I always find it interesting when I get this feeling of new found discovery in my own city. You know that feeling of amazement you initially feel as you stumble upon a new street, a new neighbourhood or just a new view for the first time in a foreign place? Well, sometimes I get that feeling just 20 km away from my house.
Fascinated by old world eras, antiques and Victorian architecture, The Distillery District has always been a favourite part of town for me. Walking by Parliament and Mill Streets makes me feel like I’m stepping back in time. My mind nostalgically wanders through stories and imagination as I walk on the cobblestone streets that are virtually forgotten in a city filled with concrete and never-ending condos. And if the Distillery District wasn’t cool enough on its own, this beloved neighbourhood’s Toronto Christmas Market just adds even more sparkle and more excitement for an old-timey gal like myself.
After seeing the ads on the subway and after hearing my friends and colleagues gush about it, I couldn’t wait to check it out. I had a day off on Monday so I thought it would be the perfect time to explore the magical aura of the Christmas Markets. Well, upon arrival, I was hit with sheepish disappointment: the Christmas Market is closed on Mondays. But, for some reason, we didn’t see it as a missed opportunity at all. We made the best of the situation, and funny enough, the markets being closed worked in our favour: we had the whole neighbourhood to ourselves.
There were no crowds and no lineups. The cobblestone streets were peaceful and quiet which made it perfect for taking pictures, for leisurely strolls and for casually visiting the opened shops of the District. We learned a thing or two about whiskey and enjoyed a creamy, rich hot chocolate from the neighbourhood’s famous Soma Chocolatemaker. Our memorable five hour stay at the District (yes, five hours. Good company sure makes time fly by!) was wrapped up with a delicious seafood dinner at the Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill – no reservations necessary.
My favourite part of it all? The lights. The luminescent string lights draping over our heads created a whimsical feel for the era, the neighbourhood, and Christmas.