The best Christmas markets in Toronto this year

Mulled wine and wood-burning fires aplenty at these winter festivals

Christmas markets in Toronto this year are sure to dial up the holiday spirit as the cold weather takes hold of the city. Get ready for plenty of mulled wine, wood-burning fires and gourmet treats. And lineups. While the Distillery District’s Winter Village may have started this festive trend, it’s become so popular that it can be hard to enjoy the atmosphere among the crowds. Fortunately, it’s not the only option for holiday cheer this season.

Here are nine holiday markets that’ll add sparkle to your winter.

Evergreen’s Winter Market

Spend an afternoon at this old brick factory and skate around the open-air rink while listening to live music on Dec. 18. Between skating sessions, you can sit by a fire pit as you sip on hot apple cider. There will be an array of tasty treats from local food trucks, along with an artisan and vintage market to get some last-minute holiday shopping done. Aside from Evergreen’s Winter Market, feel free to stop by from Dec. 17 until March 5 to enjoy the skating rink – helmet and skate rentals available! You can also pick up fresh produce at the farmers market, happening indoors on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

A Nutcracker Christmas at Casa Loma

Casa Loma Christmas at the Castle

From Dec. 2-Jan. 2, Toronto’s famed castle is set to be transformed into a winter wonderland, featuring stunning light displays performers and more. The interior will be decorated accordingly with a 40 foot tall evergreen in the Great Hall. The little ones can visit Santa’s workshop, decorate treats and enjoy arts and crafts. There will also be the castle’s Holiday Lights immersive outdoor experience from Dec. 1- Jan. 8 – upgrade your ticket to include both!

Toronto Art Crawl Christmas Market

On Dec. 17, get into the holiday spirit with rows of beautifully handcrafted goods by more than 80 local artists and designers at this all day event. Choose from art, fashion, jewelry, home decor, vintage, photography and more. With a DJ and food vendors, this event offers both adults and children a day of entertainment.

The Holiday Artisan Market at the The Great Hall

Happening on Nov. 27 and then again on Dec. 18, Queen St. Marketplace is hosting a Holiday Artisan Market to rival all others. Enjoy over 50 local vendors’ creations, from leather work to stained glass to clothing and more. Happening at The Great Hall, the first 30 people to arrive will receive a holiday VIP swag bag!

The Distillery’s Christmas market

The Distillery Winter Village

This list wouldn’t be complete without the most popular holiday market in the city. Step into this twinkling holiday wonderland with giant gingerbread houses filled with unique holiday vendors, strings of fairy lights, a giant Christmas tree and an array of daily performances. Note well, there is an admission charge on weekends starting at 6 p.m. on Fridays, and the market isn’t open on Mondays!

The Holiday Vintage Show at Parkdale Hall

Want to shop vintage for your friends and family this season? The Holiday Vintage Show on Queen West is the place to do it. Featuring more than 35 of the GTA’s best antique and vintage vendors, this two-day events from Dec. 3-4, you can look for the coolest vintage knickknacks and unique finds to dazzle your friends this year.

Holiday Fair at Nathan Phillips Square

Think of it as a mash-up between a winter carnival and a Christmas market. Bring your skates and enjoy a host of performances, from carollers to a jazz band, from Dec. 2-23. You can also imbibe at a licensed ice bar with a crackling fire. After warming up, check out the Artisan Village for one-of-a-kind gifts and treats, or try the Holiday Midway for a classic carousel, games and more. Visits from Mr. and Mrs. Claus happen on the weekends.

The Holiday Hills Festival at stackt 

From Nov. 18 to the end of December, Toronto’s stackt market is joining the roster of holiday festivals in the city with its Holiday Hills programming. The festival will feature interactive and unique activities, such as an outdoor Crokicurl rink — a mix of Crokinole and curling. There will also be vintage markets and live music nights on site, and adults can visit the whiskey bar in a yurt.

The Leslieville Flea’s final Holiday Market

It’s the end of an era – The Leslieville Flea is closing up shop after almost 10 years of being a vibrant part of Toronto’s flea market community. Their final market is a great one – a two-day holiday market extravaganza happening from Dec. 10-11! Stop by the Jimmie Simpson Community Rec Centre in Leslieville to enjoy all the best vendors the neighbourhood has to offer. There will be a mix of vendors on both days, so make a weekend of it and visit twice to get your final fill of that flea market goodness.

If you’re up for taking a drive through Ontario you should also check out the Christkindl Market in Kitchener, and Holiday Street Market in Milton.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO