One of the largest and best preserved examples of Victorian industrial architecture in all of North America is the Gooderham & Worts whiskey distillery in Toronto, ON. It is one of my favourite places in the city, particularly at Christmas time. During the month of December the cobble stone, pedestrian only streets are beautifully decorated and lined with local vendors selling crafts and sweets. Christmas markets originated in Germany in the early 1400s and thankfully for us made their way over to Toronto.
Being downtown in this pedestrian only village, walking through the Christmas market ignited a special flame inside my heart for all of our exchange students who spent Christmas with my family. My husband and I were down at the distillery on December 5th, the most important day in December for Cleo (one of our exchange students) from the Netherlands. Exactly two years ago on this day, we were in Holland visiting her for Sinterklaas, St. Nicholas’ day. This same celebration, including a procession with Sinterklaas riding a white horse through town happened down at the distillery district. It was incredible to be surrounded by so many people celebrating with us. We even bought some dutch sweets from one of the vendors.
There are many other events and celebrations that happen down at the distillery district, check out their calender here.
Winter Wonderland is a holiday infused carnival you don’t want to miss! It’s located in Hyde Park and runs from November through to the first week in January every year. We just made it this year and went with friends who are visiting us in London from Canada. Within Winter Wonderland is a Christmas Market, the largest outdoor ice rink in the UK, an ice and snow sculpture exhibit, lots of rides and best of all plenty of festive foods and drinks. It’s also free to enter so more to spend inside.
We started out shopping the Christmas Market. There were over 150 little wooden chalets selling everything from handmade crafts, winter gear, jewellery and some London themed Christmas ornaments. After the market we carried on through the park stopping at almost every good smelling food booth around. There was everything here! Good thing we didn’t go on empty stomachs or else we definitely would have been broke by the end of the night. We stopped for some mulled wine and German beer and carried on. We finished the night off at, in my opinion, the highlight of the entire experience, the Carousel Bar. This beautiful traditional carousel slowly spins as you dance the night away.
While our friends were visiting we also had our first London theatre experience. I love comedy and musicals and when they are combined I just can’t get enough. We saw Monty Python’s Spamalot at the Playhouse Theatre. The guys loved it and I didn’t want it to end. We were laughing the entire time and singing along at the end. We definitely left with the attitude of “always looking on the bright side of life”.