Christmas season in Toronto is the most magical time of the year for families. Everyone is in the mood for celebrating and there are many fun festive events taking place over the coming weeks. Here's the ultimate guide for things to do in Toronto Christmas 2017 - a list of family-friendly events and activities in the city of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (the "GTA") for the 2017/18 holiday season.
The Toronto Santa Claus Parade
The Toronto Santa Claus Parade kicks off the city's holiday celebration in mid-November when thousands of people line the streets along the route for the annual running of the parade that has become a Toronto Christmas tradition. Can't make it to the parade? It airs on television Sunday, November 19th, at 4:30pm ET/PT on CTV, and 5:30pm AT on CTV Atlantic and on CTV GO.
Where: Starts at Christie Pits and ends at the St. Lawrence Market
When: Sunday November 19th, 2017 12:30pm (parade takes approximately 2.5 hours to pass)
More Info: www.thesantaclausparade.ca
Santa Claus Parades in the GTA
Smaller parades in other communities in the GTA include:
- Santa's Parade of Lights, Oshawa, Saturday November 18, 2017 6:00pm
- Santa Claus Parade, Pickering, Saturday November 25, 2017 10:00am - 12:00pm
- Ajax Santa Claus Parade, Saturday November 25, 2017 6:00pm
- Santa Claus Parade, Whitby, Saturday December 2, 2017 10:00am
- Milton Santa Claus Parade, theme is 150 Years of Christmas, Sunday November 19, 2017 1:30pm
- Santa Claus Parade, Oakville, Saturday November 18, 2017 9:00am
- Burlington Christmas Parade, Sunday December 3, 2017 2:00pm
- Brampton Santa Claus Parade, Saturday November 18, 2017 5:00pm
- Newmarket Santa Claus Parade, Saturday November 18, 2017 11:00am
- Santa Claus Parade, Richmond Hill, Saturday November 18, 2017 6:00pm
- Markham 45th Annual Santa Claus Parade, Saturday November 25, 2017, 11:00am
- Unionville's Olde Tyme Christmas Candlelight Parade, Friday December 1, 2017 7:00pm
For a complete listing of Santa Claus Parades in the GTA refer to www.ToDoCanada.com
Santa at the Eaton Centre
Enjoy the decorations at the mall during the Christmas season and while there visit Santa in his log cabin workshop in Trinity Square Park. The experience will be 20 - 30 minutes which includes a story with Santa as well as time for children to interact with the jolly old elf. Photos are to be taken by a parent or guardian. Reservations may also be made for visits with Sensitive Santa. Sensitive Santa provides a sensory friendly environment with lower lighting and quieter surroundings for children with Autism. Visits with Santa are by reservation only and numbers are limited so book as soon as possible. Tickets are $10 and all proceeds will be donated to Eva's Initiatives and Autism Speaks Canada.
Where: Eaton Centre, Trinity Square Park, at the North end of Level Three
When: Saturday November 18, 2017 - Sunday December 24, 2017
More Info: CF Toronto Eaton Centre
Santa Experience at Sherway Gardens
Avoid waiting in long line-ups with young children by registering in advance for the interactive Santa Experience at Sherway Gardens. Each session is approximately 45 minutes long including photos with Santa. Each ticket is $15 and and a portion of the proceeds is donated to charity. Reservations may also be made for visits with Sensitive Santa. Sensitive Santa provides a sensory friendly environment with lower lighting and quieter surroundings for children with Autism. Numbers are limited so book as soon as possible.
Where: Sherway Gardens - Centre Court, 25 The West Mall, Etobicoke (QEW and 427)
When: Saturday November 18, 2017 - Sunday December 24, 2017
More Info: CF Sherway Gardens
Mariposa Cruises Santa Brunch Cruise
Families can join Santa for a 2 hour cruise through the winter wonderland of the Toronto Harbour aboard Mariposa Cruises' Northern Spirit which includes a delicious buffet brunch, a complimentary family photo with Santa Claus and on-board activities for kids.
Where: Mariposa Cruises, 207 Queen’s Quay West at intersection of York Street and Queen’s Quay West, Toronto
When: Sunday December 10, 2017, 12:00-2:00pm
More Info: www.mariposacruises.com
The National Ballet of Canada - The Nutcracker
James Kudelka's stunning version of Tchaikovsky's holiday classic The Nutcracker has been performed by The National Ballet of Canada since 1995. If you are taking children to the ballet for the first time then plan to arrive early for Nutcracker Story Time which takes place 45 minutes before each performance. Nutcracker Story Time is an interactive telling of the magical story which will help children better understand the performance they are attending and enhance their experience. Prices vary by performance - discounted children's tickets and Holiday 4 Packs are available for most performances.
Where: Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen Street West, Toronto
When: December 9-30, 2017
More Info: www.national.ballet.ca
Ross Petty Pantomime
One of my family's favourite holiday traditions was attending a performance of the annual pantomime staged by Ross Petty Productions at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto. This year marks the 22nd annual panto - the world premiere of a brand new title….A CHRISTMAS CAROL, The Family Musical with a SCROOGE LOOSE. Pantos are fun for the whole family - children love the audience participation where they can cheer on the heroes and boo the villains and parents love the jokes and adlibs!
Where: The Elgin Theatre, 189 Yonge Street, Toronto
When: November 24 - December 31
More Info: www.rosspetty.com
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra - Handel's Messiah
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra will perform the must-see classic, Handel's Messiah, at Roy Thomson Hall this holiday season. There will be only 5 performances and seats are limited, so book early! Concert running time is approximately 2.5 hours including a 20-minute intermission.
Where: Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe Street, Toronto
When: December 18, 19, 20 and 22 at 8:00pm, December 23 at 3:00pm
More Info: www.tso.ca
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra - The Snowman
The TSO will be performing Howard Blake’s beautiful score to the animated film The Snowman again this holiday season. The TSO’s Young People’s Concerts and Family Christmas concert are created especially for audience members ages 5–12. Concert running time is approximately two hours, including a 20-minute intermission.
Where: Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe Street, Toronto
When: Sunday December 10, 2017 at 3:00pm
More Info: www.tso.ca
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra - Home Alone in Concert
The TSO and the Etobicoke School of the Arts Junior Chorus perform live with the classic 1990 holiday film, Home Alone, about an 8 year-old accidentally left home alone over Christmas who has to outsmart a couple of boneheaded burlgars. Concert running time is appromimately 2.5 hours, including a 20-minute intermission. Intermission occurs approximately 53 minutes into the film.
Where: Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe Street, Toronto
When: November 30th, December 1st, December 2nd at 7:30pm; December 2nd at 2:00pm
More Info: www.tso.ca
Soulpepper Theatre's A Christmas Carol
Soulpepper Theatre's production of Charles Dickens' classic tale A Christmas Carol, directed and adapted by Michael Shamata, has become a Toronto holiday tradition. Recommended for ages 8+.
Where: Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Lane, Distillery Historic District, Toronto
When: December 7 - December 24, 2017
More Info: www.soulpepper.ca
Other Theatrical Performances in Toronto
Disney on Ice presents Reach for the Stars at the Rogers Centre, 1 Blue Jays Way, Toronto. Friday December 22, 2017 - Saturday December 30, 2017. A brand new show featuring a host of beloved Disney characters and stories. Join familiar faces like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, as well as new characters like Rapunzel from Tangled, Elsa from Frozen and Belle from Beauty & the Beast as they sing and glide effortlessly over the ice. Suitable for all ages. www.ticketmaster.ca
Soulpepper Theatre presents A Very Soulpepper Christmas at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts - Jane Mallett Theatre, December 15-17. A family concert celebrating the sounds of the season from around the globe featuring Mike Ross leading an all-star line-up of Toronto’s best musicians. Recommended for ages 6+. www.soulpepper.ca
The Second City Toronto presents Miracle on Mercer Street featuring an adorable puppet troupe and their funny human friends. Suitable for all ages and created especially for ages 4-12. December 16th - January 5th, 2017. 51 Mercer Street, Toronto. Running time 60 minutes. www.secondcity.com
The Second City Toronto presents The Good, The Bad & The Ugly Sweater, a delightful mix of satirical sketches that make fun of all the washed up, broken down traditions that tend to plague the holiday season. Recommended age 16+. On stage November 23rd - December 30th, 2017 - check website for details. 51 Mercer Street, Toronto. www.secondcity.com
Elf the Broadway Musical is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. November 21-26, 2017 at the Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King Street West, Toronto. www.mirvish.com
Disney's Beauty and the Beast, the tale as old as time, will be onstage at Young People's Theatre, 165 Front Street East, Toronto, November 6 - December 31, 2017. Recommended for SK-Grade 12, Ages 5 and up. Running time approximately 85 minutes. There are two Relaxed Performances available - see website for details. www.youngpeoplestheatre.ca
Electric Moon Theatre Company presents Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas the Musical at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, 10268 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill. December 2, 2017 to January 6, 2018. General Admission. www.electricmoontheatre.com
It's a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play returns to the Lower Ossington Theatre this year after sold-out performances in 2015 and 2016. Frank Capra's timeless film is brought to life as a 1940s radio broadcast telling the story of George Bailey who was about to throw himself from a bridge before an angel-in-waiting shows him what life in Bedford Falls would have been like without him. December 1-30, 2017 at Lower Ossington Theatre, 100 Ossington Avenue, Toronto. Suitable for all ages. www.lowerossingtontheatre.com
Lower Ossington Theatre presents the classic family musical Annie: The Musical at the Randolph Theatre, 736 Bathurst Street, Toronto December 8 - 31, 2017. Ages 4+. www.lowerossingtontheatre.com
Cavalcade of Lights Tree Lighting Ceremony
The Cavalcade of Lights is a free event which is held annually in Nathan Phillips Square and features the lighting of Toronto's official Christmas tree as well as entertainers, fireworks and a skating party on Toronto's iconic rink. The tree is generally between 55 and 65 feet high and features about 525,000 energy-efficient lights and 700 individual ornaments. The Cavalcade of Lights takes place the last Saturday in November in Nathan Phillips Square at 100 Queen St. W. The tree remains on display throughout the holiday season and is then recycled.
When: Saturday November 25, 2017
Where: Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen Street West at Bay Street.
More Info: City of Toronto - Cavalcade of Lights
Yonge Dundas Square Tree Lighting
Illuminite, the annual tree lighting ceremony at Yonge-Dundas Square, is a magical evening organized by the Downtown Yonge BIA featuring dance performances, light shows, acrobats and more as well a ceremonial lighting of the square’s tree.
Where: Yonge-Dundas Square, 1 Dundas Street East, Toronto
When: Saturday, November 18, 2017, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
More Info: www.downtownyonge.com
Spectacle of Lights on the Toronto Waterfront
The Waterfront BIA presents The Spectacle of Lights on Toronto's Waterfront this holiday season featuring stunning illuminations at three sites along the waterfront - the Westin Hotel, the Fire Hall and the Toronto Music Garden.
Where: Toronto Waterfront
When: November, 2017 to April, 2018
More Info: www.waterfrontbia.com
Light Up the Square - Mississauga
Mississauga kicks off the holiday season with an annual free event at Celebration Square featuring the official lighting of the Christmas tree, entertainment, photos with Santa and his elves, a holiday street market, S'More station, the opening of the skating rink and more - all surrounded by twinkling lights.
Where: Celebration Square, 300 City Centre Drive, Mississauga
When: Saturday November 25, 2017, 5:00-9:00pm
More Info: www.mississauga.ca
Holiday Window Displays
One of my favourite things to do during the holiday season is browse holiday window displays. Hudson's Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue on Queen Street in Toronto hold an annual unveiling of their holiday windows in early November. It can get a bit crowded here at times but the magical Christmas windows are a must-see each holiday season. It's also worth heading up to Bloor Street as well to check out upscale shops such as William Ashley China, Roots, Holt Renfrew and others that go all out on their spectacular window displays.
York-Durham Heritage Railway Santa Train Ride
Each year the York-Durham Heritage Railway operates a popular Santa Train on specified Saturdays and Sundays during the holiday season. The trains leave from Uxbridge Station and ride through the beautiful Oak Ridges Moraine. The ride lasts approximately one hour with onboard entertainment for children of all ages. Santa visits each child at their seat on the train and each child receives a goodie bag when they depart the train. Seating is limited and by reservation only so book early to avoid disappointment.
Where: Uxbridge Station, 19 Railway Street, Uxbridge, Ontario
When: Saturdays and Sundays November 25 through to December 17, 2017
More Info: www.ydhr.ca
Halton County Radial Railway Christmas on the Rails
Celebrate the holiday season by riding the Halton County Radial Railway historic street car on two kilometres of scenic track through the woods with snow on the trees (hopefully), Christmas carols in the air and a visit from Santa! Tickets sold at the door.
Where: 13629 Guelph Line, Milton, ON
When: December 2, 2017, 1:00-8:00pm
More Info: www.hcry.org
The CP Holiday Train
The CP Holiday Train program launched in 1999 and has since raised more than C$13 million and four million pounds of food for communities along CP's routes in Canada and the United States. This year two trains will leave Montreal, Quebec, on November 25 and 26, 2017 respectively, on a festive journey through the U.S. and Canada bringing holiday cheer to 182 communities along CP's network. One stop on the CP Holiday Train's journey cross-Canada this year will be in Toronto.
The Holiday Train is about 1,000 feet in length with 14 brightly decorated rail cars and each car is decorated with hundreds of thousands of technology-leading LED lights and holiday designs. Holiday train events are free but food or monetary donations to the local foodbank are requested. Each train stop lasts about 30 minutes and includes a band performing a mix of traditional and modern holiday-themed songs for the crowd. The performers at the Toronto stop this year will be Colin James and Emma-Lee. Check the CP website for information about additional stops across Canada.
Where: 750 Runnymede Road, in front of Lambton Yard, Toronto
When: Tuesday November 28th, 2017, Arrival at 8:15pm and performance 8:30-9:00pm
More Info: www.cpr.ca
One of a Kind Show and Sale
Purchase unique, handmade gifts at the annual One of a Kind Christmas Show & Sale - one of the largest and best attended craft shows in North America. Since starting in 1975, the show and sale has been celebrating craftsmanship, cultivating creativity and connecting the community with the aim of delivering a shopping experience that is truly ‘one of a kind’. This year's Christmas show runs for 11 days and features over 800 artisans from across North America. Accessible by GO Transit and TTC. Children 12 and under are free, discounted admission for youth aged 13-17.
Where: Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto
When: November 23 to December 3, 2017
More Info: www.oneofakindshow.com
Holiday Fair in Nathan Phillips Square
Holiday Fair in the Square combines the charm and elegance of a Christmas market with the excitement of a winter carnival. The fair features an artisan village, food trucks and gourmet merchants, a fireside lounge, midway rides, Santa Claus, a variety of performers and, of course, skating on the Nathan Phillips Square rink.
Where: Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen Street West at Bay Street, Toronto
When: December 1st to December 23rd, 2017
More Info: www.fairinthesquare.ca
Swedish Christmas Fair at the Harbourfront Centre
The Swedish Christmas fair is a two-day holiday extravaganza at the Harbourfront Centre. Visitors to the fair can enjoy children singing carols at the Lucia Pageant, experience Sami culture, and participate in folk dancing, craft making and more. It’s also the perfect place to sample delicious Scandinavian food and do some Christmas shopping among the selection of imported handmade crafts, unique Christmas décor, textiles and tasty Swedish delicacies. Admission to the event is free.
Where: Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queen's Quay West, Toronto
When: November 25 and 26, 2017, 11:00am - 5:00pm
More Info: www.harbourfrontcentre.com
The Toronto Christmas Market
The European-style market in the Distillery Historic District was first held just a few years ago but this Toronto Christmas Market has quickly become a favourite holiday tradition for many families and gets better every year. The market has also been named One of the World's 10 Best Holiday Markets by Fodor's Travel. In addition to the wonderful shopping opportunities there are activities and entertainment that will appeal to all ages including carolers, Santa's Elves Sing-Along, choir and band performances, a ferris wheel and carousel, Santa's House with photographer and a life-sized Gingerbread House. The market runs from mid-November until a couple of days before Christmas. Admission is free of charge on weekdays until Friday at 5pm.
Where: Distillery Historic District, Toronto
When: Thursday November 16 - Saturday December 23, 2017
More Info: www.torontochristmasmarket.com
12 Trees of Christmas at the Gardiner Museum
For more than 25 years, the Gardiner Museum has celebrated the season with the 12 Trees of Christmas - a display of Christmas trees decorated by renowned designers based on a central theme. Themes in recent years have included The Toronto Edition, The Joy of Creativity, and Good for the Earth. The 2017 theme is Let There Be Light and the light-inspired art installations will include a disco-ball Christmas tree, a manually-powered holiday tree light show, an animated winter dreamscape, a “tree” comprised of illuminated cubic blocks, and more.
Where: Gardiner Museum, 111 Queen's Park just south of Bloor Street, Toronto
When: Friday November 17, 2017 to Sunday January 7, 2018
More Info: www.gardinermuseum.on.ca
Royal Botanical Gardens - Holiday Traditions
The Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario welcomes winter with an annual celebration called Holiday Traditions. Festivities include musical entertainment, children's activities, storytelling with Mrs. Claus and a traditional Santa welcoming visitors to his cabin in Hendrie Park all included with a general admission ticket. Additional ticketed activities include Brunch with Santa and Mrs. Claus and Santa's Signature Experience which includes a ride on the RBG Express Train to Hendrie Park to visit with the jolly old elf.
The ever-popular RBG Train Show, a botanical model train installation which features numerous Canadian landmarks constructed from cedar slabs and rock, is back this year and there is also a new Escarpment Train Show experience which takes visitors on a journey through four seasons of whimsical Canadian landscapes while telling the story of how railroads shaped our history (pre-registration required). On select evenings in November and December, visitors can also enjoy Winter Lights at the Rock, a holiday light display that explores how multicultural traditions and activities make us quintessentially Canadian.
Where: Royal Botanical Gardens, 680 Plains Road West, Burlington, Ontario
When: Mid-November until the first week of January
More Info: www.rbg.ca
Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show
The Christmas Flower Show is the highlight of year at Allan Gardens Conservatory which is decorated with flowering plants and poinsettia and topiary creations inspired by the holiday season. The event also features horse and wagon rides, carolers, hot apple cider and a visit from Santa. The grand opening of the show is the first Sunday in December and it runs until mid-January. The conservatory can also be enjoyed by candlelight on several weekends. There is also a Christmas Flower Show held at Centennial Park Conservatory.
Where: Allan Gardens Conservatory, 19 Horticultural Avenue, Toronto (south side of Carlton Street between Jarvis and Sherbourne Streets); Centennial Park Conservatory, 151 Elmcrest Road, Toronto (west of Renforth Avenue and north of Rathburn Road)
When: Allan Gardens opens first Sunday of December, Centennial park opens second Sunday of December
More Info: City of Toronto - Allan Gardens Conservatory
Casa Loma at Christmas
My favourite time to visit Casa Loma is at Christmas when it's decked for the holidays and there are special activities and entertainment for guests. Holiday celebrations take place from early December through the first week of January and feature family-friendly activities and entertainment as well as festive decor and trees decorated by celebrity designers. Kids are invited to visit Santa in his workshop, participate in creative arts and crafts, visit with wintery holiday mascots, decorate tasty treats, sing along with live carollers and much more! There is also a display of festive light sculptures in the gardens of Casa Loma.
Where: Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace, Toronto, Ontario
When: Early December through the first week of January
More Info: www.casaloma.ca
Holiday Activities at Legoland Discovery Centre
Once again this year, Holiday Bricktacular will take place every weekend at the Legoland Discovery Centre. Visitors can participate in a Winter Wonderland Creative Challenge and design their own LEGO® creation to add to the winter landscape, participate in a Holiday Village Scavenger Hunt in MINILAND® and ask the attraction’s Master Model Builder any holiday-themed question via the LEGO mailbox. The Master Builder will also be creating a large-scale holiday themed build that guests can interact and take photos with. Be sure to pre-book tickets online to avoid disappointment.
Where: LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Toronto, 1 Bass Pro Mills Drive, Vaughan
When: Saturdays and Sundays in December
More Info: www.toronto.legolanddiscoverycentre.ca
Toronto Zoo Holiday Activities
Holiday season at the Toronto Zoo kicks off when Santa Claus comes to town to celebrate at Fun with Santa sessions available to members November 16th - 19th. Members must register and pay for the 90 minute sessions in advance online.
Parents of children ages 4 to 12 can also take advantage of the zoo's Holiday Drop and Shop days (Saturday December 2nd and Saturday December 9th) and drop the kids for a fun day at the zoo while they hit the stores and finish holiday shopping. Looking for something to do post-Christmas? Boxing Day is a great day to visit the Toronto Zoo as admission is 50% all day with proceeds going toward the Endangered Species Reserve Fund.
Boxing Day is also the first day of 13 Days of Enrichment at the Toronto Zoo. The Toronto Zoo’s Behavioural Husbandry Program is designed to provide enrichment and training experiences that mimic an animal’s natural behaviour and provide mental stimulation as well as choice within their environments. Each day from December 26, 2017 through January 7, 2018 there will be different opportunities scheduled when visitors can observe the animals receiving their very own holiday treats as part of the enrichment experience. (More info to come on the Zoo website.)
While at the zoo over the holidays be sure to say farewell to giant pandas Da Mao, Er Shun, Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue as they will be leaving for their new home at the Calgary Zoo in March 2018.
Where: 2000 Meadowvale Road (north of Highway 401). Accessible by car and public transit.
When: Dates and times vary - check website for details.
More Info: www.torontozoo.com
Christmas at Black Creek Pioneer Village
The holidays are a great time to visit Black Creek Pioneer Village to experience some old-fashioned Christmas fun. During Christmas at Black Creek, families can tour the historic houses to learn more about the origin of Christmas traditions, take part in special activities, sample some traditional Christmas foods and sing along to Christmas carols. On weekends in December, there will also be horse-drawn wagon rides around the village available and a Storytime with Santa ticketed event.
Black Creek Pioneer Village also has three evenings of Christmas by Lamplight when visitors can explore the candle-lit village from 6pm-9:30pm while enjoying folk music, Christmas caroling, and choirs. Visitors may also create seasonal ornaments and crafts, sample festive foods and shop for one-of-a-kind items handmade in the village.
Where: Black Creek Pioneer Village, 1000 Murray Ross Parkway, Toronto
When: Christmas programming on weekends starting November 18th - check website for details
More Info: www.blackcreek.ca
Historical Sites in Toronto
Many of the historical sites in Toronto have special activities planned for the holiday season.
Fort York - Frost Fair - Fort York celebrates the legacy of the Frost Fair in 19th Century England with a market, music, and food. December 9, 2017 10am - 5pm. 250 Fort York Boulevard, Toronto. www.fortyork.ca
Fort York - The Cook's Apprentice - a historical cooking class for kids aged 8 to 12 to learn to bake traditional cakes, biscuits and confections in the Officers' historic kitchen. Sat. December 2, 1 to 3:30 pm. $30 plus tax. Pre-registration is required. www.fortyork.streamintickets.com
Fort York - Gingerbread Make and Bake - a hands-on workshop for kids aged 4 and up to join the cooks in the Officers' Mess Kitchen to create traditional gingerbread cookies. Workshop is limited to 15 participants and is included with general admission but you must sign up at Museum Store when you arrive. www.fortyork.ca
Mackenzie House - A Victorian Christmas - Discover the story of how families celebrated Christmas in 19th century Toronto as you tour the Mackenzie home which is dressed in greenery for the holidays. Continues until January 8, 2017. Tuesday to Friday, 12 to 4 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m. Also Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories - Sunday December 18th at 2:15 and 4:15. 82 Bond Street, Toronto. www.1.toronto.ca
Christmas Time at Colborne Lodge - Enjoy the sights and smells of a Victorian Christmas - enjoy the natural greenery decorations, toast the season with a glass of hot mulled cider by the wood stove and nibble on special holiday treats. Located at the south end of High Park. Continues until Sunday, January 8.
Tuesdays to Sundays: 12 to 4 p.m., December 24 and 31: 12 to 3 p.m., Closed December 25, 26 and January 1. www.1.toronto.ca
Scottish Holiday Traditions at Gibson House Museum - Learn how the Gibson family celebrated the season in the nineteenth century and sample some tasty treats by the open hearth. See the Victorian-era home decorated in natural greenery and take a guided tour with our knowledgeable staff. Continues until December 31st. 5172 Yonge St, North York. www.1.toronto.ca
A Roaring Twenties Christmas at Spadina Museum - Experience a 1920s Christmas on a guided tour of Spadina, enjoy holiday treats made from original recipes and sip mulled cider. 285 Spadina Road, Toronto. Continues until January 8, 2017 Tuesday to Friday: 12 to 4 p.m., Saturday & Sunday: 12 to 5 p.m. www.1.toronto.ca
Christmas in the Valley at Todmorden Mills - Experience two different eras of Christmas at Todmorden Mills as we explore the holiday traditions of the 1890s and the 1940s. Tour our two historic houses, decorated for the holidays, sample historic recipes, and create a take-home craft. 67 Pottery Road Toronto. December weekends and December 24 to January 8, 2017 12 to 4 p.m. (December 24 & 31: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) Closed December 25, 26 and January 1 www.1.toronto.ca
Festive Weekends at Scarborough Museum - Celebrate the festive season with treats and crafts for children of all ages. Admission is Pay What You Can. Thomson Memorial Park, 1007 Brimley Rd, Scarborough. Weekends in December 12-4pm. www.1.toronto.ca
Skating at Harbourfront
The Natrel Rink at the Harbourfront Centre is a great place for families to enjoy free skating at the city's most scenic outdoor rink over the holidays. There is a heated indoor change room with lockers and washrooms and there is also hot food and drinks available at the rink-side restaurant. Skates and helmets for both children and adults are also available for rental.
Where: The rink is located at 235 Queens Quay West
When: The Natrel Rink usually opens in November. Check website to confirm hours.
More Info: www.harbourfrontcentre.com
Skating at Nathan Phillips Square
During the winter months, the reflecting pool in Nathan Phillips Square outside Toronto City Hall becomes one of the most popular and largest outdoor skating rinks in the city. There is a change room facility, public washrooms and skate rentals available. Admission to the rink is free.
Where: 100 Queen Street West, Toronto (at Bay Street)
When: Generally open by early December but weather dependent
Springridge Farm Holiday Activities
Get into the Christmas spirit with holiday activities held at Springridge farm on weekends. Activities include painting glass ornaments, decorating gingerbread cookies, and visits with Santa. Christmas baking available in shop. Fresh Fraser Fir Christmas trees available mid-November.
Where: 7256 Bell School Line, Milton, Ontario L9E 0N7
When: November 25 - December 10, 10am-4pm - Weekends only
More Info: www.springridgefarm.com
Downey's Farm Market
Downey's Farm in Caledon offers a one-of-a-kind lunch with Santa this holiday season. Both adults and children receive lunch consisting of a steamy pizza bun, hot chocolate/coffee/tea, and a delicious cookie. Each child will have an opportunity to visit with Santa and will receive a treat. Reservations and payment required in advance. Downey's will also have fresh cut Christmas trees, wreaths and garland available from November 26 to December 24 as well as an assortment of scrumptious Christmas baking, fresh free-range turkeys and Christmas gift baskets.
Where: Downey's Farm Market, 13682 Heart Lake Road (north of Brampton)
When: November 26, December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 & 17, 2017
More Info: www.downeysfarm.com
Holidays at the Royal Ontario Museum
During ROM for the Holidays, the Royal Ontario Museum turns into a winter wonderland for parents and children with extended programming and fun activities over the winter break. Programming this year is designed to enhance the ROM's three major exhibitions : VIKINGS (which opened on Saturday November 4), Christian Dior (opening November 25), and Wildlife Photographer of the Year (our family's favourite which is opening December 16). Highlights of ROM for the Holidays will include interactive musical duo Sonshine and Broccoli, live animals with Hands On Exotics, contemporary dance artists SaMel Tanz, Living Viking History with Viking re-enactors, games, trivia, crafts, a photo booth, and more.
Where: 100 Queen's Park, Toronto (main entrance on Bloor St. West)
When: December 26, 2017 to January 7, 2018 (The ROM is closed on Christmas day)
More Info: www.rom.on.ca
Magical Christmas Forest at Kortright Centre
Once again this year, families can experience the magic of Christmas at the Kortright Centre. The forest comes to life with lights, friendly elves and favorite Christmas characters. Children will love visiting Santa's workshop to see the elves at work, playing games, making Christmas crafts, watching a Christmas movie in the theater and enjoying carols and Christmas treats by the fire. Each child will also have the chance to visit Santa's cabin to tell Santa their Christmas wish.
Where: 9550 Pine Valley Drive, Woodbridge (south of Major Mackenzie Drive, west of Highway 400)
When: December 1-23, 2017, 5:00 - 9:00pm (Advance tickets are required)
More Info: www.kortright.org
Do you have a favourite holiday activity or event in Toronto or the GTA that isn't listed? Let us know in the comments and we'll add it!