Toronto Christmas Market with kids

Hello December! If you haven’t already jumped on that holiday train, no better place to get those festive feelings flowing than at the Toronto Christmas Market at the Historic Distillery District.

It’s been an annual outing for me and my kids in TOw since my youngest was a babe. We visited this year’s edition during the first week. There is lots of time to check it out – the market is on until Thursday, December 22. But don’t wait until the last day (or the weekends) to enjoy the celebration.

Here are five ways to experience one of the city’s best Christmas markets:

toxmasmktsingalongGo on a weekday: If you can, go on a weekday after work or even better after school to avoid the crowds. You’ll also enjoy free admission. It’s $6 + tax starting at 5 p.m. on Fridays. Children 2-and-under are free. A $20 express pass will get you past the entry lineups.

Go when there is a singalong: There are 300+ performances on the main stage next to the big and gorgeous Christmas Tree. The sure little crowd-pleaser is the daily Santa’s Elves Singalong. On weekdays it’s at 5 p.m. and on weekends 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. (An additional show on PA Day on December 2.) It’s short – around 15 minutes.

Meet Santa: Say hi to Santa and take a pic for free. Or go when a photographer is on-site . Check hours online. Pets get their Santa time on Tuesdays 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.


Take more photos: The Distillery even when it’s not in its market glory is gorgeous. The area is oozing with beautiful spots for photos (and a few more thanks to the sponsors.) Be sure to explore the mini pink tree maze and pose (or photo bomb) in the Heart of Christmas sculpture at the west end of the market.

Ride the ferris wheel and carousel: I always save this for last when it gets dark. It’s magical. (But costs $5 per ride per person.)


Getting there: Very accessible by car and TTC. If you do drive, there paid parking on site. ($1.75 per half-hour to a $14 max.) More details.toxmasmktheart

Hours: Noon to 9 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday; noon to 10 p.m. on Fridays; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays. Market is closed on Mondays – but the Distillery’s shops and restaurants are open daily.

Food: There are lots of food vendors – saw fries and gourmet grilled cheese – plus a lot of samples to sample. There are not really any areas to sit down other than at the cafes and restaurants. FYI: Mill Street Brewpub and Beer Hall have a kids menu and El Catrin Destileria has a young amigos menu.

While you’re there: Check out Soulpepper’s month-long Family Festival offering music, theatre and magic for a family-friendly audience.