Saturday, December 6, 2014

2015 Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery Historic District



A Look at the Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery Historic District  


Selected as one of the World's 10 Best Holiday Markets by Fodor's Travel and Jetlegs, the Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery Historic District is the ideal place to rediscover the romance of a Dickensian-inspired Christmas Market.

Christmas Markets, known as Christkindlmarkts, have been a German tradition for 700 years. Christmas markets are an especially festive, anticipated event, bringing light and merriment to a cold, dark time of the year. Each town traditionally had a unique and distinctive street market to celebrate the season.

For a fourth year, the Toronto Christmas Market is showcasing all the romance and splendour of a traditional European Christmas market.

Local tradesmen sold their wares at these markets, giving each market an individual flavour and personality. The food and beverages being offer were traditionally regional, so each town's offerings were truly unique to the area.. Tradesmen would line the streets with handmade wares that featured distinctive regional characteristics.

Traditionally, villagers bought and sold homemade Christmas ornaments, decorations, and gifts. Traditional handicrafts at the markets included hand carved nutcrackers, wooden smokers, wooden figures, cuckoo clocks, straw ornaments and blown glass ornaments.
The Toronto Christmas Market takes place Friday November 20th to Sunday December 20th at the Distillery Historic District in Toronto. The Distillery District comprises more than 40 heritage buildings and 10 streets, it is the largest collection of Victorian-era industrial architecture remaining in North America.

In addition to the Christmas Market vendors, the Distillery Historic District features more than 70 ground-floor cultural and retail establishments in the restored red brick, Victorian-era buildings of the former Gooderham & Worts whiskey distillery. The District also contains numerous specialty restaurants, cafes and culinary retailers within the buildings. The district was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1988.

At night you can celebrate the magic of Christmas under a spider-web of 1940’s style lighting which is festooned throughout the main square of the  district. This year the centerpiece of the market is a stunning 52 foot white spruce Christmas tree decorated with over 18,000 lights. The market also features lots of festive décor, and musical performances from carolers and Bavarian brass bands. Santa's Lane features a  vintage merry-go-round and a Ferris wheel. And, of course Santa is also on hand with his elves. Last year we also saw Father Christmas and Black Peter at the market.

You can sip delicious hot chocolate, hot apple cider or mulled wine. There are no shortage of vendors selling hot beverage. Bring your appetite and taste miniature cinnamon doughnuts, French Canadian poutine, artisan grilled cheese sandwiches, grilled sausages, smoked turkey drumsticks and Vienna-style veal schnitzel served in a warm pretzel bun with sauteed peppers. Chef Marc Thuet was back at the market last year with a variety of traditional baked goods, Nutella and candy cane dusted pretzels and other gourmet take away items.

The market’s heated beer gardens and hospitality lounges are especially popular, as guests can warm when the weather gets cold. For an opportunity to taste great Ontario VQA wines from across the province and meet knowledgeable Wine Country Ontario brand ambassadors, join them at the experiential wine sampling lounge and the “Dare to Care” mobile truck on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. 

In order to recreate the traditional European atmosphere, wooden chalets are used as market stalls which are over-flowing with one-of-a- kind gifts. The decorative chalets are used to display merchandise and are illuminated internally. These festive wooden chalets line every cobblestone corridor in the Distillery District.    


Visitors can also browse through locally made and handcrafted merchandise from around the world. One of my favourite booths was the German Christmas ornament chalet near the Parliament Street entrance. Created in the tradition of generations of master glassblowers, designers and painters, Inge-Glas's Christmas heirloom ornaments are the result of 14 generations of glass blowing expertise and a cache of over 6000 antique and new molds too. These mouth blown and hand painted ornaments represent the skill, heart and effort of over 250 craftsmen. Inge-Glas ornaments are easily recognizable by their trademark 5-Point Star Crown symbol verifying an authentic Inge-Glas ornament.

Other festive merchandise included: wooden nativity puzzles, advent calendars, window pictures, stars, trees, moose, owls and more from the Black Forest and the Ore mountains.

Those with a competitive spirit can take part in the World Caroling Challenge, a group performance of some of the most well-known Christmas tunes. The streets and squares of the historic Distillery District are transformed into a bustling kingdom of lights and colours, festive sounds and seductive aromas during the holiday season. It is truly something special. 
Free admission Tuesday to Friday;  $5.00 admission (incl. tax) Saturday and Sunday.





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