Every December, Nathan Phillips Square in downtown Toronto transforms into a winter wonderland for the Cavalcade of Lights celebration, which includes a live DJ skating party, musical performances and a spectacular fireworks show alongside the big event: the lighting of Toronto’s official Christmas tree.

Up to 50,000 partygoers are expected between 6 and 10 PM on November 30th just next to Toronto City Hall. If you’re one of them, you’ll be dazzled by a live Arctic-inspired electropop performance by Nunavut artist Riit, also known for her role as host of Aboriginal Peoples Television Network’s kids’ series Anaana’s Tent. Since releasing her self-titled debut album in 2017, she’s gone on to perform live on CBC Radio One’s Q and has shared the stage with some of the top Inuit artists including Twin Flames and Elisapie.

The celebration doesn’t stop there. Toronto offers a full lineup of Christmas-themed events to kick off the holiday season in style.  The Toronto Christmas Market in the historic Distillery District is another favourite, bringing the magic of the season to the city’s most charming neighbourhood. You’ll feel all those joyful Christmas vibes as you stroll through stalls of locally handcrafted gifts, a cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine in hand. Caroling, live music and the chance to meet Santa make this event a must. The market runs from November 14th till December 22nd this year so you can get your stocking stuffers early. The whole neighbourhood is transformed into a winter wonderland during the month of December, so don’t cut your visit short. The cobblestone streets and 19th century heritage buildings of this pedestrian-only area make for some of Toronto’s best photo ops.

Also, the Santa Claus Parade will return to downtown Toronto on November 17th beginning at 12:30 PM. An annual tradition since 1905, the parade gets bigger and better every year; and the chance to see thousands of Santas in one place is not to be missed! The festivities begin at Parliament and Bloor and the parade will follow a new route along Bloor, University and Wellington before making its way to St. Lawrence Market. Colourful floats, marching bands, costumed characters and dancers make this event a favourite for kids and adults. Last year’s parade was the biggest in history and this year’s might just be even bigger, so don’t miss your chance to be a part of Toronto history! Be sure to bring blankets to stay warm on the sidelines, and come early to secure a good spot. If you’re travelling from out of town, be sure to look at the parade route before you arrive so you can plan your best driving route and parking options.

With so many holiday events to look forward to, we can already feel the Christmas spirit in the air!

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