Holiday Markets Worth A Visit in Ontario
Millions of twinkling lights, gently falling snow and the amazing feeling of supporting small local artisans: what’s not to love about the annual holiday market? It’s likely that you already have your favourite, but in case you’re looking for something new this year, we’ve rounded up a few great ones from around Ontario. These holiday markets make a festive addition to a pre-holiday weekend getaway: be sure to check out our Ontario Stays and Ontario Experiences for unique overnight options.
What used to be called the Toronto Christmas Market has now been rebranded as the Distillery Winter Village — but whatever the name is, we know it will be spectacular. The market, located in Toronto’s historic Distillery District, kicks off on November 18 with the lighting ceremony of a 55-foot-tall Silver Fir Christmas tree. Be there for 6 p.m. sharp if you want to experience the magic of the lighting ceremony. Throughout the season, you can except to see live entertainment, buskers and carollers all out to get you in the festive mood. The market will feature eight vendor cabins and 12 food vendor cabins, where you can buy something special for all your friends and family. The Distillery Winter Village runs Tuesdays thru Sundays until December 31 (with a special Monday opening on December 20).
This year’s Niagara Falls Christmas Market is promising to be the biggest in its history, with 50 vendors set to display their wares. You’ll find lots of goodies to fill those stockings — from coconut soy candles to handmade jewellery. This market is a joy to explore every year with live music, string lights, glow swings and interactive art displays. And of course the incomparable Falls is just down the road, adding even more magic to the experience. The market begins on November 13, with a Santa Claus parade through downtown Niagara Falls, and runs every weekend until December 19. Make a whole weekend out of a visit here with our Niagara Experiences.
Every Sunday in November, starting this weekend, the Uxbridge Farmers Market takes on a decidedly more festive vibe. Here you’ll be able to shop for baked goods and the season’s best produce, as well as a wide selection of one-of-a-kind items for everyone on your list. Producers will showcase items like honey, sauces, maple syrup, ciders, vodka, gin and all sorts of art creations by local artisans. Uxbridge is located just north of Toronto in Durham Region. Be sure to walk along Uxbridge’s Main Street before or after visiting the market — it’s a delight!
St. Jacobs and Kitchener
St. Jacobs is wonderful any time of the year but takes on a magical glow during their annual St. Jacob Sparkles event. This year the event will run from November 12-28. You can expect thousands of sparking lights, special sales and promotions as well as Saturday visits from Santa. Nearby in Kitchener, the German-themed Christkindl Market is an annual favourite and scheduled this year to take place outdoors from December 2-5. There is also an online component to the market this year so be sure to check their website for more up-to-date information.
For something a little different, head to Temiskaming Shores in Northern Ontario for their annual Village Noël (November 25-27). The event, which takes place at the New Liskeard Fairgrounds, is marketed as a Christmas Village with a New France Theme. You’ll find lots of local vendors selling handmade, quality items but you’ll also get unique events like axe throwing and log sawing. Temiskaming Shores is another 1.5 to 2 hours north of North Bay, so it is definitely a weekend trip, but worth the drive if you’re up for some Northern Ontario holiday fun.
It really doesn’t get more festive than this: cozy wooden cabins, sparkling holiday lights, live music and the magic of Ottawa at holiday time. Kick off weekend is November 26th and the market runs Friday – Sunday until December 22. You’ll find local vendors selling everything from alpaca products and handmade beanies to all-natural skin care and chocolate confections. You can easily spend the whole day browsing, sampling and mingling. The market is a lovely addition to an Ottawa or South Eastern Ontario weekend getaway.
In fact, South Eastern Ontario’s historic towns and villages make for perfect weekend retreats to get you in the festive mood:
- The Eddie in Prince Edward County is running a holiday market (Christmas @ the Eddie) at their gorgeous red barn from November 26-28. Combine it with a weekend stay for a truly magical experience.
- The Westport Holiday Shop & Hop takes place in the village this year on November 26 and includes an Outdoor Christmas Market, horse and buggy rides and live music. Stay at the centrally located Cove Inn and you’ll be in the thick of the action.
- The Brockville Christmas Market (November 26-28) has live entertainment, food and more than 30 vendors. Or visit one of the first three Saturdays in December to take in the Christmas Market at the Aquatarium. Stay for the weekend at the historic Sir Isaac Brock B&B for a perfect festive retreat.
- Combine a cozy farm stay with a visit to a European-style Christmas Market in Lyndhurst at Furnace Falls Farm (November 28). Sip mulled cider and enjoy homemade pretzels as you shop for one-of-a-kind gifts.
- Mingle with Santa on November 13 at the Garden Party Christmas Market in Winchester. Here you’ll find 70 vendors, live music and plenty of Christmas cheer. Make a weekend out of it with this charming country stay.
- Sip on mulled wine as you wander through the Fat Goose Holiday Craft Fair in Kingston on November 28. Kingston has a beautiful historic vibe that makes it an atmospheric destination for a weekend of holiday fun. The annual Kingston Holiday Market will be online again this year (starting November 18). You can shop online and pick up during your visit.
Click here for a full list of markets in South Eastern Ontario. Don’t forget to include a visit to Alight at Night near historic Morrisburg to your festive plans. If winter driving is not your forte, consider taking VIA to your destination. You will travel comfortably, arrive safely and not have to worry about parking!