The Christmas Market and Lights Festival should be on every Torontonian's winter bucket list

It's wintertime, which means that for those true Canadians out there, it's your prime time. Though the weather hasn't regularly dropped below zero yet, that doesn't mean you can't still have a little bit of winter fun.

Usually Toronto's got lots happening all year round, and the coldest time of the year is no exception. Here's a few of the best events you should head out to experience.

Christmas Market

The Toronto Christmas market is one of the top go-to places around the city and opened its doors for the season last week. New to the market is a 100 foot long wooden tunnel that'll be draped over in lights for people to walk through. Don't forget about the variety of festive food options and the shops spread out throughout the district.

Admission is free from opening time Monday until Friday at 5, at which time it's $6 to get in.


Skating at Nathan Phillips Square

Being one of the most popular spots to hit the outdoor rink, the skating rink outside of city hall generally fills up quick, no matter the time. (There's a bunch of other rinks around town, including at the Harbourfront Centre, down by the lake). It's right near the Eaton Centre, and is only a short ride away from both the Christmas Market and the Lights Festival.

Primetime for taking photos is in the evening when the Toronto sign is lit up, but beware, as this is usually the busiest time of day. There's also a Christmas tree on site here too, but it's significantly shorter than the other ones around the city.

Lights Festival

Throughout the winter there's quite a bit of people who try to hibernate through the cold, going out of their house only when necessary. The Toronto Lights Festival was created last year in hopes of changing this and bringing people downtown 

There's no dates for the festival set in stone yet, but if last year is any indication, it'll start in January and admission will be free.



Every year hundreds of restaurants participate in Winterlicious, where they offer a three-course prix fixe lunch and dinner menu, usually at a bit of a discount. The celebration began in 2003 and was organized by the city in what's usually the slowest time of the year for restaurants.

The selection of restaurants varies each year, but they are hand-selected by the city based on a clean health record, pricing standards and favourable reviews from news publications. Controversy surrounds the festival, including some restaurants accused of using cheaper ingredients, so before choosing a place to eat make sure the reviews online check out.

The details around the event are scarce so far, but it'll begin sometime in January and run for approximately two weeks.

Christmas tree at the Eaton Centre

The Eaton Centre tree is a massive tree, and if you've yet to see if you're definitely missing out. As with last year, it stretches 100 metres tall and is so tall it's hard to get into a picture without standing on the other side of the mall (that's a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point).

For those who live near The Shops at Don Mills, it got the same treatment but with a tree half the size of the one downtown.


Ice Breakers

The Waterfront BIA set up Ice Breakers last year to draw people to the waterfront, they explained to me in an interview last year.  It consists of a series of art exhibits throughout Queens Quay and the harbour front, and focuses on a certain theme that's meant to get people talking.

The theme this year is "Constellation," and is meant to remind people that art can be both fun and engaging. It'll run from January 18 to February 25, 2018.