Credit: The Distillery Winter Village
As if it were straight out of a Hallmark movie, The Distillery Winter Village, formerly known as the Toronto Christmas Market, is an annual can’t-miss event. The outdoor holiday-themed market offers visitors all the sights, sounds and tastes that one might expect from a winter wonderland.
To help you plan your visit this holiday season, we’re sharing 6 things you should know about The Distillery’s 2023 Winter Village!
Before you go
The Distillery Winter Village is now open! Here are a few details to help you plan your trip:
- The Distillery Winter Village shopping cabins and food vendors open at noon on Tuesdays to Sundays, closed Mondays, running until December 23rd
- Tickets, available for purchase here, are $11 each (+HST), kids 9 and under are FREE of charge
Note: tickets are only required after 4pm on Fridays through Sundays, and between December 27-31 after 4:00 pm, but admission is free at all other hours of operation
- You can come and stay as long as you like - for ticket-admission blocks of time, tickets apply to gate-entry only and do not dictate duration of visit
- The Distillery Historic District year-round shops, restaurants and cafés, are still open seven days a week, starting at 10:00 am daily
- Check the forecast a few hours before your visit and dress accordingly. Hooded coats, umbrellas in the case of rain, gloves and scarves are always a good idea - winter weather can be unpredictable and it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Tips for your visit
Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind for your visit to The Distillery Winter Village this season:
- Parking is limited and not easy to come by during peak visiting hours, especially with construction and local traffic in mind; consider public transit, micomobilitiy or the Distillery District Bike Share Toronto stations, which can be found on Mill Street and Trinity Street.
- For those planning to drive over, there are some Green P parking options in the area, including one at 2 Church Street/St. Lawrence Market. This one offers ample parking and is accessible to The Distillery via a 15-minute walk.
- Plan for a long visit, and dress appropriately. This is a predominantly outdoor experience, so regardless of mild weather forecasts, prepare for the evening chill and dress in layers. You’ll want to comfortable explore all that the seasonal merchants, restaurants and cafes have to offer, without feeling rushed along because of the weather.
Can’t miss food
This year’s Winter Village is sure to cater to every palette, with culinary offerings such as: Venezuela Pies, Authentic Mexican Churros, Hot Sauces, Columbian Paisa-Style Empanadas, Atlantic Lobster, Ukrainian Pierogies, Pretzels, Polpette (stuffed meatballs), Grilled Cheese, Frites, Crepes, Doughnuts, and more! You’ll also want to keep an eye out for a food truck offering Japanese-Style Karaage Chicken, Reuben and Pulled Pork Sandwiches.
There are also seven bars located in the Winter Village, including the festive Naughty or Nice Bar and the Thirsty Elf Bar.
There are over 75 retailers and over 10 restaurants throughout The Distillery District.
Shoppers will have their pick of trendy fashion, one-of-a-kind gifts, home decor, handcrafted goods, unique jewellery, and indulgent self-care services and products, to name a few.
Looking to get some holiday shopping done while you visit the Winter Village? Check out their official gift guide here.
You can find a full list of local retailers here.
The best photo ops in the village
This year’s Winter Village, sponsored by Dior, is full of spectacular backdrops and photo opportunities.
Here are just a few of the can’t miss photo op spots in The Distillery’s Winter Village:
- What would a holiday village be without a Christmas tree? This year’s Winter Village boasts a jaw-dropping 50-foot tall white Spruce, designed by Dior. The tree has been accented with 1,700 shiny and matte ball ornaments, 400 custom “midnight blue” ornaments and a whopping 70,000 twinkling lights
- Holiday photo walls are located throughout the Village, including multiple 7’ tall snowpeople, the Villages’ iconic Big Heart, 11’ LED stars and of course, Santa’s sleigh
- Santa’s Elves will be roaming about the Village, you can share your photos and selfies with the tag @distilleryTO and hashtag #DistilleryWinterVillage
What’s new this year?
A few of this year’s Winter Village features include:
- The Great Gingerbread Hunt: 12 gingerbread people have hidden themselves around the village, see if you can spot them all and keep a special eye out for the one wearing a Santa hat - then take a selfie and share it to Instagram with the following tags for a chance at a $100 e-gift card: @distilleryTO & @distilleryhospitality (10 draws per week, full contest details here)
- Wishing Stars: purchase one of the stars from the Info Booth, write your holiday wish down and hang it on one of the many “mini Christmas trees” situated around the Winter Village ($3 from each star will go to charities in partnership with the Distillery)
- If you’re looking to take the magic of the Toronto Distillery Winter Village home, you can capture the sounds of the market with the official soundtrack here.
- Christmas Carol Sing-a-longs - you can find the “Candy Cane Carolers” in front of the projection wall on the Spirit of York building on Trinity Street (takes place Tuesday - Sunday 6:30 PM and 8:30 PM, and additional times Saturday and Sunday at 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM, running until December 23rd)
This year’s outdoor holiday market promises to deliver a more intimate experience with smaller crowds, exciting live music and a fireworks event on New Year’s Eve.
For more tips and posts on things happening in your communities, please see our blog page.
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