From European style Christmas markets to parades and fireworks, Toronto knows how to celebrate the holidays. Here is your complete guide to the 6 Best Holiday Events in Toronto for Families.
1. Santa Clause Parade
In its 113th year, the Toronto Santa Clause Parade is a Canada wide tradition. Kicking off at 12:30 pm on November 19th, families can pick a number of places along the route to settle in for the parade. I find that University Avenue south of Dundas provides ample space for families wanting a great view. Dress in layers. Bring a blanket to sit on. Bring snacks.
2. Santa’s Log Cabin at the Toronto Eaton Centre
From November 18th until December 24th, kids can meet up with Santa himself at the Toronto Eaton Centre. Where this event differs from others is in the attention paid to detail. The ticketed event includes a holiday-themed story time and some individual time interacting with the big man himself. All proceeds go to one of three charities of your choice.
3. Cavalcade of Lights at Nathan Philips Square
The Cavalcade of Lights is the City Hall kick-off to the holiday season in Toronto. Taking place on November 25th at 7 PM. The evening starts with the lightning of the official Toronto tree. The night continues with lights, music, performances and fireworks. This event is quite crowded and not easy to navigate with a stroller. I find if we stay back a little, we can still enjoy the party and have a great view of the fireworks.
4. The Toronto Christmas Market
Speaking of crowds, one of Toronto’s most popular events and my personal favourite is the Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery. I visit the market several times during the Christmas season to get the best of all of it. For families visiting with children, I personally recommend going on the weekend as soon as it opens. This year the market is opening much earlier (November 16) and will be open on weekends at 10 am. During the week it opens at noon. These extended hours will give you plenty of time to experience the Market without the crowds. I also recommend visiting without the kids for an evening. The market is the perfect date spot with plenty to see and do and lots of spots to cozy up as a couple or with friends and enjoy a mulled wine.
5. The Nutcracker
No holiday post is really complete without including the National Ballet of Canada’s performance of The Nutcracker. Each performance includes a story time that is free for ticket holders and occurs 1 hour before the ballet starts. I recommend attending story time or reading the story at home before attending, fuelling up on snacks and explaining to your children before hand how a ballet works. Attending The Nutcracker with loved ones is a tradition passed on through generations.
6. Casa Loma
As the holiday season is kicking off particularly early this year, I will continue to update this list as more of my favourite activities confirm whether or not they will again host holiday celebrations. This includes Casa Loma who had a spectacular light show last year.
Tis the Season
Get out there and celebrate.