We may not see a white Christmas in the city (our current snowfall is being melted away by the rain as I write this) but Toronto offers its share of holiday magic. Staying right downtown at the family-friendly Eaton Chelsea we had a chance to dabble in a little Christmas fun one weekend.
The Eaton Chelsea’s convenient downtown location puts you in the center of so much. The city’s largest mall, the Toronto Eaton Centre, has enough selection to enable you to cover everyone on your shopping list. The large lit-up reindeer and glowing tall Christmas tree that decorate the multiple stories of the mall will put you in the holiday shopping spirit. Of course the kids will love visiting Santa in his Log Cabin just outside the Centre in Trinity Square.
The cozy cabin will enable you to enjoy a small group session with Santa as he reads a story to the kids and hears their wish lists. Bring your camera to ensure you grab a photo with the man in red. This is quickly becoming a family tradition for us after our first experience last year.
Beyond Santa’s lap you’ll find a number of photo opportunities in and around the cabin, including Santa’s sleigh and the mini Christmas Tree maze. Before you continue on your downtown adventure recharge your phone and yourself in front of the large fireplace screen surrounded by benches and bean bag chairs (located just inside the Trinity Square entrance of the Toronto Eaton Centre). Walk south through the mall toward the Queen Street exit and you’ll be rewarded by The Bay Christmas windows. Kids and parents will delight in these detailed animated displays, telling the tale of Santa. We loved the detail in the windows. I remember visiting the what was then Simpsons window displays with my grandmother so it’s a pure treat to share a similar experience with my own kids.
If you’re on Queen Street an easy walk to the west will bring you to Nathan Philips Square and the city’s famous outdoor urban skating rink. Enjoy swirling around on the ice under the lighted arches or just sit and watch while enjoying a hot chocolate. If you didn’t bring your skates you can rent a pair.
Photo: Toronto Wide
Visit in the evening for a whole different feel as everything comes alive with bright lights including the 60 foot tall Christmas tree features 12,500 feet of LED lights and 700 individual ornaments.
All of this is within easy walking distance from the Eaton Chelsea, a great family home base for your holiday adventure. You can read my full review on one of our recent stays.
From the urban centre to a Victorian market, a trip to the Toronto Christmas Market will transport you back in time. Housed in the historic distillery district you’ll find unique shops for gifts and foodie treats all nestled among little cabins on the cobblestone walkways. You can see Santa, enjoy free hot chocolate and even be entertained by a variety of performers on the main stage. Take it all in from the ground level or high up in the ferris wheel.
Even if Mother Nature doesn’t sprinkle any snowflakes on us this Christmas the city will do it’s part to put you in a festive mood. The best part is that all of these holiday activities are free and easily accessible, making them ideal for a family outing.
Thanks to the folks at Eaton Chelsea for hosting our holiday weekend.