Top Things to Do in Toronto for the Holidays

The city is alive with activities of all sorts, from high-wattage sparkle to markets bursting with charm. Here, we’ve rounded up the top things to do in Toronto to make your season bright.

Fireworks explode over Toronto City Hall.
Cavalcade of Lights @ Nathan Phillips Square /
Saturday, November 30, 2019

Cavalcade of Lights

For many, the holiday season doesn’t officially begin until the illumination of Toronto’s famous Christmas Tree in Nathan Phillips Square. This special event takes place every year at the Cavalcade of Lights. Featuring performances by some of Canada’s top musical talent, a brilliant fireworks show and an outdoor skating party under the glow of more than half a million lights, this is a celebration that will warm the hearts of even the frostiest of attendees. Don’t worry if you miss the kick-off event, the lights are ablaze every night for weeks after. November 30, 2019.

Giant Christmas Tree in the Middle of the Toronto Christmas Market
Toronto Christmas Markets /
Saturday, November 30, 2019

Toronto Christmas Market

No trip to Toronto during the holidays is complete without a visit to the Toronto Christmas Market. Inspired by the European Christkindlmarkt that originated in Germany in the 1400s, this five week-long event celebrates the sounds, sights and scents of Christmas. Set in the Victorian-era, cobblestone-lined Distillery Historic District, the Market brings together local craftspeople, artisanal food-makers and spectacular light displays for a truly festive experience. Free admission Tuesday to Friday and $6.00 admission Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday. Closed Mondays. November 14 to December 22, 2019.

Venus Winter Market

Venus Fest is hosting its first Winter Market which showcases local businesses run by and supporting women and non-binary folks. Local, hand-crafted goods, made with love, will warm up your seasonal gatherings. Lula Lounge, December 16, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check out more of the holiday markets that have popped up in recent years using our guide, Must-Visit Holiday Markets.

Santa Claus poses in front of a large Christmas tree at Casa Loma.
Christmas at Casa Loma

Christmas at Casa Loma

For a truly unique and memorable Christmas experience, a visit to Toronto’s castle is a must. Built by Sir Henry Pellatt over a three-year period from 1911 to 1914, Casa Loma is an homage to the Gothic castles of days gone by, complete with soaring battlements and secret passageways. Decked out in lights and seasonal decor, North America’s only castle is a stunning sight during the festive season.

The Ward Cabaret

If you crave seeing a performance but perennial favourite The Nutcracker is not your style, then may be just the thing. Listen to the pulsating sounds of Toronto’s first cross-cultural community. When they came to Toronto they brought their cherished cultural treasures: deep traditions of stories, music and song. December 12 to 15, 2019 December 17 to 22, 2019.

Home Alone

Imagine a full symphony orchestra playing along to your favourite holiday movie! The Toronto Symphony Orchestra presents Home Alone in Concert with the orchestra and Resonance Youth Choir singing along with the film. Enjoy this new Christmas classic in a fresh way, at Roy Thomson Hall December 6 to 7, 2019.

The slide at the Aurora Festival Toronto
The Aurora Festival

Aurora Winter Festival

The Aurora Winter Festival promises to be like visiting a hidden village near the North Pole filled with captivating light displays, magical characters, amusement rides and plenty of other joyful activities. Located on the Ontario Place site, which itself is having a spectacular Winter Light Exhibition the whole area will be a vast winter wonderland. November 22, 2019 to January 5, 2020.

Love Actually

The Cinesphere at Ontario Place will be showing Love Actually. Follow the lives of eight different couples in London, England dealing with their love lives in interrelated tales all before Christmas. December 26 and December 27.

Conservatory by Candlelight

The displays at the Allan Gardens Conservatory and Centennial Park Conservatory at Christmastime are the highlight of the year. Each conservatory is decorated and filled with thousands of flowering plants including over 30 varieties of poinsettia. For a very special experience, visit the conservatory in the evening on a weekend when dozens of candles are lit at sundown. The shows run until mid-January.

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See it. Snap it. Share it. In every neighbourhood, around every corner, through every door there's something that begs to be discovered in Toronto.

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Holidays, Christmas & Winter

Funding Provided By

  • City of Toronto
  • Government of Ontario
  • Greater Toronto Hotel Association

Lead Partner

  • Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Premium Partners

  • Art Gallery of Ontario
  • Beanfield
  • Casa Loma
  • CN Tower
  • Hockey Hall of Fame
  • Ripley's Aquarium of Canada
  • Royal Ontario Museum
  • Yorkdale Shopping Centre