7 of the best events to check out in Toronto this weekend

As we continue heading straight into holiday season, the city is more than ready to ensure all in the mood to feel festive should have no problem doing so. Markets and festivals big and small are popping up all over the place, giving visitors a chance to shop local, snack on seasonal goodies and generally get into the holiday spirit. With that in mind, here are seven of the best events to check out in Toronto this weekend.

Stop by the Distillery Winter Village


Everyone’s favourite merry-making market has returned once again, albeit with a new name. Explore the new market, now the Distillery Winter Market, under the requisite twinkly lights and celebrate the start of the festive season. There will be a line-up of buskers, carollers and other holiday entertainment, as well as local vendors to shop and plenty of seasonal treats to enjoy as you stroll the scenic cobblestone streets.

Visit the Bloordale Winter Market


Popular Bloordale bar, Bar Neon, will be home to a winter market starting this Saturday and running until Jan. 2. Stop by for a cup of mulled wine or apple cider and snack on festive goodies. Then browse and buy local goods courtesy of TOWN, Nuthouse and local artists like Shari Kasman, who will have their products for sale. A tree lighting ceremony to kick off all the fun happens this Sunday at 6 p.m.

Have a sinful Sunday

If you’re looking for something fun (but maybe not necessarily “festive”) to do on Sunday night, make your way to Cherry Cola’s for their signature burlesque party, featuring  a rotating lineup of cabaret performers. Doors open at 8 p.m. with the sinful show kicking off at 9 p.m.

Drive through a Christmas trail


Transport yourself to the North Pole and through Santa’s Village via the Canadian Tire Christmas Trail – all from your car. The 1.5 km experience at Black Creek Pioneer Village is an interactive drive-thru, including thousands of twinkling lights, entertainment and special appearances from various Christmas characters.

Get acquainted with the opera

No need to don your best attire and heirloom pearls for this occasion – Opera Revue at The Emmet Ray is an unconventional way to learn about, appreciate, or rediscover opera, an oft-maligned or at least misunderstood form of music. From 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday evening, grab a beer and have a relaxing time listening to opera among friends in an unpretentious atmosphere.

Pick up some holiday goods for your pets


Pets deserve some holiday love, too, so head over the International Centre this Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the Toronto Christmas Pet Show. Shop a wide variety of pet-focused seasonal goods from the holiday market, pick up some educational materials, check out the dog (or cat) show, stop by the pet photo booth and don’t forget a pet photo with Santa.

Have fun at Weston Winterfest

Yet another opportunity to get into the spirit of the season comes via Weston Winterfest, happening Friday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. at the Artscape Weston Commons. Programming includes an indoor holiday market, a mini reverse parade at the Artscape courtyard with free hot chocolate, apple cider and Beavertails, as well as nine illuminated ice sculptures and live musical performances.

Article exclusive to TRNTO