There are two kinds of holiday season people – those who have their shopping done early and are ready to start celebrating versus the scrambling, last-minute procrastinators (we all know who we are). Ontario’s outdoor holiday markets will please both.

Knock off your shopping list with one-of-a-kind gifts, crafts and homemade pies, pastries and tarts. Get into the merry mood with festive entertainment, holiday carollers, sparkling lights, hot cider and mulled wine. And experience a taste of old world Europe at cultural-themed markets. The jolly man himself may even make an appearance at some of these events.

TorontoChristmasMarketPhoto credit: Toronto Christmas Market

Toronto Christmas Market, November 15 – December 23
The combination of heritage buildings, cobblestone laneways and festival decorations in Toronto’s Distillery Historic District makes this an Instagrammer’s paradise. And back again this year is the 100-foot light tunnel in which revelers can warm up with a hot cocoa while snapping that perfect holiday pic.

Village Noel Temiskaming, November 22-24, New Liskeard
Travel back in time to discover the ambiance and joie de vivre of a New France village during Christmastime. Join artisans, craftspeople, musicians, dancers, lumberjacks and historical personalities for this lively Northern Ontario event.

The Museum’s Christmas Market, November 29 – December 2, Ottawa
Head to the Grand Hall of the Canadian Museum of History for delicious food and unique, hand-made decorations, woodcraft, glass items, jewelry and more.

XMUS Festival, December 1, Gravenhurst
Get into the festive spirit at one of Muskoka’s favourite holiday events taking place  at Sawdust City Brewery, with food, drink and plenty of one-of-a-kind holiday gift giving discoveries.

HolidayMarket2_1920x1440Photo credit: Holiday Street Market

Holiday Street Market, December 1 & 8, Milton
This is the second year for the downtown outdoor fair on Main Street in Milton, held two Saturdays in December. Revellers can expect artisan stalls, delicious food, mulled wine, craft beer, arts and crafts for the kids, workshops for all ages, fire pits to roast marshmallows … and your favourite jolly fellow dressed in red.

FairSquarePhoto credit: Fair in the Square

Fair in the Square, December 1-23, Toronto (closed Mondays)
Returning for another year to Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square, this European-style event comes complete with a crackling fire, gourmet goodies, an ice skating rink, artisan crafts and a licensed ice bar (thank you, Jackson Triggs).

Ottawa Christmas Market, December 2-23 (select days)
Over 100 vendors at the Aberdeen Pavilion in Ottawa’s Lansdowne Park offer a selection of great ideas for stocking stuffers and host gifts as well as a lot to nosh on while you shop.

Christkindl Market, December 6-9, Kitchener
Canada’s original Christkindl Market, this event at Kitchener City Hall harks back to a bustling medieval German market and has been named one of Ontario’s ‘Top 100’ festivals and events. Sample Glühwein (mulled wine), watch blacksmiths demonstrations and take selfies with the various folklore characters.

Kingston Outdoor Christmas Market, December 8-9
The historic Hochelaga Inn turns into a Christmas fairy tale the whole family will enjoy. Inspired by European outdoor markets, the event features local makers, live entertainment, food, drink, lights, carol singing and, of course, an appearance by Santa.

Be sure to check out the Ontario events calendar for even more seasonal celebrations throughout the province.

Masthead photo credit: Holiday Street Market