Five reasons to visit Toronto's Distillery District

Perfect charming gifts, homestyle eats and trendy finds — there's no better time to stroll this 'hood than during its annual Christmas Market.

Christmas Market Magic. Photo by The McLelland Group

Christmas Market Magic. Photo by The McLelland Group

From November 29 to December 15, over 30 vendors will line these weathered-brick streets, offering everything from handmade ornaments and roasted chestnuts to designer bags and modern art. Here are some of things to check out on your visit:

1. Comfort food

Escape from the crowds and warm up with Oktoberfest Sausage, the haute versionof Toronto street meat: a grilled sausage on an egg bun, topped with warm sauerkraut and hot mustard. Finish off with a treat from Soma Chocolatemaker. We love its decadent english toffee (great for stocking stuffers!) and delicious hot chocolate. The mayan is our fave: dark chocolate with chili, cinnamon and ginger. The best part? it’s all made on site! 32 Tank House Lane.

English toffee from Soma Chocolatemaker

English toffee from Soma Chocolatemaker

2. Style steals

Stop in at high-end Lileo to score some serious designer finds for the fashionistas on your list. The cool loft-like space, complete with juice bar, sells the hottest shoes, accessories and clothing, including V::Room’s plush organic cotton and cashmere. Another must-have item is the super-soft Japanese denim (Rihanna and Drake are big fans) from brands like 3×1. 12 Trinity Street.

3. Best-ever hostess gifts

With works from over 100 local artists, Distill Gallery’s endless selection makes for unique presents. Pick up a six-pack of glasses made from recycled beer bottles for your bro or a handmade necklace for your BFF. For the man in your life, we love Mari Cla Ro’s messenger bags made from car interiors — the tags even tell you the make and year of the vehicle that was upcycled! 24 Tank House Lane.

Distill Gallery

Distill Gallery

4. Mexican hot spot 

Have dinner at the trendy new El Catrin, the show-stopping Mexican eatery that took over the old boiler House restaurant’s cavernous space, complete with a floor-to-ceiling mural by street artist Oscar Flores. Enjoy tapas-style tostadas (tuna, foie gras or raw beef), tasty tacos and sweet caramelized tortilla chips. Plus, it has gluten-free and vegetarian menus. 18 Tank House Lane.

5. Fireside fun

Head to one of the many beer or mulled wine (glühwein) gardens and grab a spot on a patio to enjoy a hot spiced drink by a firepit. Mill Street, Christmas Market.