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This is what the Toronto Christmas Market looks like this year

This is what the Toronto Christmas Market looks like this year

Posted by PanamericanWorld on November 24, 2016

The Toronto Christmas Market has arrived once again in our Distillery District for its seventh year. It's a holiday shopping wonderland laid out against the backdrop of rough cobblestones, brick facades, industrial metal and the famous sculptures and art installations that transform the place daily.

Admission was free for the opening night of the Christmas Market, normally $6 on weekends starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, but you can also check it out for free on weekdays. Beware that the place will probably be packed with holiday revellers like it was the first night, so go early if you want to avoid being sucked into the shuffle of line after line and bottlenecks near attractions.

Toronto Christmas Market                          My advice would be to line up for things you know are going to get slammed as dinnertime hunger hits around 6 p.m., like grilled cheese and poutine stands, and otherwise speed as quickly as you can between booths offering free samples of wine, brandy, Amarula, and beer. As the crowds start to roll in, it's not so hard to find quicker service food and quieter interesting booths.

Toronto Christmas Market                            So eat first, shop second, and of course make a visit to the beer hall. Next to the Mill Street Breweryand operated by Pure Spirits Oyster House, this massive beer garden pays an adult homage to Christmas with arty signage reading Naughty or Nice. You can get massive turkey legs in this area, and from one of the European cabin style huts ubiquitous in the market, you can grab bacon sammies ($10) and bratwurst ($7).

Toronto Christmas Market                          Some huts sell wares and some sell food, and this one serves up ooey-gooey raclette, which is in essence melted Swiss cheese. For $12 they'll shave the molten cheese onto rosemary and garlic potatoes, and garnish with a gherkin if you like. Eat it fast, though, because it hardens quickly in the winter night air.

Toronto Christmas Market                          On opening night the Christmas Market lit its magnificent 52-foot Norway Spruce Christmas tree (donated by Forests Ontario and Ontario Wood), accompanied by stellar performances featuring gospel, jazz, and a children's choir, the likes of which are guaranteed to continue. A sound system pumps music throughout the entire area so you can always listen even if you're not watching.

Toronto Christmas Market                            In one of the sections of the Market with free samples of Amarula mixed with hot chocolate, there are cozy heat lamps and fire pits. If Toronto weather keeps up like this, on warm opening night it was almost hot, but I'd be crowding around these fires with a warm drink in seconds on a colder evening.

Toronto Christmas Market                            Uncle Betty's Diner serves up mini donuts in wacky flavours like maple bacon ($6.50), cookies and cream ($6.50) and the works ($7.50). The smell is tantalizing from far away, and this is one of those shorter order items that's a little more dependable for a snack in a pinch.

Toronto Christmas Market                          But where would a Christmas Market be without poutine? $8 traditional poutine and $10 Montreal poutine topped with smoked meat are slung steaming to gravy-crazy crowds.

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