Fun Family Things to Do in November in Toronto & the GTA

November in Toronto - Immersive Nutracker - SavvyMom

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, even though it’s only November in Toronto. Perhaps making up for 2020’s quiet event season, this month is packed with holiday-themed outings and attractions. And while drive-through events are back, there are also of number of experiences where you and your family can get out and walk around, just like in pre-COVID times. This return to more “normal” events means that another year-end tradition is also back: Meet and greets with Santa Claus. Below, we’ve not only rounded up a dozen fun, family-focused events but also highlighted which ones will feature the Big Guy.

Since we know that not everyone is ready to jump into holiday mode quite yet, we’ve also included a few events that have nothing to do with snowflakes and St. Nick.

A reminder that Ontario’s vaccine passport program is now in full swing. Most of the events listed below require that attendees age 12 and up have proof of vaccination with them. Other COVID-related rules and restrictions may also be in place.

Things to Do in November in Toronto & the GTA

Bata Shoe Museum All Dolled Up - SavvyMom

All Dolled Up

Bata Shoe Museum, 327 Bloor St W, Toronto
On Now

Will Santa Claus be there? Not at this event.

If you have a child that cherishes dolls above all over toys, then All Dolled Up is for them. Featuring dozens of dolls from various time periods and cultures, the Bata Shoe Museum’s newest special presentation explores how these toys are far more than just child’s play.

While maybe not a great fit for the preschool-and-younger set, elementary school-aged kids will certainly be entertained, and educated, by this in-depth exhibit.

Admission starts as low as $5 and kids under five are free. Admission to All Dolled Up also includes access to the Bata Shoe Museum’s extensive permanent collection, which features almost 14,000 objects reflecting over 4,5000 years of history.

Wizards Festival

York-Durham Heritage Railway, 19 Railway St, Uxbridge
November 6 & 7

Will Santa Claus be there? While there will likely be quite a few white beards at this event, we don’t
expect Santa to make an appearance.

If you and your child have bonded over Harry Potter, then this festival is worth the drive out to Uxbridge. While not technically an officially sanctioned Harry Potter-themed event, this festival features, “a magical world filled with interactive shows, potions classes, ancient-cursed maze, magic shows, and workshops on how to defend yourself against the Dark Enemy.” The premium ticket also includes a ride on “the Hallows Express,” where guests (who are encouraged to come in costume) work together to transport evil sorcerers.

A pass to the festival starts at $44.99, with a premium pass running $79.99.

The Philip & Lucinda Dino-Show

Wychwood Theatre, 176-76 Wychwood Ave, Toronto
November 6, 7 & 13

Will Santa Claus be there? Not at this event.

This “pre-historic adventure for all ages” follows a pair of dinosaur explorers who, “set out to understand the Paleozoic Era with song, dance and acrobatics.” The Dino-Show is also highly interactive; be sure to bone up on your dinosaur knowledge before attending. Also come prepared to laugh; not only is the Dino-Show educational programming, it’s also a comedy.

Ticket prices start at $20 and discounted group packages are available.

St. Jacobs Sparkles

St. Jacobs Village
November 12–28

Will Santa Claus be there? Yes.

November might not be traditional road trip season but sometimes it’s just nice to get the family out of the city and into the country, even if the weather is on the cold side. If your family is up for a day trip, consider a drive out to St. Jacobs Village. Its holiday shopping event, entitled Sparkles, will make you feel like you’re at a European Christmas Market.

In addition to all kinds of shopping opportunities, there will be live music, delicious food, and even the chance to take a train ride with Santa. Entry into Sparkles is free and doesn’t require advance registration.

Snow Magic

Ontario Place, 955 Lakeshore Blvd, Toronto
November 12–January 16, 2022

Will Santa Claus be there? There’s no Santa meet-and-greet but we suspect there will be some Santa-themed décor.

Not quite ready for in-person events? Then this drive-through experience might be the right fit for your family. Described as an “immersive wonderland brimming with epic legendary creatures, crystalline caverns and mysterious sights that only dreams are made of,” Snow Magic features 18 art installations set along a 1.7km route. As you drive, your family can listen to Snow Magic’s exclusive soundtrack and play a fun, interactive game.

Ticket prices are per vehicles and start at $45 for an off-peak visit an $65 for an on-peak time.

Winter Festival of Lights

Niagara Falls
November 13 – February 21, 2022

Will Santa Claus be there? No confirmed plans for a live Santa.

Canada’s largest outdoor light festival is back at full strength with over 3 million lights illuminating the Niagara Parkway, Dufferin Islands, and even across the Falls. While this isn’t the most convenient event for Toronto families to access, it’s just so mesmerising that we had to include it. It’s also set to take place for 101 nights, allowing more opportunities to make a special trip down to the Falls. There’s just nothing like in in November in Toronto.

Past years have included interactive elements and everything from multi-colour light tunnels to lit-up, animated creations. This year the festival promises both drive-through and walk-through paths, and on the weekends, other fun treats, like live performers.

No entry fee or any kind of RSVPing is required to access the festival.

November in Toronto - Immersive Nutracker - SavvyMom

Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle

1 Yonge St, Toronto
November 20 – At least December 24

Will Santa Claus be there? We don’t think so but there will be a ton of other photo opportunities.

Nothing says “the holidays” quite like attending a performance of the Nutcracker. But let’s be honest, taking a small child to a ballet can be a… challenge. So instead of a seated dance show, consider this unique experience from the team behind the immersive Van Gogh and Monet exhibits. Featuring giant projections set to the Tchaikovsky’s beloved score, Immersive Nutcracker takes place inside the old Toronto Star printing warehouse, making this a great event for kids who can’t sit still.

Just note that it will be on the loud side so hearing protection is recommended for little ones. Prices start at $29.99, and children’s tickets include a sweet treat and a souvenir sticker set.

The North Pole Light Up Express & Santa Express Train Ride

York-Durham Heritage Railway, 19 Railway St, Uxbridge
November 21-December 30

Will Santa Claus be there? Yes.

The York-Durham Heritage Railway’s tremendously popular holiday programming is back this year with two different offers. Option 1 is the Santa Express Train Ride, which is filled with music, live entertainment and a roundtrip train ride that features Santa himself who will visit with every child.

Option 2 is the North Pole Light Up Express, which also includes appearances by Ms. Claus and Santa’s Friends, and features hot chocolate, cookies, and a gift for every child. Tickets for the Santa Express Train Ride start at $29.99 while the North Pole Light Up Express starts at $34.99.

Note that both events are very likely to sell completely out so be sure to snap up any desired tickets ASAP.

Journey Into Enchantment

1801 Bur Oak Ave, Markham, ON & 6845 Millcreek Drive, Mississauga, ON
November 2–January 9

Will Santa Claus be there? Not in person but there might be a Santa-themed light display.

The team behind Halloween’s Spooktacular Light Show wants to bring some holiday cheer directly into your family’s vehicle. Its two drive-through events — one near the Meadowvale GO station and one by the Mount Joy GO station — feature a 2km long route decorated with over 1.5million lights, including some that form a dazzling drive-through tunnel. Other lights will make up 3D animated displays and brighten holiday-themed installations.

To enhance your drive, your family can also tune into a collection of holiday songs that Journey Into Enchantment has curated for its visitors. Admission is on a per car basis and starts at $29.95.

Canada's Wonderland Winterfest - SavvyMom

WinterFest

1 Canada’s Wonderland Drive, Vaughan
November 13-December 31

Will Santa Claus be there? Yes.

Also back this year is Wonderland’s spin on holiday magic. Canada’s largest amusement park is transformed with décor, music, and so many lights. Even its famous “mountain” gets in on the action as it becomes the backdrop for one of the prettiest skating rinks in the region. WinterFest will also feature over a dozen live shows, not one but two 50-foot Christmas trees and special activities like decorating cookies with Ms. Claus.

Over 20 of the park’s rides will also be available, most of which are suitable for children. Tickets start as low as $19.99 per person.

Polar Winter Festival

Bandshell Park, 210 Princes’ Blvd, Toronto
November 25-December 26

Will Santa Claus be there? Yes.

The Polar Winter Festival is the other seasonal event happening down at the CNE grounds. But while Snow Magic is a drive-through experience, Polar is all about taking your family for a magical, winter- themed walk by the lake. Packed with holiday décor, photo ops, vendors and even a few rides (including giant slides), this event has something for everyone. Need to warm up? Pop into the lounge for a hot drink and a bite to eat.

Admission to the Polar Winter Festival start at $14.99, and a Santa photo (taken with your camera) costs an extra $12.99.

Nights of Lights & Holiday Fair in the Square

Assembly Park, 80 Interchange Way, Vaughan
November 26-January 2

Will Santa Claus be there? Yes, he will be at the Holiday Fair.

Nights of Lights is shaking up its format. Previously a drive-through event, it’s now changed into one that your family can explore on foot (and by stroller or wagon). Once you’ve checked out the over 1,000,000 LED lights, four tunnels, and several animated displays, head into the adjacent Holiday Fair in the Square. There you’ll find 75 artisan vendors, a cozy warming tent featuring a crackling fire, food trucks, and much more. There will also be a giant Ferris wheel that will give your family a different perspective on all the lights you just walked through.

While the Holiday Fair is free to enter, advance tickets are required for Nights of Lights. Those start at $12.99 and discounted family four-packs are available.

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