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Where in Toronto: A Cockle-Warming Weekend at the Lowe’s Christmas Market

Even without snow, the Distillery Historic District can still feel Christmas-y (photo by Alexandra Grigorescu)

Each week, our intrepid interns reflect on life and times in the big city.

Man is an animal. It’s clearest in the winter when once-social beings huddle under blankets and attempt to hibernate. I fold like a cheap suit at the first sign of cold (and run for cover when the month-long barrage of Christmas carols begins), so this past Saturday was an exercise in endurance that became an unexpected reminder of how tempting this city can be.

The morning began with my first-ever Pilates experience. A previously purchased Groupon was nearing expiration, so my boyfriend and I headed to Imprint Yoga, which offers compact drop-in classes (subject to availability), ostensibly perfect for beginners unfamiliar with the torturous contortions. As we bent, stretched and pulsed, I thought longingly of breakfast in bed. I muttered curses under my breath. But as soon as the class concluded, I was surprised by a wonderful feeling of serenity, not unlike the post-traumatic bliss I imagine rescued castaways must experience. The endorphins were powerful, so we decided to take Bixi bikes along the Lakeshore to our next stop: Tthe Lowe’s Christmas Market at the Distillery Historic District.

Editor's note: We just couldn't resist running a photo of this furry fellow (photo by Alexandra Grigorescu)

The Distillery District was not yet a-twinklin’ with lights when we arrived, but we were greeted by the familiar smells of fresh bread from Brick Street Bakery. Sandwiches were had: citrus tuna and braised lamb. A carousel whirled youngsters, and a brave, bare-shouldered bride.The artisans and chefs lining the cobblestone streets were cheerful, some strumming guitars to entertain the roaming tykes, while torches and grated fires offered momentary respite from the cold. Tastings of Glenfiddich, Amarula and eggnog were on offer, but I had a clear goal: the ferris wheel. We stood shivering in line behind excited children and were rewarded with a beautiful sight at the top: the sun setting over the skyline while below us, the Christmas Market’s lights came alive.

The holiday spirit tends not to grip me – some years, it gives me a good-natured pat, while others, we sit tersely across the dinner table and ask for the salt shaker in clipped tones. Poised above the Market, the scent of mulled wine wafting up towards me, the holiday spirit and I made nice. I’m still a far cry from trudging through snow to carol, but I might appreciate the kind impulse behind it. I might even crack a smile.

—Alexandra Grigorescu

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