Get ready to celebrate the season—Toronto-style. Here’s a roundup of exciting limited-time-only events to make your vacation merry and bright!
Magic is in the air, as the winter holidays are full steam ahead in 2022. Some of Toronto’s favourite landmarks and attractions are going all out this season: here are nine festivals, markets, exhibits and events to get you in the festive spirit.
Capture the magic at a holiday festival
WinterFest at Canada’s Wonderland
Whether you have kids or are a kid at heart, put WinterFest at the top of your list. An immersive holiday experience for the whole family, this event features live shows and holiday entertainment, ice skating on Snow Flake Lake and even a few rides.
Canada’s fave amusement park lives up to its name, with hundreds of beautiful Christmas trees and millions of spectacular lights throughout the park, including two 15 m (50 ft) Christmas trees. – Select dates, November 18–December 31, 2022
Embrace the holiday spirit at Glow Christmas, a premium indoor holiday festival and market. Explore the sparkling Around the World-themed light gardens, snack on festive food and drinks, enjoy live entertainment and—yes!—tackle your holiday shopping at the Merry Makers’ Market of local vendors. Bring the kids to ride the illuminated glow-comotive and visit Santa. – November 30–December 30, 2022
Shop local at a holiday market
Stackt Holiday Market
Dive into an innovative holiday experience at stackt, North America’s largest shipping container market. Created entirely from repurposed shipping containers, the downtown market is a local fave for its unique shops, dining and microbrewery.
During the festive season, check out Holiday Hills, six weeks of “holiday feels,” with vendor markets, games, Instagram-friendly photo experiences and live music. It’s a great opportunity to support small businesses and participate in community-led workshops and family programming. – November 18 – December 31, 2022
Toronto Zoo Holiday Marketplace
We all go a little wild when it comes to winter fun—and there’s nothing wilder than the Toronto Zoo (Canada’s largest)! Besides seeing your fave animals, you’ll be able to browse the Toronto Zoo Holiday Marketplace, a two-day showcase of 40+ amazing local artisans and producers.
Wander the zoo’s 10 km (6 miles) of scenic trails, then check out the wildlife of the Americas, Africa, Indo-Malaya and Australasia. If you’re there after dark, get tickets to Terra Lumina, an immersive illuminated night walk, complete with stunning video projections and multimedia effects. – November 19 and 20, 2022
Indulge in a holiday feast
Holiday dining atop the CN Tower
Is there anything more magical than delectable food, sparkling company… and spectacular views of the city lights? That’s what’s on the menu at 360 Restaurant, which provides a breathtaking vantage point 350 m (1,151 ft) above the twinkling city streets.
Past years have included holiday menus in addition to the restaurant’s seasonal offerings. There’s also a special three-course Indigenous Menu designed by Chef David Wolfman, featuring Arctic char crudo, bison tenderloin and partridge berry parfait.
Toast the season with a special bottle from the 360’s “cellar in the sky” with 550 international and Canadian wines on offer. BONUS: Complimentary access to the CN Tower’s Main Observation Level with a minimum food order.
Explore Canadian culture at a holiday arts event
Holiday events & Denyse Thomasos at the AGO
Art galleries are a cultured way to escape the chill on colder days. This season, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) offers festive foods and unique gifts. Whether it’s a seasonal menu at the AGO Bistro or one-of-a-kind artist gifts at shopAGO, the possibilities seem endless.
As for the art itself, do carve out time for Denyse Thomasos: just beyond, a retrospective of the late Canadian-Trinidadian painter, one the brightest contemporary talents to emerge in the 1990s – Now through February 20, 2023
Kent Monkman at the ROM
One of Canada’s brightest art stars, Kent Monkman’s alter ego, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, takes centre stage at Kent Monkman: Being Legendary at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). Curated by the celebrated Cree painter and performance artist himself, the exhibit includes new original paintings as well as selections from the ROM’s permanent collections.
For an adults-only night at the museum, check it out during ROM After Dark, which includes music, drinks and merriment. – Now through March 19, 2023 (Kent Monkman: Being Legendary); November 25 and December 31, 2022 (ROM After Dark)
Merry Merry Music at the Eaton Centre
Catch live performances showcasing local talent from a diverse variety of musical genres and backgrounds at the CF Eaton Centre mall’s Merry Merry Music concert series. It kicks off with a live celebration featuring Chantal Kreviazuk and Raine Maida, with a community singalong led by Choir! Choir! Choir!. Weekly shows will follow in the lead-up to Christmas Eve. – Select dates, November 17 (5-6 p.m.)–December 24, 2022
National Ballet of Canada's The Nutcracker
Hailed as "the best Nutcracker on the planet" by The Globe and Mail, the National Ballet of Canada's performance of The Nutcracker is a must-see. James Kudelka's famed adaptation puts a Canadian spin on the Russian classic, including snowballs, dancing bears and farm animals. – December 10–31, 2022
Holiday Lights at Casa Loma
This December, experience the wonder of the season at the spectacular Christmas at the Castle and Holiday Lights Tour at Casa Loma. Stroll a dazzling wonderland of holiday decor—including a 12 m (40 ft) tall Christmas tree in the historic castle's Great Hall.
Next, take in the breathtaking light displays in the gardens and tunnels, all decorated for the festive season. Designed as a self-guided walk, guests can meander the property's grounds while enjoying the elaborate decorations, captivating illumination and live musical performances.
Book a table at Blueblood, Casa Loma's award-winning steakhouse, for an extra special visit.
O Christmas Tea at The St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts
James and Jamesy's touring show, O Christmas Tea, is making its way across Ontario this December. Praised by CBC as "complete and utter fun… for all ages", this show will be sure to have you and your loved ones laughing. This British comedy is only in town for one night at The St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. Grab your tickets while you can! - December 10, 2022