The ultimate guide to family-friendly events and activities in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (the GTA) this holiday season. Things to do in Toronto Christmas 2019 that the entire family will enjoy.
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 2018 – a list of family-friendly events and activities in the city of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (the “GTA”) for the 2018/19 holiday season.
Updated for 2019/20 Holiday Season
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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 17th, at 4:30pm ET/PT on CTV.
Where: Starts at Parliament & Bloor and ends at the St. Lawrence Market (new route in 2019)
When: Sunday November 17th, 2019 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 16, 2019 6:00pm
- Santa Claus Parade, Pickering, Saturday November 23, 2019 10:00am – 12:00pm
- Ajax Santa Claus Parade, Saturday November 23, 2019 5:30pm
- Santa Claus Parade, Whitby, Saturday December 7, 2019 10:00am
- Milton Santa Claus Parade, theme is Celebrating the North, Sunday November 17, 2019 1:30pm
- Santa Claus Parade, Oakville, Saturday November 16, 2019 9:00am
- Burlington Christmas Parade, Sunday December 1, 2019 2:00pm
- Brampton Santa Claus Parade, Saturday November 16, 2019 5:00pm
- Newmarket Santa Claus Parade, Saturday November 16, 2019 11:00am
- Santa Claus Parade, Richmond Hill, Saturday November 16, 2019 6:00pm
- Markham Annual Santa Claus Parade, Saturday November 23, 2019, 11:00am
- Unionville’s Olde Tyme Christmas Candlelight Parade, Friday December 6, 2019 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 15 – 20 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 and their families.
Visits with Santa are by reservation only and numbers are limited so book as soon as possible. Tickets are $15 and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Eva’s Initiatives and Autism Speaks Canada. Reservations may also be made for a free meet and greet with Santa which doesn’t include storytime.
Where: Eaton Centre, Trinity Square Park, at the North end of Level Three
When: November 16 – December 24, 2019
More Info: CF Toronto Eaton Centre
Visit with Santa at Sherway Gardens
Avoid waiting in long line-ups with young children by registering in advance for the interactive Storytime with Santa at Sherway Gardens. Each session is approximately 30 minutes long including photos with Santa. Each ticket is $22 + HST and and a portion of the proceeds is donated to charity. Sensitive Santa experiences are also available for children with autism and their families. Numbers are limited so book as soon as possible.
Where: Sherway Gardens – Centre Court, 25 The West Mall, Etobicoke (QEW and 427)
When: November 14 – December 24, 2019
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 8, 2019, 12:30-2:30pm (doors open at 12:00)
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 12, 2019 – January 4, 2020
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 24th annual panto – Lil’ Red Robin Hood! 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: Winter Garden Theatre (6th floor), 189 Yonge Street, Toronto
When: November 29, 2019 – January 4, 2020
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: 2019 Dates – December 17, 18, 20, and 21 at 8:00pm, December 22 at 3:00pm
More Info: www.tso.ca
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra – TSO Holiday Pops
A concert of holiday favourites featuring vocalist Measha Brueggergosman and the Etobicoke School of the Arts Holiday Chorus.
Where: Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe Street, Toronto
When: December 10, 11 and 12 at 8:00 pm; December 11 at 2:00 pm
More Info: www.tso.ca
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra – Home Alone in Concert
The TSO and the Resonance Youth Choir 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: 2019 dates – Friday December 6th, and Saturday December 7th at 7:30; Saturday December 7th 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+. Approximate running time is 2 hours including one 20 minute intermission.
Where: Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Lane, Distillery Historic District, Toronto
When: December 6 – December 24, 2019
More Info: www.soulpepper.ca
Other Theatrical Performances in Toronto
Soulpepper Theatre presents Peter Pan on stage December 6 – 24, 2019 at The Michael Young Theatre, The Young Centre for Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Lane in Toronto’s historic Distillery District. Recommended for ages 3+. Approximate running time is 1 hour 15 minutes and there will be no intermission. www.soulpepper.ca
Second City Toronto presents WHAT THE ELF?!? – a hilarious, musical extravaganza for kids, parents, grandparents, siblings and reindeer of all ages! On stage for matinee performances from November 30th 2019 through to January 3rd 2020. Approximate running time is 60 minutes with no intermission. 51 Mercer Street, Toronto. www.secondcity.com
The Second City’s Unconventional Holiday Revue delivers a heaping serving of seasonal satire that’s the perfect alternative to those same old holiday shows. Approximate running time is 90 minutes with a 10 minute intermission. Rated R for language and innuendo – all minors must be accompanied by an adult. 51 Mercer Street, Toronto. www.secondcity.com
The Adventures of Pinocchio will be onstage at Young People’s Theatre, 165 Front Street East, Toronto, November 11, 2019 – January 5, 2020. Recommended for SK-Grade 12, Ages 5 and up. Running time approximately 85 minutes. There will be one Relaxed Performance and two Audio Described performances available – see website for details. www.youngpeoplestheatre.org
The SpongeBob Musical will be onstage at Meridian Hall (formerly the Sony Centre) December 17-22, 2019. www.meridianhall.com Tickets available at Ticketmaster.com.
Mirvish presents Anastasia at the Mirvish Theatre, 244 Victoria Street, Toronto, December 3, 2019 – January 12, 2020. This dazzlingmusical transports us from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s, as a brave young woman sets out to discover the mystery of her past. Pursued by a ruthless Soviet officer determined to silence her, Anya enlists the aid of a dashing conman and a lovable ex-aristocrat. Together, they embark on an epic adventure to help her find home, love, and family. www.mirvish.com
A Christmas Carol: A Radio Play will be onstage at the Lower Ossington Theatre this year. As London awaits the cheerful arrival of Christmas, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge thinks it’s all humbug — until he is visited by the ghost of an old friend, who warns him to change his self-serving ways and to be more kind-hearted. Don’t miss this beloved holiday classic, brought to captivating life as a live 1940s radio broadcast! November 29 – December 24, 2019 at Lower Ossington Theatre, 100 Ossington Avenue, Toronto. Suitable for all ages. www.lowerossingtontheatre.com
Lower Ossington Theatre presents A Christmas Story based on the holiday movie which chronicles young and bespectacled Ralphie Parker as he schemes his way toward the holiday gift of his dreams, an official Red Ryder® Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle. www.lowerossingtontheatre.com
Lower Ossington Theatre presents Annie the Musical at the Randolph Theatre, 736 Bathurst Street, Toronto November 16 – December 29, 2019. Age 4+ admitted. www.lowerossingtontheatre.com
The Mississauga Living Arts Centre presents a number of holiday performances including The Gift of Christmas, The Nutcracker (National Theatre of Odessa), The Debaters Live Holiday Tour, The Dreamboats: Jingle Bell Rock, A Merry Little Christmas with the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra, Highlights from Messiah with the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra, An East Coast Christmas, A Merry Motown Christmas and more. Check website for details. www.livingartscentre.ca
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 30, 2019
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 17, 2018, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.)
More Info: www.downtownyonge.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, gourmet food trucks, the opening of the skating rink and more – all surrounded by twinkling lights.
Where: Celebration Square, 300 City Centre Drive, Mississauga
When: Saturday November 23, 2019 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. Seating is limited and by reservation only so book early to avoid disappointment. Saturdays and Sundays November 23 through to December 15, 2019.
New this year – the York-Durham Heritage Railway will be providing service to the North Pole onboard the Polar Express! Hot chocolate and treats will be served onboard as passengers read along with the classic children’s book. Pyjamas are encouraged. Fridays and Saturdays November 22 – December 21, 2019 and also a few weekdays – check website for details.
Also new this year – the beautifully decorated historic station and grounds will be open Wednesday December 4 and 11, 2019 from 6:00 – 8:30 pm for a Victorian Christmas Experience. Visitors can enjoy live carollers, photos with Santa and the Christmas conductor, eggnog, hot apple cider, Christmas pastries and sleigh rides.
Where: Uxbridge Station, 19 Railway Street, Uxbridge, Ontario
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 7, 2019, 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$14.5 million and 4.3 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, 2019 respectively, on a festive journey through the U.S. and Canada bringing holiday cheer to 164 communities along CP’s network. Stops in the GTA include Bowmanville, Oshawa, Milton and 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. Entertainers on the train this year include three time Juno award-winner Terri Clark, Madeline Merlo, Scott Helman, and Acadian trio Vishtèn . Check the CP website for information about additional stops across Canada.
Where: Toronto stop – 750 Runnymede Road, in front of Lambton Yard, Toronto
When: Thursday November 28th, 2019, 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 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 21 to December 1, 2019
More Info: www.oneofakindshow.com
Aurora Winter Festival
Aurora Winter Festival
Toronto’s newest winter festival returns for a second year transforming Ontario Place into a magical winter wonderland! Attractions will include a beautiful skating rink, a tube park, massive light displays, a Christmas Market, amusement rides, food gardens, magical characters, and plenty of other exciting activities. Tickets are $19.99 for general admission and $14.99 for children and seniors. There are discounted weekday and early start passes available. Rides, food and drink, and skate rentals are an additional cost.
Where: Ontario Place, West Island at 955 Lakeshore Blvd. W.
When: November 22, 2019 – January 5, 2020
More Info: www.aurorawinterfestival.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 7th to December 23rd, 2019 (Closed Mondays except December 23rd)
More Info: www.fairinthesquare.ca
Swedish Christmas Fair
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, 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: New Venue for 2019 – Daniel’s Spectrum, 585 Dundas Street E., Toronto
When: Saturday December 7 and Sunday December 8, 2019, 11:00am
More Info: SWEA Toronto
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 6 pm. This year there will also be free admission on the first two opening weekends (Nov 15-17 and Nov 22-24) to anyone who brings 8 cans of food to donate to the Daily Bread Food Bank.
Where: Distillery Historic District, Toronto
When: Thursday November 14 – Sunday December 22, 2019
More Info: www.tochristmasmarket.com
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 an 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. On select evenings in November and December, visitors can also enjoy Winter Lights at the Rock, a holiday light display in the picturesque Rock Garden.
Where: Royal Botanical Gardens, 680 Plains Road West, Burlington, Ontario
When: November 16th, 2019 to January 5, 2020
More Info: www.rbg.ca
Allan Gardens Conservatory Winter 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 Chrysanthemum 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 Sunday December 2, 2018 – January 9, 2019)
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. This year visitors can celebrate and take part in the holiday magic at Casa Loma during A Nutcracker Christmas at the Castle.
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 carolers and much more!
There will also be a festive light display and an outdoor holiday Christmas market in the gardens of Casa Loma nightly from December 17th – 23rd, 2018.
Where: Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace, Toronto, Ontario
When: (December 1, 2018 through January 6, 2019, 9:30am-5:00pm)
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 submit a wish list letter to the Master Model Builder to send to the North Pole, check out the Master Builder Academy and take part in holiday builds, participate in a Scavenger Hunt, enjoy MINILAND® transformed into a winter wonderland and more. On the last day of Bricktacular there will also be a balloon drop at noon to ring in the New Year! 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 – November 29 – December 31, 2019
More Info: www.toronto.legolanddiscoverycentre.ca
Toronto Zoo Holiday Activities
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 Toronto Zoo’s Endangered Species Fund.
Boxing Day is also the first day of 12 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, 2019 through January 5, 2020 there will be different opportunities scheduled when visitors can observe the animals receiving their very own holiday treats as part of the enrichment experience.
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 on December 7, 14 and 21, 2019 when visitors can explore the candle-lit village from 6 pm – 9:30 pm 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 16th – December 23rd, 2019 – 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 – Mince Pies: An Historical Cooking Workshop – Learn how to make the pastry and rich filling of these traditional fruit and meat-based pies. A recipe package and mince pies to take home are included. Recommended for those aged 13 years and older. The cost is $75 plus HST. Advance tickets required. Sunday November 24, 2019 11 am – 3 pm. www.fortyork.streamintickets.com
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. Saturday December 7, 2019, 1 to 3:30 pm (baking class) and Saturday December 14, 2019 1 to 3:30 pm (savoury cooking class). $30 plus HST. 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. December 27 – 31, 2019 – 11 am and 2 pm. 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, an 1859 row-house which is dressed in greenery for the holidays. Events include a Victorian Christmas Baking workshop December 7, 2019 9:30-12:30 (advance tickets required), a Letterpress Card Making Workshop, Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories, and a Hogmanay celebration. 82 Bond Street, Toronto. www.toronto.ca
Christmas Time at Colborne Lodge – Enjoy the sights and smells of a Victorian Christmas (November 23, 2019 – January 5, 2020) – 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. Holiday Wreath Workshops November 23 – December 21, 2019, Holiday Wreath Workshops for Families November 23 – December 8, 2019, Festive Centrepiece Workshops December 14 – December 21, 2019 and Festive Centrepiece Workshops for Families December 14 – December 22, 2019 – advance tickets required. Located at the south end of High Park. www.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. Get into the spirit of the season with a Gingerbread Afternoon Tea – 4 dates from November 23 – December 14, 2019 – advance tickets required. Also Gingerbread House and Gingerbread Sweets & Treats workshops and more. 5172 Yonge St, North York. www.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. A Roaring Twenties Christmas November 19, 2019 – January 5, 2020. Other events include Holiday Greeting Card Workshops (advance tickets required), a musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol, Musical Candelight Tours and more. 285 Spadina Road, Toronto. www.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. November 30, 2019 – January 5, 2020. There will also be wreath making workshops and holiday treat making workshops for kids with advance registration required and candelight holiday tours on set dates. Father Christmas will also be visiting on December 8, 2019 – advance registrations required. 67 Pottery Road Toronto. www.toronto.ca
Festive Weekends at Scarborough Museum – Celebrate the festive season with treats and crafts for children of all ages. There will be a holiday market this year and workshops that include holiday crackers, holiday baking, and holiday plum pudding beginning mid-November. Thomson Memorial Park, 1007 Brimley Rd, Scarborough. www.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 mid to late November (weather permitting). 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 Santa’s Workshop 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: Santa’s Workshop November 23 – December 15, 2019, 10 am-3 pm – Weekends only. The barn market, bakery and gift shop are open daily 9 am – 5 pm until December 23rd. Springridge closes for the winter at noon on December 24th.
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 22 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 30, December 1, 7, 8, 14 & 15, 2019
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 is designed to enhance the ROM’s major exhibitions – Bloodsuckers: Legends to Leeches; It’s Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection; and Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019.
Where: 100 Queen’s Park, Toronto (main entrance on Bloor St. West)
When: December 26, 2019 to January 5, 2020 (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. Enjoy crafts, activities and treats for the entire family. Go on a horse-drawn wagon ride, and meet Santa in his cabin!
Where: 9550 Pine Valley Drive, Woodbridge (south of Major Mackenzie Drive, west of Highway 400)
When: November 29 – December 21, 2019 (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings), 5:00 – 9:00 pm (Advance tickets are required)
More Info: www.kortright.org
WinterFest at Canada’s Wonderland
Haven’t you always wondered why Canada’s Wonderland didn’t do anything special for the holidays? Well that’s about to change this year with the launch of WinterFest! Canada’s Wonderland will be magically transformed into a winter Wonderland full of enchantment and holiday cheer during WinterFest!
Become immersed in the season’s spirit with spectacular holiday lights and décor, world-class live entertainment, savory treats and fanciful Christmas activities. Don’t forget to bring your skates – the Royal Fountain will be transformed into Snowflake Lake for the holiday season and skating will be free with your own skates.
Where: Canada’s Wonderland, 1 Canada’s Wonderland Drive, Vaughan, Ontario
When: November 22 – December 31, 2019 (select nights)
More Info: www.canadaswonderland.com
Christmas Glow – Toronto
Also new this year is Christmas Glow, a family-friendly indoor wonderland with interactive light gardens, illuminated structures, delicious food, festive drinks and daily live entertainment all under the twinkle of a million lights.
Christmas Glow first launched in Vancouver in 2017 and is now one of the world’s largest indoor Christmas festivals, brightening up 11 cities in 3 countries. Join the joyous 1.6 million guests ready to Glow and celebrate the warmth of the season! I’m a #GlowAmbassador19 and can’t wait for the opening!!
Use code Toronto20 at checkout to receive 20% off tickets for select dates!
Limited time offer, subject to availability.
Where: Toronto Congress Centre, North Building, 1020 Martin Grove Rd., Etobicoke
When: November 28, 2019 – January 4, 2020
More Info: www.glowgardens.com
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada – Symphony of the Seas
Watch schools of fish dance together while the harmonic sounds of the Toronto Chamber Players travel through the waters of the world. Starting at 8 PM, you can enjoy three 45 minute sets of holiday classics while sipping on a drink (alcoholic & non-alcoholic) from one of the many cash bars throughout the Aquarium.
Where: Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, 288 Bremner Blvd., Toronto
When: Friday December 20, 2019, 8 -11 pm
More Info: www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada
Looking for a night out to celebrate during the holiday season without the kids?Miracle is a Christmas-themed pop-up cocktail bar in Toronto’s west-end that serves holiday cocktails in a festive setting. With kitschy holiday décor, professionally-developed cocktails and the nostalgic energy of the best office party you’ve ever been to, Miracle is sure to get even the grouchiest grinch in the holiday spirit.
Where: 146 Ossington Avenue (north of Queen St. W.), Toronto
When: November 25 – December 26, 2019. Monday – Friday 5 pm – 2 am; Saturday & Sunday 2 pm – 2 am.
More Info: www.miracletoronto.com
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.
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