Toronto just got a floating Christmas tree market in Lake Ontario
Christmas trees are coming from all sorts of unlikely places in Toronto this year, from pubs to grocery store delivery services, but the most magical place to get them is probably a floating market aboard a tall ship.
Oksana Slavutych, who's running the market with her husband Marc-Philippe Gagné, is getting by with a little help from her friends. She has different close friends that run a local tree farm and own a tall ship, and had the brilliant idea to put the two together.
"We wanted to do something fun, different and meaningful for Christmas. Our close family friend has a small farm with balsam fir trees growing on it. My husband had helped plant those trees ten years ago and they were ready to harvest," says Slavutych.
"We also have a close friend who owns the Empire Sandy that had not gone out this season, because of COVID restrictions. We put the two together and decided that the Sandy would be the perfect place for a pop-up store! My husband chopped down over 200 trees, rented a truck and, together with friends, brought the trees to the Sandy about two weeks ago."
Since the trees are from a small local farm and they're organic, so they'll last a long time and have a healthy fragrance free of pesticides.
"The response has been amazing! People are excited to come on board, families, children, it gives the neighbourhood some Christmas cheer," says Slavutych. "We are lucky because the weather has been co-operating."
Not only do you get to say you got your Christmas tree on a tall ship if you shop at Empire Sandy, you also get a full-blown holiday experience where you can walk around the Sandy and take in the view while enjoying the ambience provided by seasonal music and Christmas lights. Also, you'll incidentally be giving back, and what's more festive than that?
"We are donating part of the proceeds to the United Way in Toronto," says Slavutych. "Also, we have been cooking hot meals for the homeless in the tent city near Holy Trinity United Church, so part of the proceeds will go towards that."
Trees start at $60 and they accept debit, credit, tap and cash. They started selling trees on Dec. 5, and are open Wednesday to Sunday throughout December. They also deliver, but if you can check out a tall ship filled with Christmas trees in the winter, why wouldn't you?
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