Loading articles...

A Christmas wonderland in Toronto: weekend guide

Last Updated Dec 1, 2018 at 8:16 am EDT

The Holiday Fair in the Square at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto. TWITTER/HolidayFairTO

“City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style. In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas.”

Christmas Day is less than a month away and the holiday season is now in full swing. The malls are bustling, pictures are being taken with Santa, cider is mulling, gingerbread is baking, and people are out and about at Christmas events and festivals.

With all the hustle during this time of the year, the holidays can sometimes feel hurried. So slow down and enjoy the best of the season. Below are some events to help you plan your festive weekend.


Holiday fair in the square
Nathan Phillips Square is already a hub of festive cheer with its grand Christmas tree and twinkle lights, but starting on Friday, a holiday fair will also take over the square. The Holiday Fair in the Square combines the small town charm of a Christmas market with an exhilarating winter carnival. After checking out all of the stalls and grabbing a bite to eat, skate on the rink surrounded by the beauty of the season. The fair runs until December 23.

Christmastime at the beach
A holiday tradition kicks off Friday in the Beach. More than 80,000 LED bulbs will be strung through the oak, maple, and willow trees that line the shores of Lake Ontario along the boardwalk for Light Up the Beach. Santa himself will be on-hand at 7 p.m. Friday to light each tree in sequence. The lights stretch from the Leuty Lifeguard House to the Balmy Beach Club, and will stay up until late February.

Christmas at the castle
Casa Loma will be transformed into Christmas wonderland starting this weekend for A Nutcracker Christmas at the Castle. When you enter the castle, you will be greeted by a 40-foot tree in the Great Hall and eight other trees decorated by Canadian designers. Check out live shows by an illusionist entertainer and ice skaters, stop by and visit Santa in his workshop, decorate some festival treats, try some arts and crafts. Browse the outdoor holiday market as you hum tunes the orchestra is playing in the background. At night, the gardens around the castle will be lit up in all the colours of the season. Click here for hours and ticket information.

Holiday market in the Junction
The Junction will play host to a fun holiday market this weekend. Starting this Friday, residents will be able to enjoy pop-up shops, live music, holiday treats, and more throughout the neighbourhood. You can even take a photo with Santa Claus. The Junction Holiday Market takes place on Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Winter village in the city
Starting this weekend, the Evergreen’s Winter Village will bring you the best of the holiday season. Lace up your skates and join the fun on the rink, search for one-a-kind gifts at the holiday market, and devour yummy treats from food trucks and local vendors. If you prefer a real Christmas tree, you can also pick up a sustainably grown one from the garden market. Admission to the village is free. It is open every weekend in December and the week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Historic holiday at the fort
Fort York is offering the chance to go back in time this weekend with its Frost Fair. Families will be able to experience historic military and music demonstrations, shop for unique, heritage inspired reproductions, and even sample authentic recipes with the volunteer historic cooks. This free event takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

TTC and road closures

Partial Line 1 closure on two days
On Saturday, subways won’t be running on Line 1 between Finch West and St. George stations due to signal work. Then on Sunday, there will be no subway service on the same line between Finch West and Lawrence West stations.

Road closures
Canada’s Walk of Fame Awards: Front Street between Yonge and Scott streets is currently closed and will remain so until 3 a.m. on Sunday. The north curb lane of The Esplanade from Scott to Yonge streets, and the curb lane on Scott south of Front are closed until until midnight Sunday.

Toronto Christmas Market: The northbound and southbound curb lanes on Parliament Street between Lake Shore Boulevard East and Front Street East will be closed from 4 p.m. Friday to midnight Sunday.

Etobicoke Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade: Lake Shore Boulevard West will be closed between Dwight Avenue and Thirty Sixth Street from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.

North Etobicoke Santa Claus Parade: Albion Road from Thistle Down Boulevard to Finch Avenue West will be closed on Sunday from noon to 3:30 p.m.