How to Spend Your Christmas in Toronto

Updated: Jan 2, 2020

Two girls at the Toronto Distillery District
Angie & I wandering around Toronto Christmas Market after 10pm

Happy holidays lovelies!!

Does it feel like Christmas came and went by so quickly? It certainly has for me and I am relieved that I can finally take the time now to relax and enjoy every single moment with my friends and family in the next few days.

Prepping and planning gives me so much anxiety but is it weird to say that I enjoy doing it? I love being in charge of everything and doing things my way while still taking in everyone's opinions into consideration to accommodate everyone else.

As for gift giving this year, I didn't have many people on the list this year. I only had my parents and five kids to buy presents for. I never spend too much time thinking about

what to get for everyone on my list. The less time you think about this kind of stuff, the more time you have for other things. I do not like spending long hours in the mall contemplating what to get for each person. I finished all of my shopping within an hour for the kids at Aritzia for the older kids and Toys R Us for the two babies. For my father, I had new business cards designed and made for him online; and delivered in time to replenish his business cards. As for my mother, I installed a dash cam into her new vehicle. Ever since her car accident in July 2018, the other vehicle that T-boned my mother's vehicle tried to sue my mother. My mother couldn't describe the accident very well to the cops because of her lack of English. However, it was very evident that both my mom and the other driver was hurt very badly. It was unfair to put blame on my mom for turning on a yellow light while the other driver decided to make a quick run through the yellow light instead of slowing down to a red light. Anyways, I will have a peace of mind knowing that she will have a dash cam.

Girl sitting on porch next to oversized teddy bear
Taken on Glenlake Ave & Dorval Rd

After Halloween, comes the Christmas decorations and Christmas music. I spend most of my Christmases at home in Toronto with my friends and family. There is so much happening in Toronto during the holiday season that we take for granted. I always forget how beautiful Toronto is at this time of year. Here are some of my favourite things to do in Toronto during the holidays and who knows, this list might spark some ideas for your Instagram content:

  • Canada's Wonderland Winterfest - This year, the theme park opened its park for Christmas for the first time. It was absolutely magical and decorated with a million fairy lights; some were synced with music. Once you enter the park, there was a magnificent glowing ice rink situated right in the centre by the entrance and in front of the waterfall. There was a photo op everywhere you went, so you'll definitely get a photo without interruption and photobombs by twenty passerby. All of the shops were open, including restaurants and snack bars. All of the rides in KidZville & Planet Snoopy were operating. I was thoroughly impressed with the lightwork and the abundant of activities and shows available so I went twice. However, on my second visit, the park was too busy and crowded so it was hard to capture a good photo without interruption at the best spots even if you waited. I recommend visiting on the first opening weekend when it isn't as crowded. Be prepared to spend a lot of money on food as it is quite expensive for everything (ie. $12 hotdog), dress warm, and charge your phone/camera for plenty of photo ops. Admission was $28.99 before taxes & admin fees, but definitely worth it!

girl posing under cascade of lights by Toronto Eaton Centre
Taken outside of Toronto Eaton Centre
  • Toronto Christmas Market - Every year, the Distillery District hosts the Christmas Market on Mill St & Parliament St. It is the busiest spot of the year so arrive early to avoid the long queue and parking battles. There are plenty of cute little vendors selling homemade goodies and a plethora of shops, restaurants and bars to keep you warm, hydrated and nourished. As for me, I like to arrive after 10pm when the crowd is gone and the small vendors are closed. Why? It's the best time to take photos with nobody around (just me and the giant iconic Christmas tree).

  • A Nutcracker Christmas at the Castle - I actually didn't know about this if I haven't gone on a date with someone I just met. What a wonderful surprise and a magical place for date night. It is at the Casa Loma castle! It was very nostalgic for me because I haven't been here since I was 5 years old. For some reason, I remember the interior differently or maybe it was my young and wild imagination. We arrived at 3pm to catch the magic show by Majinx, which I really enjoyed, followed by an aerialist performance and tour of the castle. The castle closes at 5pm daily. Admission was $32.49, quite expensive for what it is but worth the single visit.

DeSario family house of Christmas lights for Sick Kids Hospital
DeSario family house on 165 Benjamin Boake Trail
Girl sitting on front porch with oversized teddy bear
Taken on Glenlake Ave & Dorval Rd
  • Outlandish Christmas decorated houses - Two nights before Christmas, my best friends and I drove around to look at some of the most outlandish houses decorated with Christmas lights. Here were my top 3 picks: (1) 165 Benjamin Boake Trail - in support for the Sick Kids Hospital by the DeSario family (2) Glenlake Ave & Dorval Rd - my highlight of this house were the two large teddy bears sitting in the front porch as well as the oversized reindeer and Grinch on their front yard. (3) 188 Brock Ave - this house was completed decked out from every crevice. It was hard to miss!

  • Nathan Phillips Square Ice Skating - the busiest skating rink in the city but it does not defer most people from taking their family or dates to this lively rink. It is free and for all levels of skaters. If you're new to skating or don't own your own, you can rent ice skates and helmets for a small fee so bring some cash or bank cards and photo ID for a deposit. Open daily 10am - 10pm.

  • Harbourfront Centre Natrel Rink - Another outdoor ice skating rink and naturally frozen with equipment rental available on-site. Come for the lake view and escape from the downtown noise. Open Sunday to Thursdays from 9am - 10pm and 9am - 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

  • Hudson's Bay Holiday Windows - The Christmas windows at Hudson's Bay on Queen St. West is always exciting to see what they will come up with each year. It has been a holiday tradition for over 100 years. The unveiling of the windows happens mid-November every year so do visit and experience the magic for yourselves.

If there is anything on the list you liked or anything I should check out, please feel free to share them in the comments below. I am always on the hunt for new and interesting places. Most times, my mind goes blank and I am running out of places to go around this big city. I hope this list will help with your planning for next year. Happy holidays! Xo

Photography by Brian Ngo

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