It’s beginning to look a lot like, well, like the holiday season in Toronto. The Santa Claus parade has passed, winter's first snowfall has dusted windshields and perhaps the most telling sign: holiday jingles are now on solid rotation just about anywhere you go.
While it's easy (read: lazy) to check off your shopping list at the mall, there’s something extra thoughtful about giving a present that's been locally made, printed, sewn, painted, carved, baked, salvaged... you get the idea. Toronto's east end is full of fun holiday markets flush with discoveries for inspired, one-of-a-kind gifts. Here are five local markets and events to find that special something.
LESLIEVILLE FLEA HOLIDAY MARKET
Flea markets are havens for finding one-of-a-kind gems, and the Leslieville Flea is no different. Back this season for not one but two holiday markets, organizers say select vendors have curated a variety of unique and affordable vintage items for everyone on the holiday gift giving list. Admission is always free and there will be food, coffee and music.
Nov. 26 & Dec. 10, 10 a.m - 4 p.m.
SH Armstrong Community Centre, 56 Woodfield Rd.
RIVERSIDE'S SHOP THE NEIGHBOURHOOD
On Saturday Nov. 25, Riverside's Shop The Neighbourhood will see local businesses opening their doors and inviting everyone for meet and greets and special happenings to help ring in the holidays. A number of fun and festive events will take place from 12 p.m. - 6 p.m. along Queen Street east from the DVP to Empire Ave. Among the highlights: Waxon Waxbar is offering 15% off select services to anyone who mentions Light Up Riverside; score 20-70% off on men’s and ladies’ apparel at Here & Now; and Saulter Street Brewery is throwing the after party with $5 pints and live music from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Nov. 25, 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.
EVERGREEN'S WINTER VILLAGE AT BRICK WORKS
Don’t let the cold stop you from getting outdoors. The Evergreen Brick Works Winter Village is back with a season-long celebration that kicks off Dec. 2. Cozy up to campfires, enjoy delicious dishes from local food trucks and check off your holiday shopping at the Evergreen Garden Market and the Etsy Holiday Market. This year’s Winter Village features a new line-up of outdoor activities — from street curling to fat biking — all offering an active way to experience winter in Toronto. Admission is free.
Weekends in December, plus weekdays from Dec. 26-29, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
More on Evergreen's Winter Village
HOLIDAY POP-UP AT RAWSPACE
Head to RAWspace, the Leslieville jewellery studio and workshop, for a special one-day holiday pop-up on Dec. 9. There will be a diverse selection of wares from made-in-Canada artisans on display at its space on Carlaw Ave. Beyond the pop-up, RAWSpace offers bench rentals for expert jewellers, and classes for those who want to learn the trade.
Dec. 9, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
270 Carlaw Ave., unit 102
LESLIEVILLE CHRISTMAS POP-UP MARKET
Enjoy a few days of holiday shopping sipping a drink, listening to some tunes and taking photos with Santa at the 4th Annual Leslieville Christmas Pop-up Market. The market, sponsored by Leslieville's The Vandenberg House, stretches over the weekend of Dec. 2-3 at The Riverdale Hub with holiday vendors, a cash bar and best soup competition. Admission is by canned food donation.
Dec. 2-3, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
1326 Gerrard St. E
Are we missing any other local holiday markets? Let us know in the comments.