christmas markets ontario

5 Christmas markets and holiday festivals near Toronto

Christmas markets and holiday lights festivals near Toronto are a great way to take in the charm of small town Ontario while also celebrating the festive season. Local events like the Distillery Market aim to cultivate the vibe of a quaint village already, so it only makes sense to soak up the atmosphere by escaping the city for the picturesque towns that surround it when the holiday spirt strikes.

Here are 5 Christmas markets and holiday lights festivals to visit near Toronto this year.

Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights (Nov. 19 - Jan. 31)
This sprawling lights display takes over the Niagara Parkway and Victoria Park for over two months this winter, with opening ceremonies on November 19th. There are over three million lights across the eight kilometre route, which gets particularly spectacular after passing the Falls. Prepare for a slow drive through the show, as this one is immensely popular.

Simcoe Christmas Panorama (Nov. 26 - Jan. 1)
If you're looking for a similar concept but a little less action, the holiday lights festival in Simcoe known as the Panorama has a bit more of a small town vibe than the always-busy drive along the Niagara Parkway. The main area of town is decorated in a elaborate light displays and horse and buggy tours are offered each weekend in December.

Christkindl Market in Kitchener (Dec. 1-4)
The Distillery Christmas Market can get pretty hectic and the new event at Nathan Phillips Square promises to be the same, but this small town market is teeming with charm and a bit more manageable. Modelled after a German Christmas Market, the festival features over 90 vendors in wooden huts, a skating rink, and plenty of festive eats that can be washed down with hot chocolate.

XMUS Festival in Bracebridge (Dec. 2-4)
This one is for those who like a little beer with the carolling. The outdoor beer garden is the centrepiece of this Muskoka holiday festival, which also includes a market of vendors, wine and booze producers, holiday treats, and Santa's holiday workshops. Bonus: given its northern location, there's likely to be snow on the ground for the whole white Christmas vibe.

Creemore Christmas Market (Dec. 3 and 4)
Creemore is the quintessential quaint Southern Ontario town with a great food scene and a popular farmers' market. Brand new for this year, the market will transform into a festive event brimming with apple cider, hot chocolate, and holiday gifts. It's worth visiting Creemore for its bustling food scene, and the Christmas Market adds some holiday flavour to the mix.

Did I miss a good one? Add your suggestions in the comments.

Photo via the Niagara Parks Commission.

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