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Toronto in December – Winter Activities Guide

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Toronto is a magical heaven of snow, lights and festivity in December. We lived in Toronto and that is where we celebrated our first holiday season and winter in Canada. Here is a guide to Toronto in December with weather and packing information, best activities to do in winter, light fests and more.

Toronto in December – Winter Activities Guide

Toronto in December guide
Toronto in December guide

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Why visit Toronto in December?

Toronto in December is an amazing time to visit. The weather although cold, if you dress well and are mindful of the daily forecasts you can travel and explore the city with ease. There are so many free things to do in Toronto in December which are worth taking advantage of. Many of these events are seasonal and you won’t see them at other times of the year.

Our transit systems and buildings are all heated, so you can drive the bad cold out and enjoy a warm cocoa and stay toasty, while it snows outside.

Toronto in December welcomes you with tons of festive events, lights and celebrations. Get all the insider tips and winter activities guide in this post.

Hotels in Toronto in December are reasonably priced. Holiday season is busy with festivities, but it is not a peak season in Toronto. So you can expect to get hotel bookings at a decent price.

Malls and restaurants (except the fast food chains) will be closed for Christmas and they close early on Christmas Eve, so keep that in mind as you plan your holidays around those days. But come December 26th, the shopping malls and online stores become busy with bargain shoppers!

Toronto also has many fine dining places for celebrating the holiday season with friends, family or your sweetheart. 

Temperature in Toronto in December

Toronto experiences snow in December. Days get shorter and colder. Average temperatures range from a low of – 3 degree Celsius to a high of 3 degree Celsius (temperatures do not include the wind chill in the city). There are chances of rain for 9 days of the month in December.

TORONTO IN DECEMBER TEMPERATURES 

High: 3 degree Celsius

Low: – 3 degree Celsius

Rain: 9 days

Snow: .20 inches throughout the month of December, probably slightly higher after the 20th.

Toronto in December experiences the majority of the snowfall for the year. Especially from mid-December on-wards, expect a lot of snow on the ground, with colder temperatures. The wind from Lake Ontario makes Toronto even colder with the wind chill.

So always wear a warm cap or a scarf to cover your head from the wind chill. Keep your hands warm with gloves.

And always dress for the weather appropriately. We have included a packing list below for visiting Toronto in December. 

What to pack for Toronto in December?

We have written a detailed guide on packing for Canada in winter and it holds true for Toronto as well. Keep in mind – expect chilly days in Toronto with snowfall, slippery surfaces and traffic congestion. 

So here are some of the essential items to pack for Toronto in December

Click on the items below to shop 

 

Toronto hotel for December for all budgets 

For celebrating the festive season in Toronto stay in the downtown area, so that commute and sightseeing attractions are easily accessible. Within the downtown area in Toronto, you can choose a hotel in the harbourfront area, the Eaton center mall or the entertainment district.

Pretty much, anywhere in downtown Toronto will be easy for light rail transit commute. Hotels in downtown start at $95 CAD per night+ 

Here are some recommended hotels for your visit

Luxury Options in Downtown Toronto

  • Hotel Fairmont Royal York : If you are looking for a luxury stay in Toronto, then look no further. This 4 star hotel in downtown Toronto is calling you for a luxurious stay overlooking the tall buildings.
    • Hotel Fairmont Royal York is conveniently located close to CN Tower and other sightseeing attractions.
    • The hotel rooms are stunning and it has an indoor pool on site. Free breakfast.
    • BOOK YOUR STAY HERE
  • Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel : Another upscale 4 star hotel in downtown Toronto.
    • Good location. Close to sightseeing spots
    • Free breakfast and wifi. Indoor and Outdoor pool
    • BOOK YOUR STAY HERE

Mid Range Hotel

Toronto in December – MAP of Toronto Attractions for December

 

Amazing things to do in Toronto in December

I got to share this picture of mine from 2009, when I was all of 22 years old and was seeing snow for the first time. Yep, that was me in Toronto from an apartment building.

Snow makes everything magical here in winter. And that is me saying after having experienced heavy snow fall, blizzards and surviving – 45 degrees Celsius in Saskatchewan, and now in Alberta! See I survived and enjoy winters here.

So let’s look at some of the amazing things to do in Toronto in December.

BONUS READ: For Toronto Itinerary Inspiration read our Toronto travel guide for 7 days 

Visit Toronto Christmas Markets in December 

Visiting Toronto in December means indulging in tons of festive activities. One of my favorite things to do in December is to head to a Christmas Market. The Christmas markets in Toronto are inspired by the European Christkindlmarkt aka Christmas markets of German origin, and you know how beautiful the markets are in Europe.

Walking into these Christmas Markets, the candle scents, ornaments, food and warm drinks will welcome you and dip you in to the festive cheer!

  • Distillery District Christmas Markets – November 14 to December 22 2019, except Mondays
  • Nathan Philips Square Christmas Markets – December 7 to 23 2019

Toronto Christmas markets are set up in late November and are open until the end of December. The most popular Christmas market is located at the historic Distillery District of Toronto. The old world charming Christmas markets awaits you here, with carols, music and entertainment, vendors selling holiday goodies, food and more.

There are a few more Christmas markets in the city. The Nathan Philips Square is decked up like a European market in December, as part of the Festive and Holiday Fair. Dates of the event are December 7 to 23 2019. As it is part of the Holiday Fair, you will find tons of other activities to keep you and the kids busy. You can shop and get ready with Christmas gifts, stop for lunch, ice skate and end the day with dining (and drinks at the Ice bar) at the Nathan Philips Square.

Christmas lights in Toronto
Christmas lights in Toronto

Lawrence Market and Chinatown also has Christmas markets set up for this time of the year.

Ring in the holiday season in a castle in Toronto – Casa Loma’s A Nutcracker Christmas

Casa Loma is a 20th century castle located in the heart of the city. During the month of December, Casa Loma is decked up with festive lights and charm and imagine how stunning the Gothic castle looks.

Definitely stop by for photos and experience a memorable Christmas as you tour the castle hallways and underground cellar. Visitors are invited to meet Santa in his castle workshop and participate in festive arts and crafts, enjoy shows by famed entertainers and ice skating performers.  

A giant Christmas tree is set up at the Casa Loma to ring in the festive season. 

Dates for this event: December month

Entry fee: Included in the general admission $26.55 per adult 

Celebrate winter in Toronto with the Aurora Winter Festival 

Winters are a wonderful time in Toronto and Canada in general. We love exploring our cities in winter and there are many reasons why we recommend experiencing the snowy weather here.

Imagine the world is painted in soft white colors, and sometimes when the sun shines it glitters and makes things so beautiful and pure! Well, that’s Canadian winters for you.

Toronto in December Christmas
Toronto in December Christmas

Appreciate the crisp and cold weather in Toronto in December by visiting the Aurora Winter Festival. This festival will transport you from Toronto to the North Pole. The festival is delightful with many colorful light displays, amusement rides and many winter activities.

The festival site is located at the Ontario Place, which also holds Winter Light Exhibition.

Dates and entry fee for the event: Check out tickets here

Explore Winter Villages in Toronto in December

Winter villages’ concept in Toronto is similar to the Christmas Markets, but you can expect tons of comfort aka winter food here. The Evergreen Brick Works’ Winter Village is a foodie heaven with street food vendors selling treats, mulled wine, craft beer and eggnog. They actually have a Sipping container where you can sip some winter and festive drinks and relax by the fire.

Dates for this event: Every weekend in December, week between Christmas to New Years – 10:00 am to 05:00 pm

Entry fee: Free

There is also a Venus Winter Market set up during the month of December. This markets showcases and sells arts and crafts items from local vendors.

Watch the festive lights at Toronto Zoo

Toronto Zoo is expected to get a 1.5-km light show, called the Lumina Night Walk in December. The zoo will be closed at the end of November for construction and set up of the Lumina Night Walk. Stay tuned to Toronto Zoo website for dates of this event in 2019. 

(Edmonton hosts a similar event at the Devonian Botanical Gardens called the ‘Luminaria’, and it is a wonderful experience and tickets get sold out fast).

Toronto In December weather
Toronto In December weather

Enjoy a holiday meal at the CN Tower – 360 the restaurant and the LookOut

Toronto’s iconic landmark CN Tower lights up and welcomes guests for holiday dinning and drinks at the LookOut. (Note: Closed on Christmas Day)

Take photos with Santa Claus at the biggest mall in Toronto 

Head to the Yorkdale mall in Toronto for holiday shopping and stop by to say hello and snap a photo with good ol’ Santa Claus.

There are Santa Photo booths and stations in all of the malls in Toronto. My favorites are Eaton Center, Fairview Mall and the Scarborough Town Center.

Visiting Toronto in Winter - December Christmas Markets
Visiting Toronto in Winter – Image by instagram.com/dianasmith

Celebrate Winter Solstice at the Kensington Market 

December 21st is the longest (and most times the coldest) day of the year. Celebrate Winter Solstice in style in the heart of Kensington market. The entire market is transformed into a winter wonderland of sorts with glitter and Hanukkah candles.

Dress warm for the Winter Solstice Parade on December 21st. Explore Kensington Market in a walking tour here

Go Ice skating at the Harbourfront Centre Natrel Rink

Fancy ice skating in Toronto? Head to the Harbourfront Centre Natrel Rink, the most popular outdoors skating rink in Toronto. 

They are open 09:00 am to 10:00 pm, with equipment rental available on-site. (Note: Closed on Christmas Day). 

There are many outdoor ice rinks in the city. A majority of them will open on or after November 30th 2019. 

Ice Rinks in Toronto in December

Get some retail therapy on Boxing Day in Toronto 

December 26th is a crazy-fun day for shoppers. Shopping malls open early and they are filled with discount offers and holiday gifts that go on sale (right after Christmas). Get up early and line up to stock on your favorite items.

For Boxing Day shopping, use Toronto Transit services rather then driving down to the mall as parking is a hassle. Public transportation is efficient and easy to use in Toronto. The following shopping malls have transit center located in its vicinity/underground complex – Yorkdale, Eaton Center, Fairview and Scarborough Town Center.

Learn about Toronto’s history at the Fort York National Historic Site

Fort York Historic Site contains many hidden secrets about Toronto’s past. This site was the primary defensive position of early York (Toronto) once upon a time. Today it is filled with historical remnants including the seven buildings built between 1813 and 1815 which are examples of British military architecture in Canada. 

During the month of December, the Fort York National Historic Site organizes many seasonal events. 

Take a day trip to Niagara Falls and watch the evening lights show 

Niagara Falls is located 1.50 hours away from Toronto. Embark on a day trip to Niagara Falls or take a tour to explore the frozen falls and experience the evening light show on the Niagara. 

With this day tour to Niagara Falls via bus from Toronto, you can sit back, warm and toasty and watch evening lights aglow on the falls. Check out this day tour here, departing at 01:00 pm from Toronto. 

Enjoy the big city night lights at Yonge and Dundas Toronto

This is like our favorite place in Toronto – the Yonge and Dundas Square. This is a perfect place to wine and dine and go on a relaxed stroll after a satisfied belly-meal! The square is surrounded by live street performers, cafes and restaurants and larger then life screens to keep the big city lights on!  

Dundas Square at Night
Dundas Square at Night

New Year’s Eve on Nathan Phillips Square 

Bid adieu to 2019 in style at the Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto on December 31st. This is a free event featuring tons of shows including DJ, dance and entertainment and SCINTILLATING FIREWORKS over the city of Toronto. 

We hope you enjoyed this list of activities to do in Toronto in December. Remember to wear warm clothes, and you will be all ready to embrace the winter with love!

For more updated events listing, check  Tourism Toronto website

Read other posts on travel in Canada and Toronto

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Pin: Guide to Toronto Toronto in December Travel Guide and tips for visiting 
Toronto in December
Toronto in December

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