Is Toronto’s Christmas Market family friendly?

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Great family-friendly activity in Toronto –
Christmas Market in the Distillery District

Is Toronto’s Christmas Market Family Friendly?

Toronto’s Christmas Market has become a Christmas tradition for many Toronto residents and it is drawing attention from visitors also. This year the Market was from November 14 – December 22, 2019. I decided to take a quick trip with my two daughters to see the market before it closed for the season. I’m so glad I did. This will have to become a tradition for us from now on. I wanted to find out if the Toronto Christmas Market was family-friendly. After spending more than a few hours there this weekend, I understood why it’s become so popular.

Toronto Christmas Market Peace on Earth @DownshiftingPRO scaled
Symbolic Peace, a sculpture of a peace sign that’s illuminated with a variety of religious symbols, was created by Mathew Rosenblatt.

The Toronto Christmas Market is open every day but admission is only charged from Friday afternoon at 6 pm to Sunday evening. There are a variety of entry-level prices with VIP passes letting you cut the line and receive a free hot chocolate! Although the $12 General Admission is a bit steep if you are a family, it goes towards a few good causes. It benefits three charities: The Daily Bread Food Bank, Plan International Canada and the Toronto Star Santa Clause Fund. All of these non-profit organizations are family-focused and play a role in helping children both locally and globally.

Angel of Peace Toronto Christmas Market Peace on Earth @DownshiftingPRO
Angel of Peace

The market is an outdoor festival located in the Distillery District. There are both food and retail vendors spread out throughout the alleys. There is also a small mainstage with entertainment throughout the day and evening. Located a few blocks east of St. Lawrence Market, you can certainly make a weekend of visiting both locations. Maybe even take in a play. There are hotels that have Christmas Market specials including the iconic Fairmont Royal York,

All sorts of performances occur on the mainstage

Looking for protection from the snow and cold? Visit one of the permanent Distillery District retailers or restaurants which are open 7 days a week. On Monday, the Market closes but the stores are. You will find interesting shops with unique gift ideas. One of our favourites was Bergo and The Sports Gallery at the Distillery.

The Sports Gallery had a large selection of hockey paraphernalia (jerseys, tuques, pucks, posters etc.) from original 6 teams and current (and pas) Canadian hockey franchises. Growing up in Montreal, I loved seeing all the Habs logos over the years.

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Retro Hockey Jerseys from the Original 6 & Canadian teams

After walking around for a while, we opted to sit in a restaurant instead of just buying food at a stall. We asked for recommendations from one of the store owners. She suggested Cluny. We were both impressed and disappointed as our meal was good but the decor was fabulous. Very Paris Bistro. Unfortunately, you are not allowed in-and-out privileges so you have to eat at one of the restaurants or pubs in the Distillery District. These establishments may be good but they can also be very pricey. A quick tip: make sure you clearly specify you want regular tap water or they will bring bottled water – with the cap already off – frequently.

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As we walked around we saw cute artisanal Christmas gifts from glass-blown ornaments, woollen hats, scarves and mittens to nesting doll. There were also a few commercial vendors, as well as stalls representing permanent Distillery District shops (i.e. Balzac’s, Yummi Candles, Lil Arvo). Be sure and drop by Arvo for some chocolate fondue.

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Delicious pastries at the
Toronto Christmas Market

I loved walking around and people watching. Those holding long potato spirals or chocolatey waffles cones which were works of art. There were girlfriends having drinks at Naughty or Nice lounge and couples taking the perfect Instagram shot at the Estrella Star.

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Ferris Wheel at the Toronto Christmas Market

There was a ferris wheel which just reminded me of my childhood. Happy families were surrounding me all day. It was touching to see them talking to the Angel of Peace (as I called her because she was always close to the PEACE sign). All in all, the Toronto’s Christmas Market is family friendly and not to be missed.

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Margarita Ibbott is a travel and lifestyle blogger. She blogs about travel in Canada, the United States and Europe giving practical advice through restaurant, hotel and attraction reviews. She writes for DownshiftingPRO.com and other online media outlets.