Nothing says the holidays like the scent of a fresh-cut evergreen tree wafting through your home and a stiff bit of cheer in hand. In Toronto, options for buying a real Christmas tree are everywhere — from grocery stores to side streets, or even out of the backs of trucks. Random pop-up tree lots seemingly crop up on just about every other corner during the holiday season.
You'll have to leave the east end if you’re looking for a choose-and-cut challenge, but you can't beat the convenience of a lot for something fast and fresh. From locally grown conifers to knowledgeable staff, check out these options for picking the perfect Christmas tree in the east end. Be warned: Most of the best lots sell out well before the holidays hit their stride.
EAST END GARDEN CENTRE
East End Garden Centre is ground zero for prime Christmas trees in Leslieville. Balsam and Fraser Firs, Scotch Pine and Kris Kringle trees come in a range of sizes from three to 16 feet. Prices start at $25 and they keep stock right up until Christmas eve, so procrastinators have no excuse.
1395 Queen St. E.
QUEEN GARDEN CENTRE
A newcomer to the east end, Queen Garden Centre has everything you need to make your holiday green and fresh. From garlands and wreaths to elaborate urns and holiday planters, the outdoor space even keeps a fire with hot chocolate to go around. They stock trees and will deliver and even set up. How about that service?
771 Queen St. E.
LIONS' CHRISTMAS TREE LOT AT WOODBINE PARK
A Beaches tradition for 26 years, last year the annual Lions Christmas Tree Lot at Kew Gardens moved to to the park at Woodbine Beach, east of the parking lot off of Lakeshore Boulevard. The location has free on-site parking and an easier loading and unloading space.
Beech Nursery has packed the place with all things holiday at the most wonderful time of the year. Fresh-cut trees range from 4 ft. to 12 ft. in varieties including Balsam ($50 to $150), Fraser ($25 to $60) and pine ($50). Bonus: Santa will dropping into Beech Nursery four Saturdays in a row starting Nov. 26.
4 Carlaw Ave.
BOSTON DISCOUNT STORE
This Queen East corner store does brisk business from local sidewalk traffic during the holiday season. Its modest nursery space along Boston Ave. is filled with a variety of reasonably priced pre-cut Christmas trees wrapped and ready to haul home.
1020 Queen St. E
OLD CABBAGETOWN TREE LOT
The Old Cabbagetown Tree Lot is a Toronto institution going strong since 1952, when Gerry McDermott began selling Christmas trees at the corner of Spruce and Parliament Streets. Small Fraser Firs start at $30 and prices and sizes range up from there. The lot is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. For procrastinators, the Old Cabbagetown Tree Lot remains open right up until Christmas eve.
Anyone who’s been to Evergreen Brickworks will tell you that it's the place to go, and that doesn’t change during the holidays. It's a prime place to find find locally farmed, fresh-cut sustainable Christmas trees, bows and wreaths to decorate your home. Their Balsam Firs, Fraser Firs and White Firs as well as White and Scotch Pine, sized 3 to 12 feet, mean you can get a pint-sized bundle of holiday joy for your tabletop, or a full beauty that will fill the living room.
550 Bayview Ave.
What's your go-to Christmas tree lot? Let us know in the comments below.