A Romantic Night At One Of The World’s Best Christmas Markets
It can be hard to get into the holiday spirit in a snowless Toronto, but the Distillery District Christmas Market fixed that pretty quickly with the promise of twinkly lights and mulled wine. This was my second time attending the Christmas Market. The first time I left feeling a bit disappointed, but this year was quite the turnaround. With warmer temperatures and slightly subdued weekday crowds, I really enjoyed getting into the holiday spirit at the Distillery District!
A Romantic Night at The Distillery District Christmas Market
The Distillery District is a national heritage site located just south of Front Street East and Parliament Street. Formerly known as Gooderham & Worts Distillery- who began their lucrative windmill business to turn grain into flour- the Distillery District is known for its unusually high-quality Victorian industrial buildings. During the Christmas market, the organizers go all-out with the holiday decorations. Twinkly lights strewn over the streets offer the soft-lighting atmosphere of a 5-star restaurant. Log cabins line the streets selling local and handmade food and knick-knacks to starry-eyed pedestrians. A Christmas countdown clock was added this year to the collection of bright signs around the market. The notorious ‘Naughty or Nice’ sign and the four illuminated Advent signs exclaiming ‘Hope,’ ‘Peace,’ ‘Joy,’ and ‘Love’ also make for great photo ops in the market. At the centre of Distillery District is a giant tree covered in white and red lights, and red, silver and gold baubles. During my first visit to the Christmas market, there was even a choir singing a litany of festive songs by the Christmas tree
From my first visit to the market in 2014, I knew that the market would be bustling over the weekend. So this year, my boyfriend and I decided to have our little date night on a Thursday evening instead as a mini two-year anniversary celebration. My boyfriend met me at King station after he finished work to take the streetcar east to Trinity Street, where we hopped off for the market. As he was hungry after a long day, we stopped inside Brick Street Bakery for him to grab a veggie sandwich before we ventured much further into the market. I had a gluten-free chocolate and almond cookie while we waited, which was absolutely delicious! From there, we turned down Tank House Lane where we popped into a couple of local shops.
One of my favourites from my previous visit to the market was Distill (24 Tank House Lane), which features beautiful, unique clothing and handmade pottery and jewellery inside the small mall. I absolutely loved this colourful vase and this cat-skirt-bird-shirt combo I found there. Across the hallway was another cute clothing store that also offered a variety of beauty products. If you were hoping to do some more serious shopping, I would recommend visiting them slightly before the market opens at 11 am. A little further down the lane is Horse Feathers Home, a vintage and antiques store (43 Tank House Lane). Their selection of antiques was absolutely incredible- from dolls to books to pianos to vintage sewing machines- and their descriptions of the items were absolutely hilarious. One of my personal favourites of the night read: “Vintage calculator? Not sure. But it looks great on the shelf. $40.”
Once we made our way through the shop, we walked back down the street toward the outdoor bar beside El Catrin that offers mulled wine. I had never tried mulled wine before, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect. The aromatic, hot wine was $8 a cup, but it was worth every nickel. (As there’s no such thing as a penny in Canada anymore.) You could really taste the cloves and spices in the warmed red wine and it was a great way to warm up under the heat lights at the bar. We grabbed a seat near one of the fire pits before moving closer to a heat lamp off to the side. It was nice to catch up with him after a very busy week for the both of us, and to warm up before making our way onto Gristmill Lane to see the last little bit of the Christmas market.
As we had arrived a bit later in the evening, by the time we made our way to Gristmill Lane, the shops had just started to close. We stumbled across the Ontario Spring Water Sake Bar and made our way inside to try some local sake. According to the bartender, we had just missed the owner, a banker who lived in Japan for 5 years before returning to Toronto to open his sake business. They brew sake on site, and it was some of the best sake my boyfriend has ever had! He ordered 140ml of their warm blend for $10, which was the equivalent of about 5 shots. I had their sake apple cider for $7.50. The bartender was very friendly and talked to us about living in Northern Japan before moving to Toronto and how sake is made. We stayed for about an hour, finishing our drinks while talking about where we would visit in Japan.
The Distillery District Christmas Market is open November 18-December 22, 2016. Click here for hours and information.
Where’s your favourite Christmas Market? What makes it so special to you?
Share your stories in the comments below and let me know if I’ve missed any unique or interesting activities in my day-trip to Peggy’s Cove! For more photos and stories from The Full-Time Tourist, please follow all my travel adventures and recipes on social media- Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!
If you enjoyed this post, please share it on your favourite social media platform(s) using the button below!
For more posts about Canada, click here.
Like it? Pin it!