouldn’t be a European Market without a pint of beer or spiced wine. There will be many areas for visitors to lounge and enjoy an authentic holiday beverage including many varieties of beer, mulled wine, hot rum beverages, European Christmas cocktails and much more.
If the Christmas spirit moves you and you decide to start the holiday decorating right there and than, you can even pick up everything from ornaments to wreaths and even a tree from the Trees of Ontario booth. You might also be happy to know that in true holiday spirit of giving back, the purchase will support future plantings of ten million trees for the greening of our ecology.
If you’re planning to attend with your little ones, Santa will be around to listen to all the wishes. But the fun doesn’t stop there. The life-size gingerbread house will surely impress the kids, as well as Santa’s Workshop, where they can make ornaments, stocking stuffers and play games.
The Distillery Historic District is full of character and charm in any season, but when the twinkle of christmas lights hover over Trinity Street and the streets are lined with garlands and holiday arrangements, you tend to forget you’re in Toronto. Suddenly you’re transported to another time and a different place in the world.
Photo Source: Toronto Christmas Market