5 “Over The Top” Christmas Happenings in Toronto

Are you ready to immerse yourself in the enchanting spirit of the holiday season? Look no further! We’ve scoured the city for the most extraordinary and over-the-top Christmas experiences in Toronto. Get ready to believe in the magic of Santa and indulge in the joys of the season at these incredible destinations. 🎉🎄

Distillery District Christmas Market 2016

The Distillery Winter Village ($ depending on dates/times) is like wandering back in time with the cobblestone laneways into shops and restaurants. The holiday season is particularly festive with cute vendor cabins, holiday themed “instagrammable” set ups all around. The massive 56 foot Christmas Tree is a star attraction – the tallest they’ve ever had! Also, look for the new Candy Cane Forest. Grab your hot cocoa and enjoy Christmas carolers. Don’t miss the 7 foot tall snow people. Of course you can visit Santa there and furry friends are always welcomed at many of the Distillery spaces.

While you’re at the Distillery you might also want to warm up at the Illuminarium Winter Wonderland Spectacular ($). This immersive experience transports visitors into a castle filled with state of the art interactive technology and an ever changing dreamland of holiday wonder.

Illuminarium Winter Wonderland - Distillery
Illuminarium Winter Wonderland Immersive Experience at The Distillery

Brookfield Place Massive Snow Flakes created by Studio F minus are breathtaking to see alongside the veil of twinkly lights that light up the cathedral sky high ceilings above designed by architect Santiago Calatrava. the award-winning Allen Lambert Galleries. The design team were commissioned to create these unique glowing one of kind snow flakes inspired by the architectural wonder of the space and of course, our winter landscape. You can read more about the beautiful art installation here.

Brookfield Place - Winter

Casa Loma Holiday Lights and Christmas at the Castle ($) has transformed into a winter wonderland filled with twinkling lights and installations along the path that meander through the castle grounds and tunnels leading to the jolly guy dressed in red. Then, indoors experience Christmas display with not one stunning tree but several. Created by the city’s most respected design experts this is a real treat to walk through. The holiday magic continues with festive activities and entertainment throughout.

Casa Loma Holiday 2022

CF Toronto Eaton Centre unveiled their incredible modern day tree at the heart of the mall that starts one level below and soars way to the top. The tree lights up and glows in all techno pop and is considered the tallest and most magical indoor tree in North America. Daily magical snowfall displays happen throughout the holiday season. You can’t miss the larger than life reindeer light sculptures, literally!  In the place of the former Nordstroms be sure to visit the immersive light installation that pays homage to the Canadian landscape from Northern Lights to fields of green.

CF Eaton Centre
CF Eaton Centre. Photo credit Shay Markowitz.

Yorkdale Shopping Centre is teeming with holiday festivities and pretty spots to take your season’s best photos in style. Santa arrives in style with an entirely new and extensive, sparkling runway experience in the main Atrium. Skylights, glittering arches, chandeliers and twinkling lights lead to Santa’s striking photo area. The expansive 66-foot installation features a red-carpet arrival and display of original holiday couture created by CAFA (Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards) designers, commissioned by Yorkdale. Some of Canada’s leading designers were asked to create couture pieces for Santa and Mrs. Claus including Sebastian Gaurin, Jordan Stewart, and Nikki Yassemi.

A striking 30-foot Yorkdale Holiday Tree, made of gold and glass with an star, is situated at the Centre’s East Atrium and extend into the adjacent Dior Atelier of Dreams pop-up. The Dior Tree features décor comprised of more than 3,000 handmade floral ornaments, 320 butterfly ornaments, 260 illuminated Dior fragrance bottles and more than 1500 lights.

While you’re there, check out the Wonka Sweet Escape installation with it’s beautiful cherry blossom tree. Photo opps and maybe a few candies to take way.

Santa is also here for our furry family members with a dedicated Holiday themed Pet Portrait Studio ($) presented by Cesar. The rustic winter theme welcomes pets and their companions for one-on-one time and photos with Santa. Complete with chalet-style decor, brightly lit Christmas trees, and a welcoming sofa, Yorkdale invites families to capture pup or kitten’s Santa photo. Pet photo sessions with Santa begin December 1st. Sessions must be booked in advance here.

Santa Yorkdale Harley
Yorkdale Pet Portrait Studio with Santa

These are just a taste of the extraordinary Christmas experiences Toronto has to offer. From Santa’s arrival at Yorkdale Shopping Centre to the Wonka Sweet Escape installation, there’s no shortage of magical moments to be found. Soak up the festive atmosphere, capture treasured memories, and embrace the joy and wonder of the holiday season at these extraordinary destinations. ✨🎅



About Sonya Davidson 943 Articles
Covering events, openings and all the deliciousness in Toronto.