In the spirit of the season, we’re spotlighting Toronto businesses that are celebrating this magical time of year with festive activities and activations that help position Toronto as a welcoming and inclusive holiday destination.
We asked six local businesses: How do you ensure your holiday activity is inclusive and welcoming to everyone and how do you feel about Toronto as a holiday destination for visitors?
Grace Peacock, Director of Communications, WinterFest at Canada's Wonderland
WinterFest is an immersive holiday experience for the whole family, featuring rides, ice skating, live entertainment, song and dance performances, festive food, activities like cookie decorating with Mrs. Claus and larger-than-life décor including seven million sparkling lights.
“Canada’s Wonderland is committed to providing a park experience that supports the diversity of our guests and associates year-round. WinterFest features popular aspects of Christmas such as Christmas trees, Santa and Christmas music, but we also offer many attractions that are secular in nature. This includes our family activities like ice skating, WinterFest rides, the light and décor installations and holiday shopping opportunities. We have a multi-faith building with a prayer room and an area called Season of Lights that celebrates the diversity of the holidays with light displays honouring Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Diwali, Chinese New Year and more.
Toronto is the perfect holiday destination not only for the sheer number of events and attractions providing visitors with exciting options, but because it is an exceptionally welcoming city. Our celebration of diversity makes it a fun time of year for families of all cultures and faiths.”
Jessica Lynch, Vice President, Strategy and Development, STACKT market
STACKT is on a mission to innovate a new experience where customers, businesses, art and hospitality thrive as one. From November 17 - December 31, immerse yourself in a holiday wonderland full of interactive activities, festive decor, small business shopping, free community-led events and incredible limited-edition food and drink offerings.
“Toronto is a city bursting with diversity, and Holiday Hills is an experience that promises to offer something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you are looking to find the perfect unique gift for the special people on your shopping list, or on the hunt for new ways to connect with loved ones, Holiday Hills is a can't miss destination.
STACKT was built on a foundation of innovating public space in new and creative ways. At Holiday Hills, guests are free to roam around the site and take in all of the festive happenings, no purchase necessary. The festival greets you with something new at every turn, designed to offer accessible activities that are perfect for families, date nights, nights out, and more.
Toronto is a must-do destination for the holidays, and Holiday Hills is the perfect melting pot of seasonal offerings to add to your bucket list.”
Andrea Nickel, Senior Director of Engagement and Experience, Cadillac Fairview
Cadillac Fairview (CF) is one of the largest owners, operators, investors and developers of best-in-class office, retail, multi-family residential, industrial and mixed-use properties in North America. Visit cadillacfairview.com for more information.
“At CF, our shopping centres are considered to be some of the most iconic destinations in Canada and the launch of CF Winterville this holiday season offers something for everyone to have a magical and entertaining visit. Our centres across Toronto are vibrant places with a variety of exciting holiday programming including the beloved tradition of Visits with Santa, beautiful holiday decor, the interactive Canadian Chroma exhibit, and the return of our iconic 114 foot tall Christmas tree at CF Toronto Eaton Centre, which is better than ever. The centre offers a show four times daily where the tree showcases animated lights and is paired with snow to create a magical, wintery wonderland.
Another can’t miss experience is the CF Sherway Gardens pop up Holiday Market. It features unique local vendors, live holiday music, fun family activities and delicious snacks and beverages. CF shopping centres aim to be a top destination for holiday shopping and entertaining experiences and we hope that all guests feel the magic of the holiday season when they come to visit.”
Jeanne Holmes, Manager of City Cultural Events and Programming, City of Toronto
Experience the magic of the holiday season with the City of Toronto’s Cavalcade of Lights presented by Desjardins Group at Nathan Phillips Square until January 7. This free event transforms Toronto City Hall and its surroundings into a downtown winter wonderland where you can enjoy the majestic Christmas tree and bask in the glow of thousands of twinkling LED lights, colourful lanterns and art installations or skate on Toronto’s iconic public skating rink from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
“The City continues to consider how residents and visitors experience Cavalcade of Lights across Toronto with an aim to deliver and invest in more inclusive activities that celebrate our diverse communities. Taking inspiration from cultural celebrations around the world including Christmas, winter solstice, international lantern, fire and light festivals, Cavalcade of Lights includes many joyful and magical elements from a variety of holiday traditions.”
Anthony Casalanguida, General Manager, The Well
A joint venture between RioCan and Allied, The Well is a bold extension of the urban vibrancy of King West. Bordering Front, Spadina and Wellington, it is a mixture of retail, commercial and residential space in downtown Toronto that draws approximately 22,000 daily visitors, including the approximately 11,000 residents and employees that will live and work at The Well.
“The Well presents a Nordic-inspired playground of winter-time delights called Holiday at The Well which presents a series of events and performances for all to enjoy. It’s not just about Christmas here. It’s about celebrating a season of cultural celebrations bringing people together in an inclusive way through skating, libations, music and family entertainment.
Décor elements play on the effects of ice and light in a minimalistic and architecturally focused way, while activations focus on creating a sense of community and belonging. It’s a must-see event where visitors to Toronto would feel welcome.”
Philip Suos, CEO and Founder, Street Eats Market
The Holiday Street Market by Street Eats Market at the CN Tower is a new holiday experience featuring wooden cabins serving festive food and treats from around the world. Visitors can enjoy taking a picture on Santa's sleigh and shop at local artisans, all for free for everyone to enjoy.
“The Holiday Street Market curates the vendors to ensure that there are as many local businesses that reflect the diversity in our city. We welcome everyone to visit, admission is free. Toronto is the ultimate destination for visitors during the holiday season as there are multiple festivals, markets and events happening simultaneously.”
To learn more about other holiday activities happening around Toronto, read Things to Do in Toronto During the Holidays.