20 FREE Holiday events to check out in Toronto
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Get into the festive spirit by enjoying any one of these free holiday events in Toronto this month.
From magical holiday markets to festive events and light displays, check out these Christmas events taking place in the city.
What: The Toronto Christmas Market definitely needs to be at the top of your holiday bucket list this year, especially because entry is free on weekdays! Here you’ll be able to enjoy some delicious apple cider, take some sweet holiday-esque Insta pics, and get a head start on your holiday shopping.
When: Now until December 23 (closed Mondays)
Where: The Distillery District, 55 Mill Street
What: Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square will be transformed into a quintessential European holiday market complete with free admission, shopping, skating, midway rides, Santa visits, live performances, and so much more all in support of Epilepsy Toronto.
Where: Nathan Phillips Square
What: Roast s’mores over the open campfire and enjoy warm beverages from the Sipping Container while shopping or playing street curling at this Winter Village. Hungry for more? Look forward to a rotating line-up of food trucks serving up comfort foods ranging from crêpes to gourmet grilled cheese, and more.
When: Weekends in December and weekdays from December 26 to 29, 10 am to 5 pm
Where: 550 Bayview Avenue, Toronto
What: Toronto’s Yorkville Village lights up each holiday season with its annual Holiday Magic event. If you’re shopping in the area, we highly recommend checking out the beautifully lit Christmas tree and taking in the incredible glittering light displays and festive decorations that line the streets.
When: Now until December 31
Where: Village of Yorkville Park, 115 Cumberland Street
What: Although this is a bit of a trek from Toronto, it’s perfect for those wanting to go on a festive road trip. Each year, Simcoe puts on an incredible light display called Christmas Panorama that features over 60 dazzling light displays. The spectacle shimmers with thousands of lights transforming the downtown parks into a winter wonderland, attracting visitors from across the province and the US.
When: Now until December 31
Where: Wellington Park, 50 Bonnie Drive, Simcoe
What: The Burlington Festival of Lights is the city’s longest-running festival, which lights up the waterfront from dusk to dawn over the holiday season. Now in its 22nd year, the festival will feature 60 festive displays that can be viewed up close or from the warmth of your car.
When: Now until January 8th
Where: Spencer Smith Park, Burlington, Ontario
What: The annual Winter Festival of Lights stretches over 8 kilometers in Niagara and will run through to the end of January. Attracting over 1 million visitors annually, this incredible spectacle is Canada’s largest lights festival. Just imagine a breathtaking, colourful scene with millions of sparkling lights and animated displays that extends to Dufferin Islands. And yes, it’s completely free to attend!
When: Now until the end of January
Where: Niagara Falls
What: Now in its 10th year, Light Up the Beach features more than 80,000 twinkling Christmas lights along the Toronto Beaches boardwalk to support The Michael Garron Hospital Foundation. The light display is truly a sight to see and a holiday tradition that every Torontonian should enjoy.
When: Now until mid-February
Where: At the foot of Leuty Avenue, The Beach, Toronto
What: Toronto is home to over 50 public skating rinks and trails, all of which are FREE to use! Make sure to check the city website to confirm which rinks are open.
When: Now until March
Where: Various locations throughout the city
What: Ontario Place will be welcoming a new festival this December: Winter at Ontario Place. The new festival will feature various winter-themed activities including the Winter Light Exhibition, skating on the new synthetic skating rink and film screenings at the newly re-opened Cinesphere.
When: December 8 to March 30
Where: Ontario Place
Milton Pop-Up Holiday Market
What: Milton’s pop-up Holiday Street Market, from the founder of Toronto’s Mac and Cheese Festival, is putting on “Ontario’s largest authentic outdoor holiday market.” Expect an open concept street market complete with 242 artisan vendors selling all the holiday classics from gingerbread cookies to hot apple cider to one-of-a-kind gifts and crafts.
When: December 9 & 16 from noon until 7 pm
Where: Along Main Street from Brown Street to Commercial in Milton
What: Back for another exciting afternoon, The Leslieville Flea Holiday Market is happening December 10. Visitors can browse from over 50 local vendors, giving you the chance to shop from local small businesses that pour their talent and heart into their work this holiday season.
When: December 10, 10 am to 4 pm
Where: SH Armstrong Community Centre
What: Come and enjoy paper crafts and festive treats, as you catch up on your holiday correspondence and mail your letters to Santa.
When: December 11, 12 pm to 4 pm
Where: Toronto’s First Post Office Museum, 260 Adelaide East
What: Come and find a special gift for that special someone on your list at this one of a kind holiday shopping experience. Here you’ll find plenty of handmade, local, art and vintage vendors and artisans selling a gift-worthy selection of goods.
When: December 16, 10 am to 5 pm
Where: The Great Hall, 1087 Queen Street West
What: Wrap up your Christmas shopping at the fourth annual Toronto Etsy Christmas Market. Here you’ll find amazing handmade and vintage sellers, festive music, yummy treats, and a crafts table for the kids. The first 50 shoppers through the doors at 11 am will get receive a swag bags filled with goodies and offers from vendors and sponsors.
When: December 16, 11 am
Where: Church of St. Stephen in-the-Fields, 365 College Street
What: Come and get into the holiday spirit at a free screening of your favourite holiday movies! Hot Docs Cinema will be hosting free screenings of Elf, A Christmas Story, Love Actually, and more!
When: December 16 to 22
Where: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, 506 Bloor Street West
What: Sharpen your skates and skills as Toronto’s number one outdoor winter party. This year you can expect another stellar lineup of DJs that will bring the heat to your Saturday nights.
When: December 16 to February 17 (Saturday’s from 8 pm to 11 pm)
Where: Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West
What: Come and enjoy a fun evening of games, crafts, and activities, followed by a story, music, and even a delicious turkey dinner!
When: December 20, 5:30 pm to 7 pm
Where: Hope United Church, 2550 Danforth
What: Nathan Phillips Square is hosting a massive New Year’s Eve celebration to ring in 2018. The final send-off to the year-long celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday will kick off at 8 pm at Toronto’s City Hall and will include an exhilarating evening of entertainment with dynamic DJ’s, live electronic music, site animations, a DJ skating party sponsored by Tim Horton’s and a stunning fireworks display at midnight.
When: December 31, 2017
Where: Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen Street West, Toronto
What: Ring in the New Year as you skate to the sounds of DJ P-Plus as he plays the hottest songs of 2016. Make sure to dress warm and bring along a thermos filled with your favourite hot beverage.
When: December 31, 8 pm to 1 am
Where: Natrel Rink, 235 Queens Quay West