While its tempting to do all of your holiday shopping behind a screen or in one giant trip to the.
While its tempting to do all of your holiday shopping behind a screen or in one giant trip to the mall, theres also a case to be made for shopping at local markets where you can support small businesses. (Bonus, most of them have local food vendors so you can snack on treats like Tibetan momos and Swedish meatball sandwiches while you shop).
In addition to well-established markets like the Distillery Districts annual Toronto Christmas Market (runs until December 23) and the massive One of a Kind Show (November 23 to December 3), the city is brimming with plenty of indie markets too. Here, we pick our favourites to check out this holiday season.
Struggling to find your design-fiend friend a gift thats just as stylish as they are? Hit up Pixel & Bristle at the Drake Hotel (1150 Queen West) on November 25 to shop a variety of prints, cards, coasters, bags, textiles, enamel pins, patches and so much more made by local illustrators and designers. See website for details.
From November 25 to 26, this fair at Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West) brings a taste of Scandinavia to Toronto, with traditional Christmas decorations, handmade gifts and textiles all imported from Sweden. After noshing on Swedish meatball sandwiches and sipping on glogg (aka mulled wine), take a skate on the Natrel Rink, which is now open for the season. See listing for details.
At the Gladstone Flea, which takes place on November 26 and December 10, you can pick up locally-made essential oils from Coco Botanicals, vegan nail polish from CANVAS Lacquer, macrame plant hangers from Plantbaby and gorgeous vintage dip-dyed wool blankets from My Frugal Father. See website for details.
Held at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto (16 Spadina Rd) from December 1 to 3, this market features more than 40 vendors selling handmade Indigenous wares like moccasins, beadwork, traditional and contemporary jewellery and dream catchers. While shopping, snack on kokums cookies (aka grandmothers cookies) and afterwards, make Christmas tree ornaments in a free workshop. See website for details.
Black Owned Unity is an organization that supports the next generation of Black entrepreneurs through their pop-up markets that focus on Black-owned businesses. For their holiday pop-up at Wychwood Barns (601 Christie) on December 3, theyve gathered more than 60 vendors selling everything from jewellery and patterned socks to quirky enamel pins and lingerie that comes in an array of skin tones. The market also features food and live music. See website for details.
Cash is permitted at the Bunz Holiday Flea on December 3, but wheres the fun in that when you could trade dog toys for artwork by Tamidrawstuff, N64 games for hand-painted ceramics by Moonbeam Co. or tokens and tall cans (the default Bunz currency) for Rambo Bambionos silkscreened t-shirts. Located at the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen West), the flea also features a performance by Maaskant. See website for details.
Sprawled over four floors at the Great Hall (1087 Queen West) on December 3, the Toronto Art Crawls Christmas market features nearly 100 artists and designers, food vendors and a live DJ. Kids get in free and adult tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door. The first 25 people in the door will get a VIP swag bag. See website for details.
City of Craft is the self-proclaimed place to be for all things crafty and we cant disagree. In addition to more than 60 local artists and makers, the fair transforms the Theatre Centre (1115 Queen West) on December 8 to 10 with large-scale installations and hosts free craft workshops. See website for details.
Make the yuletide gay at Pink Xmas, the annual holiday show hosted by the queer craft, fashion, art and lit fair Pink Market. There will be 45 vendors selling unique wares like NEW FRDMs Femme Visibility floral pin, prints by Grrrlspells and cheeky stickers from Temper Tantrum. This years market will be held December 9 and 10 at the 519 Community Centre (519 Church). See listing for details.
East enders can do their holiday shopping and their weekly grocery haul at the inaugural Leslieville Holiday Market at Rorschach Brewing Co (1001 Eastern) on December 16 and 17. Shop gift-ready wares like handcrafted jewellery, vintage home decor and cashmere wraps, while you feast on Tibetan momos, sweet and savoury Belgian waffles and hot brisket sandwiches. The Leslieville Farmers Market (one of the organizers, along with the Leslieville Flea), is stirring up a 350-liter pot of homemade hot cider and Rorschach is brewing a special chocolate cranberry beer for the occasion. See website for details.
At the Toronto Vegan Winter Market, shop for animal-friendly gifts like soaps by Graydon Skincare, bath soaks from Sudastorium, gluten-free desserts from Dolled Up, Wullys winter jackets and dairy-free cheeses. This year, the market is at Lithuanian House (1573 Bloor West) on December 17. Buy your $5 ticket in advance its likely to sell out. See website for details.
Youre bound to find a gift for everyone on your list at Makeologys holiday market, which takes place at Wychwood Barns (601 Christie) on December 17. Theres beautiful ceramics by Talia Silva, adorable outdoorsy-printed baby bibs by ReFluff, candleholders made out of slabs of wood by the Living North and cozy scarves by Knitbrooks. See listing for details.
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