27 family-friendly Christmas events to check out in Toronto

Dec 6 2017, 6:17 pm

Christmas is all about family.

And the good news is, Santa is in town.

So besides having Home Alone on repeat with the kids, check out these family-friendly Christmas events in Toronto this month!

Toronto Christmas Market

What: Toronto’s Christmas Market brings the spirit of the season to life! Easily one of Toronto’s favourite holiday events, come and enjoy the magic of Christmas, traditional music and dance performances, and activities for the whole family to enjoy. If you haven’t checked it out yet, make sure to head down soon.

When: Now until December 23
Where: Distillery Historic District, 55 Mill Street

Black Creek Pioneer Village Old-Fashioned Christmas

What: If you’ve grown a little tired of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, you might want to pay Toronto’s Black Creek Pioneer Village a visit to experience Village’s annual Old-Fashioned Christmas. There’s plenty to see and do, including some holiday classics like singing Christmas carols, trimming a Christmas tree, horse-drawn wagon rides and visits with Santa.

When: Now until December 23,  11:30 am to 4 pm
Where: Black Creek Pioneer Village, 1000 Murray Ross Pkwy, North York

Polar Express

What: This holiday season, you’re invited to embark on a magical holiday journey as you take a ride on the Polar Express.  Operated by the Waterloo Central Railway, passengers will be whisked away to the sounds of the beloved film’s motion soundtrack, enjoy freshly prepared hot cocoa and holiday treats and they will also receive a very special visit from Santa, and each child will be given their first gift of Christmas – a silver sleigh bell.

When: Now until December 23. Select times available, check the website for details.
Waterloo Central Railway Train Museum Platform, 50 Isabella Street

Holiday Fair in the Square

What:  This massive holiday market and winter carnival located outside Toronto City Hall kicks off on December 1 and runs until the day before Christmas Eve. Look forward to holiday shopping, an ice bar, and plenty of festive foods including a two-handed festive feast dubbed Deep Fried Christmas, plus Beavertails, poutine, fudge, and more.

When: Now until December 23
Where: Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen St West

Santa Claus in the Mall

What: Didn’t get to see Santa in the Santa Claus parade this year? Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time to pay the big man in red a visit before December 25. He’ll be meeting with good little boys and girls at various malls across the city over the next few weeks.

When: Now until December 24
Where: Various locations across the city

Evergreen Winter Village

What: Roast s’mores over the open campfire and enjoy warm beverages from the Sipping Container while shopping or playing street curling at this Winter Village. Hungry for more? Look forward to a rotating line-up of food trucks serving up comfort foods ranging from crêpes to gourmet grilled cheese, and more.

When: Weekends in December and weekdays from December 26 to 29, 10 am to 5 pm
Where: 550 Bayview Avenue, Toronto

A Christmas Carol

What: The beloved holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, is taking the stage at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre this evening. Ross Petty Productions will be putting on their unique take of the story this holiday season. Cyrus Lane will make his Petty Panto debut as everyone’s favourite Christmas curmudgeon, Ebenezer Scrooge.

When: Now until December 30
Where: Elgin Theatre, 189 Yonge Street

Simcoe Christmas Panorama

What: Although this is a bit of a trek from Toronto, it’s perfect for those wanting to go on a festive road trip. Each year, Simcoe puts on an incredible light display called Christmas Panorama that features over 60 dazzling light displays. The spectacle shimmers with thousands of lights transforming the downtown parks into a winter wonderland, attracting visitors from across the province and the US.

When: Now until December 31
Where: Wellington Park, 50 Bonnie Drive, Simco

Yorkville Village Holiday Magic

What: Toronto’s Yorkville Village lights up each holiday season with its annual Holiday Magic event. If you’re shopping in the area, we highly recommend checking out the beautifully lit Christmas tree and taking in the incredible glittering light displays and festive decorations that line the streets.

When: Now until December 31
Village of Yorkville Park, 115 Cumberland Street

The Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls

What: The annual Winter Festival of Lights stretches over 8 kilometers in Niagara and will run through to the end of January. Attracting over 1 million visitors annually, this incredible spectacle is Canada’s largest lights festival. Just imagine a breathtaking, colourful scene with millions of sparkling lights and animated displays that extends to Dufferin Islands. And yes, it’s completely free to attend!

When: Now until the end of January
Where: Niagara Falls

Burlington Festival of Lights

What: The Burlington Festival of Lights is the city’s longest-running festival, which lights up the waterfront from dusk to dawn over the holiday season. Now in its 22nd year, the festival will feature 60 festive displays that can be viewed up close or from the warmth of your car.

When: Now until January 8th
Where: Spencer Smith Park, Burlington, Ontario

Light Up the Beach

What: Now in its 10th year, Light Up the Beach features more than 80,000 twinkling Christmas lights along the Toronto Beaches boardwalk to support The Michael Garron Hospital Foundation. The light display is truly a sight to see and a holiday tradition that every Torontonian should enjoy.

When: Now until mid-February
Where: At the foot of Leuty Avenue, The Beaches

Skating at Harbourfront Centre

What: When the weather starts to drop, it means it’s officially time to go skating. And it just so happens that the city’s most scenic rink has opened its doors for the winter season. The Natrel Rink is complete with heated indoor change rooms and its own rink-side bar and grill for those interested in getting a snack post-skate. The best part? Skating at the Harbourfront rink is totally free. 

When: Now until spring
Where: Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West

Winter at Ontario Place

What: Ontario Place will be welcoming a new festival this December: Winter at Ontario Place. The new festival will feature various winter-themed activities including the Winter Light Exhibition, skating on the new synthetic skating rink and film screenings at the newly re-opened Cinesphere.

When: December 8 to March 18, 2018
Where: Ontario Place

Milk and Cookies with Santa and Mrs. Claus

What: Ho Ho Ho! Santa is coming to the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory. Kids can have fun decorating cookies and get a chance to meet Santa an Mrs. Claus.

When: December 9, 11 am to 3 pm
Where: Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory, 2500 Kossuth Road

Breakfast With Santa

What: This holiday season, join Santa for breakfast under the sea. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada will be hosting a mouth-watering breakfast with Jolly Old Saint Nicholas. Tickets include: breakfast, complimentary coat check, a family photo with Santa, general admission to the aquarium, and a gift for your child to take home.

When: December 9, 10, 16 & 17, 8 am to 9 pm
Where: Ripley’s Aquarium, 288 Bremner Boulevard

Brunch with Santa at the Royal Botanical Gardens

What: Join Santa for a delicious buffet brunch at the Royal Botanical Gardens. Once you’ve satisfied your appetite, you can explore the grounds and take in the festive decorations.

When: December 9, 10, & 17, 10 am
Where: 680 Plains Road West

Hot Cocoa and Gingerbread House Fun with Mrs. Claus

What: Kids are invited to join Santa and Mrs. Claus for an afternoon filled with snow-dusted dusBelgiangian waffles and warm cocoa. Children will then work with Mrs. Claus to create and decorate their very own Gingerbread house and end the evening with story time and dance party.

When: December 9, 16, 23 & 24, 9:30 am
Where: 8611 Weston Road, Unit 28

The Nutcracker

What: Ever since its premiere in St. Petersburg in 1892, The Nutcracker has been an integral and irreplaceable part of Christmas celebrations worldwide and a work of theatrical exuberance synonymous with the unfettered joys of childhood wonderment.

When: December 9 to 30
Where: Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen Street West

Post-a-Letter: Holiday Edition

What: Come and enjoy paper crafts and festive treats, as you catch up on your holiday correspondence and mail your letters to Santa.

When: December 11, 12 pm to 4 pm
Where: Toronto’s First Post Office Museum, 260 Adelaide East

Visits with Santa at the Royal Botanical Gardens

Santa Claus is coming to town! While the elves are hard at work up at the North Pole, Santa Claus is visiting RBG and is ready to hear what’s on your wish list this holiday season. Just be sure you’re on the nice list.

When: December 13 & 20, 5 pm to 8 pm
Where: 680 Plains Road West

Pia Bouman School Presents The Nutcracker

What: The Pia Bouman School of Ballet and Creative Movement will be hosting its 32nd annual production of the Nutcracker this month. This rendition of the beloved fairytale classic embraces the charitable spirit of the season.

When: December 15 to 17
Where: 6 Noble Street, Toronto

Hot Docs’ Free Holiday Classics Screenings

What: Come and get into the holiday spirit at a free screening of your favourite holiday movies! Hot Docs Cinema will be hosting free screenings of Elf, A Christmas Story, Love Actually, and more!

When: December 16 to December 22
Where: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, 506 Bloor Street West

DJ Skate Nights

What: Sharpen your skates and skills as Toronto’s number one outdoor winter party. This year you can expect another stellar lineup of DJs that will bring the heat to your Saturday nights.

When: December 16 to February 17 (Saturday’s from 8 pm to 11 pm)
Where: Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West

Christmas Joy

What: Come and enjoy a fun evening of games, crafts, and activities, followed by a story, music, and even a delicious turkey dinner!

When: December 20, 5:30 pm to 7 pm
Where: Hope United Church, 2550 Danforth

Casa Loma Canadian Winter Nights

What: This holiday season, the castle will be celebrating the season bigger than before by hosting a number of incredible festive events. There will also be plenty of holiday décor and lights to get you into the festive spirit, including a 40ft tall tree in the Great Hall, designed by Fashion Icon Jeanne Beker and eight other signature trees by talented Canadian designers.

When: December 18 to January 7, 5 pm to 9 pm (excluding December 24, 25, 31 and January 6)
Where: Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace

NYE at Nathan Phillips Square

What: Nathan Phillips Square is hosting a massive New Year’s Eve celebration to ring in 2018. The final send-off to the year-long celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday will kick off at 8 pm at Toronto’s City Hall and will include an exhilarating evening of entertainment with dynamic DJ’s, live electronic music, site animations, a DJ skating party sponsored by Tim Horton’s and a stunning fireworks display at midnight.

When: December 31, 2017
Where: Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen Street West, Toronto

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