It’s that time of year again – holiday shopping, sitting by the fireplace, and perhaps going out to your local Christmas Market. What’s great about these markets is that you get the opportunity to see locally-made goods (which is rare at this day and age), whether it be ornaments, decorations, clothing, accessories, or even candy.
Though we are not anywhere near Europe geographically, we are lucky enough to have a little piece of another continent in Toronto once a year leading up to Christmas. This year, from November 20th until December 20th, you have the opportunity to visit the beautiful market in The Distillery District in Downtown Toronto.
This year, though, is different from the others. The Toronto Christmas Market is charging a fee of $5 per person for entry on Saturdays and Sundays. Many are finding this unfair to low-income families, or people who are accustomed to visiting the market in large groups every weekend. Do I really think it’s unfair? No. The TO Xmas Market experienced high volumes in crowd on weekends in past years, and the fee is not only a way to control the crowds, but a way for our city to give to charity.
Don’t want to pay the fee? No problem. The Market is open 12:00-9:00 Tues-Thurs, and until 10:00pm on Fridays. Mondays are a day off for all the hard-working people making the event possible (though The Distillery District remains open 7 days a week). You can find more official information here.
I went on a Wednesday morning, just at opening time. With my coffee and croissant in hand, I was able to sit outside at a small cafe table and watch all the little booths open up for the day. It was not too crowded, the sun was shining, and though I didn’t get the opportunity to take in all the Christmas lighting in its full nighttime splendour, it was still a very rewarding outing. The Distillery District is a great place to shop for holiday gifts of all sorts, whether it be from their permanent shops, or the temporary holiday booths.
You are guaranteed to get into the holiday spirit if you even spend as little as 10 minutes inside the market. I will definitely be back again before they close for the season, presumably for an evening stroll after exams come to an end!
How To Ensure Your Visit Will Be More Than Perfect:
Parking: If you are not comfortable with parallel parking, be prepared to pay a price. When I went with a friend, I parked on the lot (I can’t parallel) for $15, whereas she paid $6 on the street for 3 hours.
Figure out what you prefer: Do you want to see the lights at night shining bright? Or you prefer to avoid the crowds, get some gift-shopping done, and spend a peaceful afternoon in the sun with a cup of coffee? If you have a clear idea of what kind of market experience you’d like, and you plan your day and time accordingly, it’ll definitely be more rewarding.
Make a budget and a plan: I hate this. I really do. I sometimes wish I could have all the money in the world so I could walk around and buy whatever I please. But normally, that’s not the case. Decide whether you plan to buy gifts and holiday decorations, or just have a cup of coffee and a pastry, and then plan and budget keeping that in mind.
Hopefully you will have the opportunity to visit the Toronto Christmas Market this year, and will find it just as great as I did!
Have you been to the market yet?
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