Lowe's Toronto Christmas Market

December Festivals: Christmas spirit

Lowe's Toronto Christmas Market

An old-fashioned European Christmas market, filled with food and concoctions, is what you will find at the historic Distillery District in Toronto this month. (Julia Pelish/Vacay.ca)

Story by Vacay.ca Staff

Angel and Santa Lowe's Toronto Christmas Market

The Christmas Angel and Santa Claus greet guests at the Lowe’s Toronto Christmas Market during its opening night on Friday. (Julia Pelish/Vacay.ca)

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.

Vancouver also has some awesome light shows happening with the Van Dusen Botanical Garden Festival of Lights and the Vancouver Christmas Market.

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
Niagara Falls
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.

British Columbia

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.

Vicky is the worldly publisher of Vacay.ca. Having graduated from McGill University in Montreal, she has set about building a talented team of travel experts to deliver to you words and images of the very best places to see and experience in Canada. Based in Yorkville in Toronto, Vicky regularly jet sets around Canada — be sure to catch up with her when she's in your part of the country.

One Comment

  • Vancouver Christmas

    December 2, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    We’re really happy to be one of the Editor’s picks! We hope to your wonderful readers at this year’s market! Happy holidays to all your wonderful staff. And the great thing is that one admission will get you a a season’s pass to the Vancouver Christmas Market.


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