Holiday shopping lists seem to grow longer every year. There’s your brother’s new girlfriend, the manicurist at your weekly appointment, your boyfriend’s impossible-to-buy-for mom, the can’t-live-without-her dog walker, your office secret Santa…The stress at this time of year seems to reach critical mass just thinking about braving the crowds at the mall to pick out the perfect presents, especially when a gift card or online delivery just won’t do. Thankfully, Toronto is full of fun holiday markets brimming with options for cute, quirky, thoughtful things to buy. They seem to be springing up all over the city and are an amazing place to find one-of-a-kind presents at every price point, plus there are so many local vendors that you’ll feel good about supporting homegrown talent. So grab a hot chocolate and your most comfortable sneakers and hit the streets. Here are a few of our must-stop spots.
This is the market that sparked a million selfies under the twinkle lights and massive tree last year. Wander through the Distillery’s caroler-filled cobblestone streets, sip mulled wine and shop the European-style food, craft and fashion vendors. If it all becomes too much, you can always duck into the decorated shops down quiet lanes for a quick break.
Distillery Historic District, 55 Mill Street
If you can’t find something here, you won’t find it anywhere. This massive show has both veteran and brand newe vendors from the fashion, food, kids, art and craft worlds and has been divided into shoppable “neighbourhoods” to help navigate your search. Get in the spirit with DIY workshops (learn to make your own ornaments, decorate cookies and stitch together notebooks) and make sure to check your packages as you go so you can shop til you drop.
Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place, 100 Princes’ Boulevard, Toronto
The perfect mix of holiday market suspects like handmade homeware, jewelry, baby gifts and fun food from more than 60 vendors including Province Apothecary, The Hunt Collective, Tuck Shop Co., The Wanderly, Wildcraft, Tori’s Bakeshop and Steambox Dumplings.
The Great Hall, 1087 Queen St. West
After 3 years of gallery pop ups, this holiday shop found a permanent home on College Street. The home accessories, stationary, jewelry and apothecary items are nearly all sourced from Canadian designers, but sprinkled with vintage finds and travel treasures too.
1232 College Street West
Like a traditional flea market, you’ll have to search for hidden treasures. Vintage vendors sell next to tables filled with everything from wool knit hats and embroidered sweaters, to body butters and hand blown whiskey tumblers.
SH Armstrong Community Centre, 56 Woodfield Road
While a little outside the city (this one’s in Mississauga), Seasons Christmas Show’s worth the drive for over 300 exhibitors showing off decorating, entertaining and gift ideas. Holiday dressing, party hosting and cheese pairing seminars (yes, you can taste too) make it a full day affair.
Toronto International Centre, Hall 5
Got time to kill before catching the next train? In need of a last minute gift on your way to a party? If you can handle the hustle and bustle in Canada’s busiest building, then be sure to check out the artisans, designers and food merchants at Union Station.
Union Station, 65 Front Street West, Toronto
A curated collection of vendors selling cute cards, leather bags, upcycled wood furniture and wintery blooms is almost a shopping bonus next to the live band, sculptures, baking and wine pairing workshops and free public skating also taking over the atrium at the Brickworks.
Evergreen Brickworks, 550 Bayview Ave
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