A Toronto Christmas is unforgettable. Not only is Toronto Canada’s largest city, but it is also home to some of Canada’s most iconic Christmas events and performances. As an intensely multicultural city, Christmas in Toronto is a culmination of Christmas traditions from across the world with plenty of opportunities to enjoy art, shopping and holiday dining.
Here are the most magical Christmas events in Toronto. Updated for the 2022 season.
Toronto Christmas Events for 2022
The Santa Claus Parade
The holiday season in Toronto kicks off each year with the Santa Claus Parade. This year’s parade takes place on November 20, 2022. The parade has been a tradition in Toronto for well over 100 years and is the longest running children’s parade in the world. The Santa Claus Parade is definitely one of the most loved Christmas events in Toronto.
Animated floats, marching bands, celebrity clowns, costumed participants, and of course, Jolly Old St. Nicholas, make their way through the streets of downtown Toronto past cheering crowds.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people watch the parade live on the streets of Toronto, and millions more Canadians watch at home.
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The Calvalcade of Lights
Another celebration early in the holiday season in Toronto is the Cavalcade of Lights which includes a tree lighting ceremony for the city’s official Christmas Tree in Nathan Phillips Square.
In addition to the tree lighting, the festive event includes performances by musicians, a fireworks show, and an outdoor skating party at the Nathan Phillips Square ice rink outside City Hall.
Holiday Shopping at The Distillery Winter Village
If you are looking for an atmosphere similar to the famous European Christmas Markets, you will find it in the heart of downtown Toronto in the historic Distillery District.
Here, the Distillery Winter Village, formerly the Toronto Christmas Market, provides Torontonians and visitors with the opportunity to experience the old-world charm of traditional markets during the weeks leading up to Christmas.
The 2022 Distillery Winter Village features a stunning 50-foot white spruce christmas tree with 400 custom midnight blue ornaments, 1,700 shiny and matte gold balls, and 70,000 twinkling lights.
Explore magical lighting, family-friendly entertainment, delicious food, and tasty drinks. Don’t miss the charming market stalls selling locally handcrafted items.
This Distillery Winter Village is one of the longest running Christmas events in Toronto beginning November 17, 2022 and running through New Year’s Eve.
Tickets are required on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays after 4:00 pm, and December 27-31 after 4:00 pm. Kids 9 and under are FREE of charge. All other times, access is free of charge and tickets are not required.
Toronto Christmas Shopping Events
Holiday Fair at Nathan Phillips Square
Holiday Fair in Nathan Phillips Square returns this year from December 2nd through December 23rd, 2022 and is fast becoming another well-loved Toronto holiday tradition. In addition to the ever-popular skating at the rink in Nathan Phillips Square, visitors can now enjoy an artisan marketplace, tasty festive treats, entertainment, a holiday midway and a visit to Santa.
The One of A Kind Christmas Show and Sale
The One of a Kind Christmas Show and Sale is ideal for shoppers looking for unique hand-crafted Christmas gifts. The show runs from November 24 through December 4th, 2022.
Families looking to explore the show will want to attend the One of a Kind Family day on December 2nd, 2022. Special activities include a scavenger hunt card game, crafting and colouring activities, and draws for prizes from local makers. Families can also take the perfect holiday portrait at the One of a Kind photo booth.
The show, held at Exhibition Place from November 24- December 4, 2022, is the largest consumer craft show in North America and features handmade designs by over 800 artisans from Canada and the United States.
The National Ballet of Canada’s The Nutcracker
Generations of Canadian children have been raised with the tradition of seeing The National Ballet of Canada‘s production of The Nutcracker.
Choreographed by James Kudelka who served as Resident Choreographer of The National Ballet of Canada, the performance of The Nutcracker includes many surprising and whimsical takes on Marius Petipa’s beloved classic.
This year’s performance takes place December 10 -31, 2022 with both matinée and evening performances.
In addition, a Nutcracker Story Time also takes place 45 minutes prior to each performance at the Four Seasons Centre. The story time is designed to familiarize children with the story before watching the ballet.
Pantomime at the Elgin Theatre
Families looking for more rambunctious entertainment will be delighted with Ross Petty Production’s English-style pantomime performed at the Elgin Theatre each year.
These fractured fairytales are fun for everyone in the family with a blend of comedy, music, pop culture references, and audience participation.
This year, experience Peter’s Final Flight from December 2nd, 2022 to January 7, 2023.
Christmas Events in Toronto at Museums & Other Attractions
Casa Loma – Christmas at the Castle
Christmas is the most magical time of the year at Toronto’s Casa Loma. First, make sure to see the beautifully decorated 40 foot tall festive tree that greets visitors as they enter the Great Hall.
Then, enjoy holiday programming including sing-a-longs with live carolers, magic shows, and scavenger hunts. As if that isn’t enough, Casa Loma also offers arts and crafts, treat decorating, a dazzling light display in the gardens, and more.
Black Creek Pioneer Village – Santa at the Village and Festive Nights
Visit fun historical attractions such as Black Creek Pioneer Village during the holidays. The 19th-century village dresses up for Christmas and festive programming fills its weekends.
During Santa at the Village, families can try their hand at toy making, discover holiday magic at the School for Elves, craft old-time holiday decorations, and participate in melody making during the Jingle Bell Jam Session. Santa at the Village takes place on weekends from December 3rd to December 17th, 2022.
For three evenings in December, visitors may also experience Festive Nights. While there, enjoy a Victorian Christmas with live music, food, and activities in the lamp-lit village.
Outdoor Ice Skating in Toronto
For many Torontonians, celebrating the holidays means bundling up to skate outdoors. Two of the most popular free outdoor skating venues in the city are Nathan Phillips Square and the Natrel Harbourfront Centre rink. After your spins are done, enjoy a steaming cup of hot chocolate.
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