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This past weekend we were supposed to go to New York City to explore the Christmas Markets, but unfortunately, we had some standby issues and decided to stay home instead of maybe getting on the flight.
Instead of traipsing all through New York, the family decided to stay home and soak up some holiday experiences here. My sister and I hit up The Roosevelt New Orleans a Waldorf Astoria property. Along with our friend, we walked through the Waldorf Wonderland, marveling at the Holiday decorations, gingerbread house, and holiday cocktails.
Christmas Market in Toronto
Lucky for me, we went to Toronto only two weeks ago, so we were able to enjoy the Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery Historic District.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Toronto Downtown, which is about one mile away from the Christmas market.
Tickets to the Toronto Christmas Market
The Christmas Market warns that weekends are busy (and they are not lying!). There are multiple ways to visit the Christmas Market.
From Tuesday-Friday The Toronto Christmas Market is open and free to the public. Starting at 5 pm Friday until it opens again on Tuesday, The Toronto Christmas Market is a $6.00 ticketed event. There is also an express pass ticket that is $20 per person that guests can purchase to bypass the general admission line.
All tickets purchased for this event helps grow the festival and supports three charities: Daily Bread Foodbank, Plan Internationals, Toronto Star Santa Claus Fund.
What to do at the Christmas Market
There is a lot to do at Toronto’s Christmas Market in the Distillery District, and if you plan it appropriately, you can have all the fun without the pain of the crowds. We visited November 30-December 1 2017, and I was shocked to see how crowded it was at the Christmas Market.
Over the two days that we visited we shopped, ate, and photographed our way through the entire district.
Food at the Christmas market
The first thing that we wanted when we landed in Toronto was Poutine, so imagine how happy we were when that was the first food vendor we saw was French Canadian Poutine. After a quick family meeting, we decided that we were going to split the classic Quebec Poutine with cheese curds, gravy, and thick cut fries. This delicious appetizer was so tasty, that we bought it both nights that we attended the Market and even got a third poutine with Smoked Beef Brisket on top. If you haven’t had poutine before, you should make sure to eat this delicious treat while at the Christmas Market.
Funny story – my sister and I are so Southern that when we didn’t know what Schnitzel was! With very little German influence in our life, we assumed we were going to get a sausage. Boy were we wrong, but happily surprised. We stopped by the Schnitzel-Haus and got a Schweineschnitzel served on a pretzel bun with sautéed red peppers and onions. Even though it wasn’t what we anticipated, it was still delicious and made me a fan of Schnitzel!
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The Cabin by Campbell’s
That’s right – Campbell’s Soup is out here giving away complimentary samples of soups! The soup wasn’t the most exciting thing to eat out at the Toronto Christmas Market but who can pass up a little sample of MMMM Delicious Campbell’s Soup. We tried the traditional chicken noodle soup and complementary whole wheat goldfish crackers.
Of course, the goldfish were upstairs (mostly for guests to do a photo op) but luckily the guy passing out soup ran upstairs and grabbed a whole bunch of goldfish to give out. They gave us each one and had a stack for anyone else who couldn’t make it up the stairs. Hopefully, they did this for the rest of the season!
After our Day 1 Schnitzel debacle, we finally found ourselves some sausage and chestnuts at the Weiner Haus! Ally got the Bratwurst while mom and I split the enormous Hungarian Sausage. I was pleased to finally eat up this delicious delicacy while listening to the Christmas carolers by the tree. We even tried chestnuts for the first time. I can say, that chestnuts cooked by an open fire are not my favorite Christmas Treat –but at least we tried them!
There were also many mustards that you can pick from to dress up your sausage.
Lindt Chocolate Pretzel
The family wrapped up our last evening at the Christmas Market by eating a delicious Lindt Chocolate Pretzel! Even though this pretzel is delicious, it was one of the messiest, hardest things to eat! Think about it. Tiny chocolate covered pretzels are easy to digest because you just pop it in your mouth and you are done snacking. This pretzel is larger than your face, delicately dipped in chocolate, and ready to be devoured – but as soon as you break the pretzel, the chocolate starts to fall off! Eat this tasty treat with care!
Drinks in the Distillery District
Of course, life is not complete without a delicious Hot Toddy to warm you up on a cold Christmas Market Night!
We first started off with the Gluhwein, Mulled Wine. If you haven’t tried it yet, Gluhwein is a traditional European beverage offered during the winter months around Christmas time. This sweet, hot wine is usually made with red wine and mulling spices. It is one of the most popular drinks at many Christmas Markets! We sipped on our wine and enjoyed watching the crowds and even took a few photos with the Naughty or Nice sign by another bar.
Spirit of York Distillery Co
We wandered into the Spirit of York and had a brief spirit tasting and tried a few cocktails. For $10 we sampled the Gin, Aquavit, and Whisky. The family decided that we liked the Aquavit because it was so unique.
Mom and Ally tried the Coureures des Bois (hot chocolate, lavender syrup and Spirit of York Vodka), while I tasted the East of Delta (cinnamon and clover apple cider and Spirit of York Whisky). These hot cocktails were a warm welcome for the chilly night. After we drank our spirited drinks, we continued on with the rest of the market.
There are various bars and restaurants that you can purchase a drink, but most restaurants require you to finish the beverage inside before going outside! Being a New Orleanian, I am always shocked by this rule! I would think you could walk around the whole district drinking and enjoying a cocktail!
I noticed that there were quite a few people in wheelchairs (electric and manual) at this event. The more crowded the Christmas Market got, the harder it got to maneuver in the shops and different vendors. The best thing to do, for most comfortable access, is to get to the market before sunset on a weekday and hang out until it gets too crowded to navigate easily. Also, a benefit at coming at these other times is that the event is free!
Christmas Market at the Distillery District
The Christmas Market is open from Mid-November to right before Christmas. If you do not have time to visit the Christmas Market at the Distillery District this year, make sure to put it on your future bucket list! This is one of the best Christmas Market’s I’ve been to in North America!
Have you ever traveled to a Christmas Market?
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