Updated 2023

If you’re in town over the holidays, you’d be doing yourself a grave disservice if you didn’t check out The Distillery Winter Village in the Distillery District.

There’s nothing in Toronto like the market, nor is there anything like the district. Entrance is $6.00 on weekends and free from Tuesday to Friday at 5 pm. Here’s your definitive Distillery Winter Village guide.

How to get there

From our hotel, it’s about a 25-minute walk along King Street, which we’d highly recommend on a nice day or evening. If the weather isn’t cooperating, take the King streetcar to Trinity Street, and walk south to Mill Street ($3.35/rider). Alternatively, you could take a cab or Uber, but be wary of surge pricing.

Where to enter

The Mill Street entrance is the easiest place to go in, because there’s room to make a plan. You could also enter off of Cherry Street, but it’s a small gate and the entranceway is lined with little shops and big crowds.

What to look for

The first thing you’ll want to find are the stands that sell the giant turkey legs. Nothing like them exist in Toronto and they’re so delicious. They’re even served with a side of cranberry sauce. Mmm. In that same area you’ll find kettle fries and many more winter-themed snacks. From there, you’ll want to make your way to the giant tree (very hard to miss) and the stage in front of it where rolling performances take place, usually by local schools. Any one of them is sure to warm your heart. Then, walk along the cobblestone streets and look for the trinkets that catch your eye. You’ll see a lot of them, Christmas themed and not. Our favourite is a stand that sells funky fridge magnets. Finally, look for some of the illuminated installations peppering the district. They’re all a bit random, some are simply shameless branding (which is why admission is only six bucks), but they’re all very cool and worth posing with for Instagram.

What to avoid

Wearing heels. The cobblestone will do a number on your ankles and you’ll be walking a fair bit. If you have flats, wear them. You’ll probably also want to avoid going on a particularly windy day. The buildings in the Distillery create a bit of a wind tunnel, aided by the strong breeze off the lake. And these gusts have the potential to send wrappers and other thing flying. Finally, if you’re not with kids and you don’t really want to be with kids, avoid Saturday mornings and Sunday evenings.

What to do afterwards

Since you’ll already be down in the southeast part of city, if you have time, take a cab to Front Street and Lower Jarvis. That stretch of Front Street has been recently renovated, and highlighted by a fountain dedicated to the dogs of the world. It’s unique, very cool to see and an absolute must if you’re a dog person. Alternatively, you could take a cab to Yonge and Queens Quay to do the Harbourfront Walk. It was recently renovated to the tune of $130 million, and it shows. Breathtaking views, great food and interesting art are everywhere.

Happy Holidays, and enjoy The Distillery Winter Village!

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