Toronto Through My Lens

Distillery Winter Village

After years of planning to attend and then never going (hearing reports of the crush from massive crowds had turned me off), I ventured down to the Distillery District’s Winter Village last night. Luckily (for me, anyway) we’d had the big “storm” last night and the weather was not great; this kept a lot of people away. The event has become so popular and crowded over the years that the Distillery’s Winter Village is now a ticketed, timed event – at least during the evening hours on the weekends.

I’ve always wanted to photograph this event during a white Christmas, so last night’s storm worked in my favour. Also, the temperature kept a lot of people away: it was -12°, with the “feels like” wind chill dropping the temp to a balmy, breezy -27°. I bundled up and was good to go, although my hands were turning into blocks of ice while hanging on to the camera… talk about suffering for your art.

This year’s 51-foot tall white spruce Christmas tree has been designed by Parfums Christian Dior. It features 70,000 twinkling lights, 400 custom midnight blue ornaments, 1,700 shiny and matte gold balls, and 1,000 custom DIOR star charms. Over 500 hours of labour went into creating this sparkling, one-of-a-kind tree.

The historic Distillery District has 65+ local shops, restaurants and cafés. Many of these were in full operation for the Winter Village event, plus vendor cabins offered specially curated seasonal items and gifts. Several food cabins also lined the cobblestone streets.

Distillery Winter Village, shot with a fogged-up lens & six-point star filter


  1. Bob K

    So pretty. Yvon and I used to do the same thing with their light festival, go when it’s cold down there and people won’t be crushing you. Have a great Christmas.

  2. David

    You’re a brave man. It does look very nice at night. Much different from day.

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