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Reasons to love Christmas in Canada

1 It's a festive (and cultural) hub: North America's fourth largest city is a lot smaller than NYC, so way more "completable", and with 200,000 students now flocking to what used to be known as the provincial capital, this vibrant hub of culture has become the hottest ticket for food, fashion and music with the friendliest, happiest inhabitants in the West. And it's at its very best in December, with a massive Christmas Market selling everything from sweets to mulled wine, pop-up beer gardens, ice rink, sparkling trees and Santa.

2 There'll (probably ) be snow At this time of year, you want snow, and you're more likely to get it in Toronto then wet old Britain. Toronto was sprinkled with a flurry as early as October, so it's looking likely there'll be a white Christmas.

3 The hotels are amazing We're talking specifically about The Drake Hotel. Sadly not owned by the Drake, but it's still amazing. Jonathan at front desk welcomes guests in like a bbf you haven't seen for 10 years, and because it's cold outside and you're feeling a bit Home Alone and cuddly (it's Christmas after all), this kind of treatment couldn't be more needed. There's a bottle of champers and a packet of popcorn next to the bed, Malin + Goetz shower products which give the whole room a coconut and rum scent and SO. MUCH. MORE. We loved this place.

For NYE why not treat yourself to a night at The Four Seasons. Go for a swim and jacuzzi in the hotel spa before dinner and do the strawberries and champagne thing before squeezing into a killer LBD for party time in Downtown.

4 The restaurants revolve (well, one does) You can't go to Toronto and not do dinner up the CN Tower. Overlooking the whole of Lake Ontario, it's a must, even if the revolving restaurant does make you feel a tiny bit odd at times. Don't worry, it doesn't move fast enough for you to suffer motion sickness but one minute you're telling your partner to look at how cool that lit up ice rink down yonder looks and seconds later, it's not there anymore. Toronto is literally teeming with fun stuff to do in the days: Breakfast at The Drake on Queen Street West. Great poached eggs. Brunch at Lisa Marie by Toronto's pop-up king, Matt Basile. Check out Kensington Markets huge food halls, vintage clothing shops Do dinner at Fonda Lola Queen Street West, delicious Mexican bistro (really near The Drake Hotel).

5 The NYE bars are cool You want cool choices for New Year's Eve action and with the city's West side doing food and music in ways that make London's East do a double take - we're talking oyster bars, craft beers and poutine joints on every corner - for a shed load less than you'd pay in London. Garrison ($25 entry), where songs from 1894 to 2016 are played in chronological order on New Years Eve, has a great atmosphere and is super popular, so be warned, advanced tickets sell out quickly. The Dakoyta tavern: ($20 entry) is a really cool underground bluegrass themed bar with live music on NYE. Tickets are usually around $20. It's a pretty small place though, so perhaps start there and go on somewhere else later. The Horseshoe tavern isone of the city's classic music venues which has a big back room where bands play. The Sadies, which are a local band, play there every NYE. Tickets are $25, Horseshoe Tavern.

Anne S.V.    12/16/2018


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