All posts by Lia Nardone

Mariah Carey Performs At Hudson’s Bay Window Unveiling

All we  wanted for Christmas was Mariah Carey, and our wish finally came true!

Editors note: We sent our intrepid reporter Lia Nardone to report on the biggest event of the Christmas season in Toronto… Mariah Carey’s (somewhat) live performance of All I Want for Christmas is You. Read on for more about Lia’s woman-on-the-street experience covering this “story”.

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On Thursday, November 3, 2016, the streets around Toronto’s Eaton Centre were jam-packed for the unveiling of the annual Hudson’s Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue Christmas window displays. But what really had the crowd in a frenzy was an appearance by the queen of Christmas herself, Mariah Carey, who gave a million dollar performance!  (Literally! She was paid One. Million. Dollars.  to sing two songs.)

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I was one of the lucky ones in the crowd, arriving three hours early to claim a spot in attempt to be closest to Carey. Alas, I couldn’t beat the die hard fans lambs,  some of whom traveled all the way from England just to attend the free show.

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As access to the stage area opened right at 6pm, a stampede of festive Carey fans made their way towards the performance area, without regard for the vehicles still idling on the road. Meanwhile the drivers of said idling vehicles became trapped Jurassic Park style by the frenzied crowd jostling for position. It was quite the scene.

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Cops were soon able to defuse the situation, but that didn’t come without some begging.  A security officer came on the megaphone and urged the crowd, “the show will not start unless you all cooperate and move.”

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Little did we know, the show wouldn’t start for another 45 minutes, despite the Mariah mob obeying their commands. The “Always Be My Baby” singer showed up fashionably late with gorgeous shimmery arms and all, but not before Mayor John Tory was booed while introducing an exec from the Hudson’s Bay Company.

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Before she came out, rockin’ a red and hot pink Anna Maier gown, we bonded as a crowd by chanting her name, belting out her music, and religiously refreshing her twitter feed as we waited for showtime.

Finally, Mariah graced the stage and performed two Holiday favourites, including “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”

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In what seemed like a blink of an eye, the show finished, filling the sky with fireworks and snow-like confetti to really get us into the Christmas Spirit.
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Watch Mariah’s full performance, courtesy of CBC, below.

As the large crowd started to make their way toward the end of the street, I was pushed into the Eaton Centre where I gladly warmed up with a Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks to prepare me for the window displays.

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As I opened the doors  at Saks Fifth Avenue, I was greeted by a beautifully decked Christmas tree, and a less rowdy crowd taking photos together.

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I was getting total Elf vibes as I explored the the incredibly decorated department store, filled with holly, garland, and of course– candy!

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The store halls filled up with the beautiful sound of the Jazz band downstairs, who seemed to put a smile on every shoppers face as they passed by.

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The displays kept up with quite the Canadian theme, with features like Canadian geese (which were also showcased in the windows), red moose, and what looked like a projected picture show of a large Canadian moose trekking through the snow.

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img_4969The outdoor displays shared the common Canuck theme with their “Enchanted Forest” windows, showcasing animated forest creatures playing in the snow.
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It was a very festive and entertaining evening with Mariah Carey and Hudson’s Bay Fifth Avenue + Saks Fifth Avenue! We’re you able to see the event?

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Ugly NHL Jackets and Ties

Just In: Ugly NHL Suit Jackets and Ties

Now you can channel your inner Don Cherry when you suit up in one of our new NHL ugly sport jacket and tie sets.  If wearing grandma’s old yuletide jumper isn’t your jam, but you want to stand out among your buds, you’ll need these dapper duds! Whether you’re attending a cheesy Christmas party or a posh New Years soiree, you’re sure to score while sporting one of these bad boys.

Toronto Maple Leafs Suit Jacket
Get Fugly in our Maple Leafs Suit Jacket and Tie!

Sears Portrait Studio to the Rescue!

What to do when you’re in a pinch and need product photos fast, but don’t know where to turn? That was our predicament when we received our very first batch of ugly NHL suit jackets and ties.The moment they arrived at our warehouse, we thought they were just about the most awesome apparel we’ve ever seen. So naturally we wanted to share them with the Internet tout de suite.

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-10-23-39-pmThat meant we needed product photos within the hour! Someone suggested we try the Sears Portrait Studio down the street. We all laughed and laughed… and then we called and booked a 5pm appointment. That was easy! But we still needed to find someone to model our fine fashions. What to do? Where to go? The local Goodlife gym, of course. That’s there we found Brandon, a friend of a friend who was happy to work the gig in exchange for free swag (namely, the jacket he’s holding below.)

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-10-24-12-pmSo we threw Brandon in our truck with a pile of jackets and headed over to Sears Portrait Studio.

img_3572We were greeted by a bemused employee who told us our clever gimmick was a welcome respite between the baby portraits and passport photos that are her stock-in-trade. In fact, we’re quite sure she’s never had so much fun working at Sears!

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-10-23-54-pmIt was when we took a coffee break in the mall food court that tragedy struck! Just after photographing the Toronto Blue Jays jacket, we headed to Timmies for a double double and found out the Jays had just lost their Championship Series against Cleveland, and were out of the playoffs. Bummer!

img_3603But we are glass-half-full type people, so we said good-bye baseball, hello hockey! We’ve got some really ugly NHL suits for five awesome franchises, meaning fans can dress as loud as they cheer!

And here’s a shout-out to Sears! They were able to get us in and out of there in a flash. And, for the low price of $60, we took home a  CD of six hi-res images, including the rights to publish them anywhere in the world. Score!

By the way, if you’re interested in one of our licensed sports jackets, you’ll need to act fast! We anticipate that they’ll sell out VERY quickly.  So order yours today!

Montreal Canadiens Sport Jacket and Tie
Montreal Canadiens Sport Jacket and Tie

 

Edmonton Oilers Suit Jacket and Tie
Edmonton Oilers Ugly NHL Jacket
Detroit Red Wings Suit Jacket and Tie NHL
Detroit Red Wings Ugly Jacket and Tie
Boston Bruins Jacket and Tie Combo
Boston Bruins Jacket and Tie Combo
Toronto Blue Jays Suit Jacket and Tie
Toronto Blue Jays Suit Jacket and Tie

Head over to RetroFestive.ca to order yours today!

5 Ugly Sweater Alternatives to Rock This Christmas!

If your Grandma’s eggnog-stained jumper isn’t what you want to be seen in at your holiday soirées, we can’t blame you! Even though the traditional Ugly Christmas Sweater is kind of our thing, we can understand why you’d want to kick the originality up a few notches.

Remember: Ugly isn’t one dimensional!Throw some glitter, or a cat graphic on your accessory and you’ll be the most hideous apple this side of the nuthouse!

Here are (just a few) of our products that will have you considering an alternative to the classic patterned pull-over!

Ugly Christmas Tie

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Attending a suit and tie affair? Swap your run-of-the-mill black tie for our super festive (and totally ugly!) Christmas ties. Your fellow party-goers will be jealous.

Ugly Christmas Jammies

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Jump into something different this holiday! These Matching Holiday Onesies are perfect for you, whether you’re flying solo, or have a mister/misses waiting for you under the mistletoe. Who said you can’t wear your PJs to Christmas dinner?

Ugly Christmas Socks

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Warm up your toes in holiday style! We have a large assortment of Ugly Christmas Socks and Knee-highs, including toe socks (of course)!

Ugly “Naughty” and “Nice” Santa Hats

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Speaking of the “Naughty” and “Nice” list… which one are you on? Show off what team you’re on this year with our perfect “Naughty” and “Nice” Santa Hats. Sure, you might be gifted with a little coal, but it will surely be worth it!

Happy Birthday Jesus T-Shirt

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Celebrate two special occasions this Christmas with our blinged-out Happy Birthday Jesus Tee! Your religious relatives will thank you. Don’t miss out on the party.

Ugly Christmas Suit

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Take a page out of Barney Stinson’s book and suit up. Our Ugly Christmas Tree Suit is perfect for classy bros, who still want to enjoy a big cup of holiday cheer. This year, when they talk about the big man in the red suit…make sure that man is you.

 

Ugly Christmas Boxers

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What are you hiding in your under carriage? Wrap your package up good with our Ugly Christmas Boxers. Wear these and you’ll surely be knocked off the “Naughty List”, that is, until Christmas night! Hopefully no one will sneak a peak!

 

Ugly Mistletoe Headband

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You will never be caught solo under the mistletoe again with this amazing invention, our Mistletoe Headband. Stand near your lover, your crush, or Ryan Gosling — Christmas tradition says you gotta pucker up!

 

Ugly Christmas Tree Costume

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Really commit to Christmas this year by embodying a decked out evergreen! This hilarious Christmas Tree Costume suit will surely put everybody in the holiday spirit.

 

Ugly NHL Sweater

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Technically this is still a sweater, but it’s also so much more than that! Root on your favourite sports team with our beloved Ugly NHL Sweaters! Perfect for Christmas, but can be worn with pride year-round.

What do you plan on rocking this Christmas? Let us know in the comments below! And remember, ordering is available at Retrofestive.com year-round, but our store opens this Saturday (October 29), so come on down and give us a visit. Located at 1100 Invicta Drive, Oakville.

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Our Favourite Kid Stars in Christmas Movies: Where Are They Now?

In light of the recent Macaulay Culkin/Kevin McCallister video that surfaced the net last week (embedded below just in case you missed it), curious feelings surrounding other various Christmas movie child stars have manifested into our nosy minds.

The video above depicts an angry, and not to mention, strung out looking Kevin McCallister (aka Macaulay Culkin), who has yet to deal with the abandonment issues and possible PTSD the 1990 classic, Home Alone has left him with.

Though this video caused a few broken hearts for all the life-long wet bandit admirers, it also brought a nostalgic chuckle to audiences around the globe. The 5 minute Youtube video inspired us to do some intensive research to locate the 9 cute little kids that have starred in all of our favourite classics. Sadly, not everyone has had the career we all expected they would when they first started out. From Primetime Emmy nominations, to arrests and post-grunge bands,  there is a great range of triumph to demise within these 9 former child stars. Though, with what Macaulay’s post Home Alone years looked like, the most successful of the few may be the ones who opted out of show business; but we’ll let you decide for yourself.

1. Cindy Lou Who from ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ (2000)

AKA Taylor Momsen

Momsen stole the hearts of movie go-ers everywhere, as the adorable Cindy Lou Who from the 2000 live action version of ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’. Singing a cute rendition of ‘Where Are You Christmas’ the young star set high hopes for her future career. Though, her music now is not quite as ‘cute’ and ‘happy’, as the Faith Hill festive single, Momsen has earned in her spot in the music industry with her alternative-rock band, The Pretty Reckless.

Following her highly sought after role as Jenny Humphrey on Gossip Girl, the former IMG Model signed on to be the new face of Madonna’s 2010 clothing line, ‘Material Girl’. In late August of the same year, Momsen’s band released their first studio album, leading to her decision to make music her main focus. In early September 2015,  the former childhood star confirmed that the band is working on new material in the studio. Maybe it will be out in time for next Christmas?

2. Charlie Calvin from ‘The Santa Clause’ (1994)

AKA Eric LLloyd

Eric Lloyd starred as Charlie Calvin in The Santa Clause at the tender age of 8 years old! It’s no wonder that his performance as Scott Calvin (aka Tim Allen) ‘s  son was nothing short of adorable. Charlie’s dedication and sense of belief made the film, about a man who inadvertently kills Santa on Christmas Eve, and then is forced to take his place, a truly magical time for us all. Lloyd went on to play the same character in the 2 not-so popular sequels of the film.

Now, at the age of 29, Eric has supposedly quit acting and partnered up with his college roommate, Tyler Payne, opening LP Studios, a production and post production music and film company located in California.

3. Jake from ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ (1998)

AKA Jonathan Taylor Thomas AKA J.T.T

Another one of Tim Allen’s fictional sons! The teenage heart throb, nicknamed J.T.T, was plastered on every young girl’s wall during the 1990’s, thanks to Tiger Beat magazine. Though, his career seemed to fizzle out following the popular Christmas film, he did make a few cameo appearances on various television shows like Veronica Mars, Ally McBeal, Smallville, and 8 Simple Rules. Plus, the American sweetheart is not just all looks! J.T.T was enrolled at Harvard University, where he studied philosophy and history, prior to graduating from Columbia. Thomas currently guest starts on ABC’s Last Man Standing, reuniting him with his former TV dad, and The Santa Claus(e) himself, Tim Allen.

4. Rusty Griswold from ‘National Lampoons: Christmas Vacation’ (1989)

AKA Johnny Galecki

One of the running jokes of the National Lampoon’s Vacation movies is the inconsistency of son Rusty and daughter Audrey. Chevy Chase’s fictional children are played by different actors in each film, often of interchangeable age (Rusty being younger in the Christmas film, and older in the Vegas film). The 1989 comedy classic Christmas Vacation features Johnny Galecki as son, Rusty. The relatively unknown actor landed the role, despite having only done two previous movies (one of them another 1989 Christmas movie, Prancer). Three years after the successful Christmas flick, Johnny made his first appearance as David Healy (aka Darlene’s love interest) on Roseanne, making the actor a semi-regular cast member for the show’s last five seasons. In 2007, following multiple television appearances, he was cast on The Big Bang Theory as the loveable main character Leonard, scoring him a few Prime Time Emmy Nominations and seven People’s Choice Awards affiliated to the show. Not too shabby, Russ…not too shabby.

5. Ralphie from ‘A Christmas Story’ (1983)

AKA Peter Billingsley

6. Michael from ‘Elf’ (2003)

AKA Daniel Tay

Buddy the Elf’s supportive little brother, Michael, was played by 11 year old Daniel Tay, who has not been active in the Entertainment industry since 2009. In 2003, the same year Elf was brought to the big screen, Tay played a young Harvey Pekar (the older version played by Paul Giamatti) in the critically acclaimed American Splendor. Following this film, and a few small television roles, Tay began doing voice work, providing several video game voiceovers in such works as Bully and Grand Theft Auto.

7. Sam from ‘Love, Actually’ (2003)

AKA Thomas Brodie- Sangster

Thomas Sangster played Sam in Love Actually, a little boy in love with his classmate, Olivia. Since the romantic Christmas flick’s release, Sangster kept up with his acting career, landing solid roles in Game of Thrones and the Maze Runner. His most recent role was a small one in the newly released and highly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Though his Wikipedia page does state that he is 25, the fact is questionable considering he still has that baby face we know and love. Lucky girl, Olivia!

8. Jamie from ‘Jingle All the Way’ (1996)

AKA Jake Lloyd

Next to Macaulay, Lloyd’s career seemed to have the most promising potential. Following his role, alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, in the 1996 hit Jingle All the Way, Lloyd scored the highly pined over role of young Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. After voicing the same character for several Star Wars video games, the child actor disappeared from the entertainment industry, only to sporadically resurface on the TMZ home page, after multiple arrests and even a death hoax.

Several entertainment websites state that after his role in the famously hated first prequel, Lloyd reportedly destroyed all of his Star Wars memorabilia and quit acting. The infamous flop film, directed by George Lucas, caused the former star to be bullied in school, where children would taunt him in the halls, making lightsaber noises whenever he would walk by. If that wasn’t sad enough, following the June 2015 arrest, his mother Lisa Lloyd, revealed that her son is schizophrenic, and that in March of this year he attacked her after going off of his medication.

9. Kevin from ‘Home Alone’ (1990)

AKA Macaulay Culkin


Macaulay was easily the most well-known child stars of the last few decades. After the very successful Home Alone in 1990, our hearts broke as he played the cute-as-can-be preteen Thomas J in My Girl, a film that left everyone leaving the theatres in hysterics. Following his tear jerking performance in the early 90’s classic, Culkin went on to star in the Home Alone sequel, Richie Rich and the Good Son. And, like any other young star, Macaulay made his rounds on American television, even hosting Saturday Night Live in 1991.

It is no secret that Macaulay had a tough time, after his initial attempt to quit acting at the age of 14. Though, he resurfaced after his parents nasty divorce and custody battle, dating That 70’s Show and Family Guy star Mila Kunis for 8 years. The couple broke up in 2010, which allegedly lead to his demise, and struggle with drugs and alcohol. As Culkin once said: ‘I had all the fame anyone could want, and I ran away from it’, learning the tough lesson that his Home Alone character came to realize, be careful what you wish for.

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The Toronto Christmas Market

Photo via instagram: @evicks
Photo via instagram: @evicks

For just shy of one month, the Toronto Christmas Market has been buzzing with festive on goers,  cuddling up with mulled wine, keeping warm under the mistletoe. Located in the Distillery District, the Toronto tradition embraces the Old World’s early 1400’s outdoor markets, capturing heritage and romance, while showcasing a tremendous amount of local, handcrafted products. Retro Festive has been a proud vendor at the market for five years, and will continue on until this Sunday, December 20th when the annual celebration comes to an end for the holiday season.

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Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the jovial affair, taking in the enchanting vibes dwelling amongst the traditional brick-paved streets of the distillery district.  A welcoming presence haunts the walk ways, and as the night grows,  Canadian crowds expand rapidly.

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Photo via instagram: @thesix.co

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My heart was warmed by the thriving crowds, with each individual eager to snap the perfect photo to showcase the festivities before us. Couples patiently wait for their chance under the giant mistletoe, as others graciously offer to take photos for strangers, as if they’ve been reunited with old friends. The chummy environment strikes up small engagements amongst guests, creating colourful evidence to the patterned notion of the friendly Canadian heart.

Photo via instagram: @viola_bae
Photo via instagram: @viola_bae
Photo via instagram: @_ginger.spice
Photo via instagram: @_ginger.spice
Photo via instagram: @pierce_lang
Photo via instagram: @pierce_lang
Photo via instagram: @kellyelizabeth17
Photo via instagram: @kellyelizabeth17

The most engaging of attractions proved to be the giant Christmas Tree, located in the heart of the market. Crowds gathered around, like tiny Christmas lights strung up on a tree, awaiting the ideal moment to steal a quick photo by the strikingly decorated timber.

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Photo via instagram: @trevor_barker
Photo via instagram: @azaleazoe
Photo via instagram: @azaleazoe
Photo via instagram: @choy_riz
Photo via instagram: @choy_riz
Photo via instagram: @bendrakbarry
Photo via instagram: @bendrakbarry
Photo via instagram: @lianardone
Photo via instagram: @lianardone
Photo via instagram: @theundeadsasa
Photo via instagram: @theundeadsasa
Photo via instagram: @blue_the_frenchiedog
Photo via instagram: @blue_the_frenchiedog

The magical affair seemed to bring out the holiday spirit in everyone, as there was an overwhelming outpour of love and affection between families, friends and lovebirds.

Photo via instagram @ronnelpanizaresphotos
Photo via instagram @ronnelpanizaresphotos
Photo via instagram: @caribrunton
Photo via instagram: @caribrunton
Photo via instagram: @crooksarah
Photo via instagram: @crooksarah
Photo via instagram: @missmimaaay
Photo via instagram: @missmimaaay
Photo via instagram: @jakejjamieson
Photo via instagram: @jakejjamieson
Photo via instagram: @jpontenza5
Photo via instagram: @jpontenza5

Another lively feature of the market was most definitely the giant mistletoe, hung from a colossal red heart. The attraction had everyone lining up for their turn under the infamous Christmas custom, from couples..

Photo via instagram: @meganbeechy
Photo via instagram: @meganbeechy
Photo via instagram: @paytontarbutt
Photo via instagram: @paytontarbutt

to best friends..

Photo via instagram: @samanthajean34
Photo via instagram: @samanthajean34

and even this cute little guy..

Photo via instagram: @rainaacc
Photo via instagram: @rainaacc

Even Santa took time out of his busy schedule to take some much anticipated photos with family and friends.

Photo via instagram: @boram_bella
Photo via instagram: @boram_bella
Photo via instagram: @the_great_louis
Photo via instagram: @the_great_louis

All of the decor and holiday activities were awe-inspiring, but most would say, the two things that bring people together are food and drink; a pairing in which the market was not lacking. There were great eats, starting with the two Canadian delicacies:

Poutine..

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..and Maple Bacon Donuts..

Photo via instagram: @trevor_barker
Photo via instagram: @trevor_barker

Which, apparently, are great to wash down with delicious mulled wine, or some lager from Toronto’s very own Mill St. Brewery (whichever tickles your fancy).

Photo via instagram: @alliblair7
Photo via instagram: @alliblair7
Photo via instagram: @connieandcharlotte
Photo via instagram: @connieandcharlotte

The best sight to see are those braving the crowds, turkey leg in hand. The openly determined attendees are happy to share the fun with others, opting for quirky photos with chuckle worthy poses.
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Photo via instagram: @lukevucetic
Photo via instagram: @lukevucetic
Photo via instagram: @el_cai
Photo via instagram: @el_cai

Other favourites included the giant potato stick..

Photo via instagram: @krischacha
Photo via instagram: @krischacha

and street pastries to satisfy your Christmas sweet tooth!

Photo via instagram: @agxo
Photo via instagram: @agxo

Vendors are located in booths around the market, showcasing items like handmade ornaments, holiday memorabilia and much more.

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Retro Festive’s booth is on the main strip, about 4 or 5 booths from the Ferris Wheel, and includes a number of our great products, including ornaments, mugs, and kitschy stocking stuffers.

Photo via instagram: @awk_grover
Photo via instagram: @awk_grover

As the official website states, the Toronto Christmas Market is a great place to gather with family and friends to celebrate the tradition and romance of Christmas.

Photo via instagram: @baumanelise
Photo via instagram: @baumanelise

Though, it is quite clear that the reoccurring theme is most definitely love.  The holiday season is a great time to remind those you love of just how much you care for them.

Photo via instagram: @hahamitch
Photo via instagram: @hahamitch
Photo via instagram: @angie.perezzz
Photo via instagram: @angie.perezzz

It is also a great time to ask a certain  important question… (congratulations to this couple)!

Photo via instagram: @kirstenschollig
Photo via instagram: @kirstenschollig

Whether you attend with friends, family, lovers, or pets, the Christmas Market is not something to skip out on!
Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 1.55.08 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-18 at 1.56.13 PMThis weekend is your last chance to stop by and celebrate the holidays at the Distillery District!

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Open:
Friday: 12 noon to 10:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am to 10:00pm
Sunday: 10:00am to 9:00pm

A special thanks to those who have kindly shared their photos with us, seeing everyone’s happy and festive memories was much appreciated and warmed our hearts.

Until next time! Merry Christmas!

 

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