The countdown is officially over—Christmas is here! Toronto is so festive that we can practically hear Santa’s sleigh bells ringing in the distance. The holidays are all about spending time with your loved ones, but who’s to say you can’t venture out with your friends and fam to bask in the city’s magic? And for those who don’t celebrate, there are plenty of things to do around town that are fun for everyone.
Here are 10 of the best things to do in and around Toronto this weekend to make the most of this special season.
CAVALCADE OF LIGHTS
Soak up the magic of the holidays with the city’s beloved annual event, the Cavalcade of Lights. This year, the event will run until January 2 at Nathan Phillips Square. The “reimagined festivities” will transform City Hall and its surroundings into a dazzling wonderland. Plus, get ready to lace up your skates and glide along the iconic twinkling rink at the square.
Where: Nathan Phillips Square
When: Nightly from 5 pm to 11 pm until January 2, 2022
Something magical has arrived at Ontario Place and it’s like a snow globe come to life! Snow Magic is inviting you to “explore a wonder-filled adventure inspired by fire, ice, and light.” Drive your way through 1.7 km of magical sights, including 18 art installations, crystalline caverns, awe-inspiring creatures and “mysterious sights that only dreams are made of.”
Where: 955 Lake Shore Blvd W
When: Until January 16, 2022
POLAR WINTER FESTIVAL
Toronto’s biggest walkthrough holiday market and festival is celebrating its last weekend of the season. Not only is it a vendor market with all kinds of treats and gifts to shop for, but it’s also an immersive walkthrough experience with larger-than-life displays, an amusement park with rides, an outdoor cocktail lounge, and a destination for all things festive.
Where: Bandshell Park, 210 Princes’ Blvd
When: Until December 26th
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CANADA’S WONDERLAND WINTERFEST
Canada’s Wonderland has transformed into a holiday fairytale for its annual WinterFest event. In addition to hundreds of twinkling trees and millions of spectacular lights strung throughout the amusement park, this season’s WinterFest features ice-skating on Snow Flake Lake, tons of live shows and entertainment, two 50-foot Christmas trees, and carolers singing from old fashioned cable car trolleys.
Where: Canada’s Wonderland
When: Until December 31st
DISTILLERY DISTRICT WINTER VILLAGE
The iconic annual tradition that takes place every holiday season in the historic Distillery District is officially back, with a brand new name, look, and feel. You can wander past festive stalls selling handmade gifts and delicious treats, marvel at the towering twinkling trees, and take in the sights and sounds of this special time of year. This year’s market is described as “Toronto’s most magical shopping and dining experience,” and it’s definitely living up to its description!
When: Until December 31st
Where: The Distillery Historic District
SHOP BOXING DAY DEALS
Canada’s biggest sale event of the year is finally around the corner and if you’ve been waiting until now to spoil yourself with gifts, you’ll be happy to know that there are some pretty incredible deals to take advantage of in Toronto this Sunday. Whether you’re looking for a sparkly outfit for New Year’s Eve, a new pair of boots to rock this winter, or a bestseller to keep you company on a snow day, you’ll find it all and much more for much less.
When: Sunday, December 26th
Where: See the best deals in Toronto here
JOURNEY INTO ENCHANTMENT
A drive-thru holiday festival has opened at two locations in the GTA. It’s the largest Christmas drive-thru light event in the entire region, so if you want to experience an enchanting world with your seat warmer on and your favorite songs playing on the radio, this is the place to do it! Buckle up, because this year’s event is bigger, brighter, and more over-the-top than ever.
When: Until January 9th, 2022
Where: Meadowvale GO Station & Mount Joy GO Station
SEE OVER-THE-TOP CHRISTMAS HOMES
One of the best things to do during the holiday season is to throw on a festive playlist and go on a cruise to see holiday lights. There are a few exceptional homes in this city that are worth driving out of your neighborhood for. In fact, these houses are locally famous for bringing their A-game every year and this holiday season is no different! The best part is that they’re totally free to visit, and several of them accept donations for specific charities too.
Where: various locations
HOLIDAY LIGHTS AT CASA LOMA
Casa Loma’s spectacular Holiday Light Tour is one of the city’s most breathtaking sights. Wander through the glowing gardens and tunnels on the property’s grounds, enjoy the live entertainment and take dreamy holiday photos! You can even upgrade your experience to VIP, which includes line bypass, as well as food and beverage credits.
Where: 1 Austin Terrace
When: Until December 30th
HOLIDAY NIGHTS OF LIGHTS
Another festive event is happening in the GTA just north of Toronto in Vaughan. The “holiday lights spectacular” sold out in 2020 and is back even bigger this time around as a walk-through immersive experience and Holiday Fair in the Square. Once you experience the dazzling lights, you can make your way to the market to do a little present shopping and warm up with something tasty to drink.
When: Until January 2nd, 2022
Where: 80 Interchange Way
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a great weekend!