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Dec 21, 2012 02:22 PM

Christmas at Toronto: Good idea or not?

Hi all,

I am planning a roadtrip to downtown Toronto sometime from the 22nd to the 27th. Is this really a good time? Or will most of the stores and restaurants be closed? I suppose the local Chinatown will be mostly opened, but what about the rest of Toronto, especially in term of restaurants? Assuming it is still a good time to visit, any restaurant suggestion? Thanks.

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  1. Almost no food stores or other stores are open on the 25th.

    It's not the best time to visit, if non-Chinese restaurants are a priority. If you don't mind doing hotel restaurants and Chinese restaurants (the good ones in Markham and Richmond Hill will be open) on the 25th and 26th, it might still be an ok time to visit.

    Most of the non-Chinese and non-hotel restaurants will be closed the 25th and 26th. Many are also closed on Christmas Eve.

    Most restaurants are open their regular business hours on the 22nd, 23rd and 27th. Some will have regular business hours on the 24th.

    Here is a list of restaurants that are open on Christmas Day:

    Most of the better non-Chinese restaurants that are open on the 25th and 26th can be booked through .

    Cafe Boulud and the King Eddy Hotel's Xmas brunch are probably 2 of the best options open Christmas Day. Caplansky's is also open.

    Boxing Day (Dec 26th) restaurants:

    Xmas Day desserts:

    Dec 25th near airport:

    6 Replies
    1. re: prima

      I won't say non-Chinese restaurants are my priority, but I won't want to limit myself to just China town restaurants. I also wanted to go there to look around, to go to malls, museums...etc, so I guess this will be a pretty bad time then. Thanks a lot for your help. I think I will delay my Canada trip then. Thanks.

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        If you want to visit for a full 5 days, I'd try to visit another week. There are some fantastic upscale, high quality Chinese restaurants that would be open on Christmas and Boxing Day, but most of the high quality ones are located a 25-30 minute drive northeast of downtown.

        Lai Wah Heen, TO's best upscale Chinese restaurant located downtown (not in Chinatown), will be open Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and they're offering some holiday menus:

        Most malls (Pacific Mall is open!_...) will be closed the 25th, and most malls that are open on the 26th or 27th will be a zoo. Museums are closed on Mondays (Dec 24th) and on Christmas Day. Sorry that it's not a great time to visit TO.

        1. re: prima

          :) Thanks so much. I do like zoos (haven't been to one for 20+ years), but not that kind of a zoo. :P

          1. re: prima

            Hello Prima!
            Have you eaten at Lai Wah Heen recently? How is the food after new management/owner came in? How does it compare to Crown Princess?! If possible, information on both Dim Sum and dinner would be greatly appreciated!

            1. re: Charles Yu

              Hi Charles, I haven't been to LWH since the ownership change. Maybe in 2014.
              My last dim sum was a couple weeks ago at Casa Imperial, which I thought was slightly better quality in terms of ingredients and preparation than my 2nd last dim sum at Crown Princess, but I like the dim sum menu selection slightly better at Crown Princess.;)

      2. Chem! Like Prima said,you should definitely wait till after Christmas(like spring or summer) if you can..
        Don't forget to check out Knife on Queen west and Tosho in Mirvish Village for all your knife shopping needs

        Happy Holidays!

        1. If there's something you like to do other than eat, we might be able to suggest a better time of year. While that's not CH's focus, there's nothing saying you couldn't hit all the great restaurants AND take in Fashion Week or Film Fest or an art exhibit too.

          1. I agree with the other posts that Christmas Day is probably not the best time to visit Toronto.

            I am an American and had the good fortune of living in Toronto for almost 3 years. It is a world class city and a fantastic place to be.

            I miss being a TTC ride away from something interesting to see, do or eat.

            1. Thanks guys. I just got in Toronto 2-3 hours ago. I went to the Pacific Mall just because I thought I came in too late for museum or Chinatown or whatnot. It turneds out that the CCK store in Pacific Mall is closed for today, but I did walk around a bit. Pretty "compact" mall if you know what I mean. I like it though.

              I am planning to visit Chinatown tomorrow and a museum tomorrow. Got to go to eat now. The snack at the Pacific Mall wasn't enough. Whoever it was. I tried the Bread Papa's Puff. It was huge and messy, but I like it.


              I almost wanted to try the Wanda's Belgain Waffle. They look so nice, but I didn't because I didn't want to eat too many stacks.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Welcome to TO!
                Good luck tomorrow.
                If you're going to the Art Gallery of Ontario, you'll be within a 10 minute walk of Sansotei (179 Dundas W), Lai Wah Heen, Chinatown and Kensington Market. Perhaps you'd be interested in visiting Wanda's Pie in the Sky on Augusta in Kensington, if you like sweets. Frank is also located in the AGO, which also usually has interesting desserts, and there's a nice espresso bar in the Galeria Italian (2nd floor of the AGO, overlooking Dundas St).
                If you head to the ROM, C5 on the top floor serves a nice lunch, and has a great view. You might also want to consider Cafe Boulud in Yorkville, which is within a 10 minute walk. Dessert Trends on Harbord St should be open for lunch, and might be worth a visit, especially if you like desserts.
                Hope you enjoy your stay.