Your family wants to come visit for the holidays, you say? Show them a good time in the big smoke and do it on a dime. Here are eight fun and festive things to do in Toronto to chill with you fam over the holidays.
1. Skate at the Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay W)
The scenic Natrel Rink on the Harbourfront puts you in prime position for pretty spectacular view of the city. Get some perspective as you glide around on skates, ho-cho in hand, as Christmas carols play. Rink admission is free, and you can rent skates for $8.
2. The Toronto Christmas Market (Distillery District, 44 Parliament St.)
Until December 21, the historic distillery district will be decked out with lit-up Christmas trees, outdoor firepits, and vendors hawking old-worlde-style treats and trinkets. The Christmas Market is probably one of the city’s most magical annual traditions – it’s like stepping into a traditional European Christmas market, circa 1400. It’s free of admission Tuesdays to Fridays, and $5 per person on Saturdays and Sundays.
3. Head to the island
So, the beach is closed, and it’s cold out, but you can still go to the island and there’s still plenty of stuff you can do. Unearth your snowshoes or cross-country skiis from the parent’s basement, take a winter hike and picnic, or check out some Lagoon skating. Embrace winter on the island — some say it’s Toronto’s best kept secret.
4. Go toboganning
A few spots in the city really lend themselves to a sweet toboggan ride. If your family is spry, dust off your GT racer and hit the hill at Christie Pitts or the dog bowl at Bellwoods.
5. Christmas at Black Creek Village (1000 Murray Ross Parkway)
Black Creek Pioneer Village honours the festive season with old-fashioned traditions like horse drawn carriage rides, Christmas carolling, and lamplight dinners. Even if you’re not into traditional stuff, the 30 acres of beautiful country landscape this spot occupies just outside the city is a nice getaway in winter.
6. Check out some craft shows
Avoid the mall, and make a day of browsing artisanal trinkets made by passionate peeps with your nearest and dearest. It’s a win win. See City of Craft (Dec. 11 – 13 at the Theatre Centre) or Vendor Queens (Dec. 14 and 21 at the Evergreen Brickworks). Or, the Craft Ontario Holiday pop up shop (Nov. 5 – Dec 24 at Craft Ontario on Queen West). Make a crawl of it.
Get together and give back. Now THAT is a family holiday gathering you can feel good about.
8. Bloor Holiday classics (506 Bloor St. W)
Through the month of December, The Bloor Cinema is playing some of the holiday classic films you loved as a kiddo like Home Alone (Quote-a-Long style, so you can get rowdy about it), White Christmas, Miracle on 34th St., Die Hard, and others. It’s free (they accept food / monetary donations for The Stop Community Food Centre), but there are a limited number of same-day tickets available. Non-members can pick up tickets at the box office starting December 6, at 1 PM. Get yours now!