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December 2010 - Nr. 12
The best of Seasons from Echo Germanica
Dick Altermann at the computer

Christmas Fair in Toronto

Lowe’s Toronto Christmas Market appears to be a huge success, if one can judge it by the thousands of visitors that streamed into the Distillery District last Saturday, ignoring the minus 3 degree temperature and the sharp, icey winds from the North, that were gusting to 35 mph.

Toronto Christmas MarketSince the orientation of the distillery main area is from North to south, one can safely say that it was windy.

But the fair more than makes up for the discomforts. A multitude of vendors were spaced – in small wooden huts or kiosks – throughout the major areas of the venue. They were offering all kinds of seasonal items such as gifts; food and decorative Fabian's Hexenhaus (Gingerbread cottage)items to the many visitors- including a wonderful “Gingerbread Cottage” (Hexenhaus) at Fabian’s hut. Since Fabian’s were one of our most loyal clients, their display was one of the first I visited and later went back for their hot chocolate. Their ‘Café’ on Fabian's Cafe's hutMarkham Road in Scarborough started its life as “Kaffee Ricksdorf”, of ‘Berliner’ extraction, many, many years ago and Fabian’s has already earned quite a reputation for it’s delicious cakes and pastries – not to mention the excellent lunch service.

A vendor of Christmas itemsOther vendors had come from all over the world presenting the seasonal items of many different nationalities. One could even participate in a ‘taste-test’ of “Glenfiddich” Single Malt Whiskey or by ‘Coin Art’ at one of the kiosks. A Mecca for coin collectors!

Santa in a tentOf course there was also a lot to entertain the young visitors. Santa Claus had a tent – and a line-up in front of it, an angelic looking ‘Angel’ was making the rounds of the area, much to the delight of the kids and the young at heart. There was also a long line-up at the Ferris wheel, and since the sun had come out the kids took advantage of the carnival-like atmosphere by the large Christmas tree.

Yes, some vendors offered ‘Glühwein’ (Mulled Wine) and a large choir was caroling at the entrance to the market to get the visitors into the proper ‘Christmassy’ mood. It was magical!

An angelIf the visitors needed to warm up for a while and could not find one of the brassieres – where wood-fires were burning to warm their hands – they could visit all the heated artist’s studios, art galleries and other restaurants and shops that the distillery district is famous for.

Children and angelsWe have seen a number of outdoor Toronto Christmas Markets in the past – I am thinking of the ones at City Hall and the St. Lawrence Market – that have only been marginally successful, but the new venue at the Distillery seems to be the ideal location for a permanent annular event that a large city, such as Toronto, actually needs and deserves!

The Christmas treeIf you do not want to drive yourself and the parking – although available – at the Distillery is a bit of a hassle, take the TTC! Use subway to go to Union Station and walk over to the south-east corner of Front and Bay streets – to the bus-stop – and the number 72A bus will take you right to the front entrance of the market. It will also take you back when you are done! The market closes on Sunday, the 12th of December, so there is still some time to visit it after you read about it, in our paper. By the way, there is no charge to visit the Christmas Market at the Distillery!

As always,

Dick Altermann

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Dick reports about community, historical, cultural, ethnic events within the distribution area of Echo Germanica from a German-Canadian perspective.

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