Whether you want to spend the weekend starting (or finishing) your holiday shopping, gazing at twinkling lights, taking a selfie with Santa or sipping a festive cocktail, you have your pick of fun things to do in the city this weekend – here are seven of the best events to check out.
Shop the One of a Kind Winter Show
If you’ve been waiting for the perfect chance to start your holiday shopping, the One of a Kind Winter Show might just be the best place to start. Running until Dec. 5 at the Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place, the annual marketplace sees local artisans of all kinds showcasing their wares – from pottery and handcrafted jewellery, to artisanal food and unique fashion finds. With 400 vendors in total, finding a gift (or at least a little something for yourself) shouldn’t be too hard.
Check out Bloor-Yorkville Holiday Magic
Make your way over to Village of Yorkville Park on Saturday between 5 and 7 p.m. for a free outdoor concert from Kiesza and tree lighting ceremony to kick off the holiday season. There will be nearly 140 trees lit up along Bloor Street until the end of December if you can’t make it for the opening celebration. Be on the lookout for traditional carollers strolling around, as well as uniquely designed Urban Campfire Benches along Bloor Street West that light up when in use.
See the Cavalcade of Lights
Nathan Philips Square will once again be home to the Cavalcade of Lights Saturday through to Jan. 2. Opening night (from 3 to 11 p.m.) will feature the first lighting of Toronto’s 60-foot Christmas tree, along with musical performances. Each night following, from 5 to 11 p.m., visitors to the square will be treated to light installations inspired by cultural festivals from around the world, tunnels made from thousands of energy-efficient bulbs and glowing ice sculptures.
Bundle up for the Polar Winter Festival
Bandshell Park on the Exhibition Grounds is going to look and feel a little different than usual until Dec. 26 when the whole area turns into the Polar Winter Festival. Stroll through an abundance of holiday décor and lighting displays before perusing the vendor market, snapping a pic with the big man himself at the Santa selfie station, or playing some carnival games. There will also be a carousel and trackless train, food vendors and a licenced bar area with festive cocktails and roaring fire pits.
Have a drink at a holiday-themed bar
Don your best (or most kitschy) Christmas sweater and settle in for a drink at a holiday-themed pop-up bar. This year, Miracle and its counterpart, Sippin’ Santa, will both be popping up at Bloor and Ossington every night from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. through to Dec. 26. Expect festive décor, fun cocktails (Sippin’ Santa has a tiki theme) and lots of holiday cheer.
Experience Christmas at the Castle
Happening through to Dec. 30, Christmas at the Castle will be lighting up Casa Loma. The iconic Toronto landmark will be transformed inside and out into one of the most festive spots in the city. Expect festive décor including a 40-foot tall tree in the Great Hall, as well as a unique collection of other signature holiday trees decorated by renowned Canadian designers. Kids can visit Santa in his workshop and hang out with live holiday mascots.
Stop by the Junction for Window Wonderland
Check out a free immersive urban art walk taking place from Nov. 26 to Jan. 2 in the Junction, returning for its second consecutive year. Window Wonderland will transform the west Toronto ‘hood into an interactive, outdoor gallery featuring 20 unique augmented reality (AR) installations by 40 local and international artists. Visitors can see the artists’ creations come to life simply by pointing their phone cameras at the large-scale artwork displayed on shop windows.