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Tinsel in Toronto


Every year, the Distillery Historic District transforms into something of a whimsical winter wonderland complete with twinkling lights overhead, the sound of carollers bouncing off the old Victorian industrial buildings and outdoor stands which sell the stuff of a Late Christmas Shopper’s dream.

When it comes to the Toronto Christmas Market, there is no other way to describe it but magic. Part of it stems from its setting; the site was once home to the Gooderham & Worts Distillery, which represents the largest and best-preserved collection of Victorian Industrial Architecture in North America. This, when shining with the warm golden glow of dimly lit light canopies, makes for the most beautiful of sights. The area is filled with traditional festive décor; the scent of Bratwurst fills the area. It whisks the sentiment of European festive tradition right across the Atlantic to Toronto. Pure magic, in my books. The pure enchantment of the setting is more than enough reason to go.

Don’t get me wrong, though. A North American spin has been put on this French-and-German tradition – and it isn’t just from the poutine; the Christmas Markets are anything but subtle. I mean, when the centrepiece is a dazzling 50-foot-tall glitzy Christmas tree donated by Forests Ontario, you know that this place isn’t going to be about subtlety. It’s decorated with more than 40,000 lights, 800 Christmas balls and a gold ribbon that runs 1.5 kilometres in length. It’s more Elf than Miracle on 34th Street, if you get my drift.

But who wants subtlety when it comes to the holiday season? It’s Christmas! And, by the looks of it, I am not the only one who does indeed “wish it could be Christmas every day;” Toronto Market seems to relish in it, too!

For ten years now, Toronto Christmas Market’s glitzy approach to the festive season has drawn visitors in by the thousands. Ranked one of the best Christmas Markets in the world, the festival features hundreds of unique and locally handcrafted products. Holiday-focused vendors and fun festive surprises await you and, at the most magical time of the year, you couldn’t ask for anything more. When you catch sight of all those ornately designed, artisan ornaments, hand-painted snow globes and miniature figurines, you’re bound to fall in love with the holiday season all over again. From naturally-made body products to cosy, knitted socks, if you’re looking for unique gifts, this is the place to get them!

Speaking of cosy knitted socks, make sure you’re prepared for the harsh Canadian winter weather. It gets pretty cold in Toronto! The snow-sprinkled setting is something from a picture-perfect postcard, don’t get me wrong, but be sure to have packed your winter gear. If you’ve forgotten your hat or scarf, don’t worry. Many of the merchants display their knitted wares in the wooden huts that make up the market. Why not consider picking something up from here? It would make for quite a different, quirky souvenir, that’s for sure!

The main attraction, however, is the tunnel of holidays lights – a one-hundred-foot-long tunnel through which you can stroll. Take your time (and your camera!) You want to enjoy every single centimetre of this. It’s seriously ‘lit’ – quite literally, I guess. You could say it’s almost blindingly beautiful! The light tunnel concept came from the market’s founder Mathew Rosenblatt. It was brought to life by Beth Edney, and with one trillion lights filling the space, it really is a sight to see.

Take this holly-jolly opportunity to wander at leisure down the cobblestones of one of Toronto’s most beautiful neighbourhoods. Enjoy something of a unique shopping experience and one of the biggest, most beautiful lighting displays you could possibly hope to see. Just make sure you bring your camera; you won’t want to miss capturing the magic of Toronto’s Christmas Market.

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