Story by Vacay.ca Staff
Christmas markets have been a December staple in Europe for centuries. In Canada, the concept of a food-focused, music-filled, carnival-style celebration around the holidays has only recently flourished. In major cities across the country, Christmas and holiday-themed markets are becoming big attractions. They’re also a highlight of Vacay.ca’s festival round-up for December.
Ontario is a great place to be this month. The Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery District has something for everyone and the CAA Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls is a must-see showcase of luminescence.
Here is Vacay.ca’s list of the top festivals happening across the country for December:
EDITORS’ PICK!!! Toronto Christmas Market
Dates: Until December 16
A Toronto favourite, this free annual event captures all of the tradition, heritage and charm of a European Christmas market, while showcasing hundreds of unique and local handcrafted products. Family-friendly entertainment includes musicians, carollers and children’s choirs. A highlight this year will be performances from musicians who are much more well-known than in years past. Among them are Suzie McNeil, Royal Wood and Measha Brueggergosman, who opened the market on Friday night. The market, sponsored by Lowe’s, features a 45-foot spruce tree that’s beautifully decorated for the holidays.
CAA Winter Festival of Lights
Dates: Until January 31, 2013
As if the Falls weren’t a good enough reason to head for the border! The CAA Winter Festival of Lights turns Niagara Falls into a winter wonderland, with over three million sparkling lights along a 6-km route.
Van Dusen Botanical Garden – Festival of Lights
Dates: December – January
Be dazzled when millions of twinkling lights turn the centre of the garden into a realm of sheer wonder. Delight in the effects created along Lake Walk with the Symphony of Dancing Lights set to seasonal music or come listen to the many community choirs that will appear each night on the deck.
EDITORS’ PICK!!! Vancouver Christmas Market
Dates: Until December 24
Stroll through the festively decorated outdoor Christmas village and be treated to row upon row of illuminated wooden huts offering handmade gifts and tempting treats.
EDITORS’ PICK!!! Nalujuks Night – Mummers Festival
St. John’s, Newfoundland
Dates: 2 – 16
After the church service at 7 pm, the Nalujuks come out from far away islands with sticks and whips to chase young people who dare to come out on the road. People who are caught by a Nalujuk have to sing a Christmas carol in Inuktitut so they won’t get hit. Children receive candies and treats from the Nalujuks.
What does that all mean? It’s a good reason for adults to dress up like it’s Halloween and try to coax a free drink out of a neighbour or favourite bartender.
The Museum’s Christmas Market
Dates: Weekends, 7-16
Come and meet local vendors, discover delicious regional products and unique handmade objects, and experience the creativity and enthusiasm that drive area artisans.