Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas in Toronto: Cavalcade of Lights and Pretty Windows

On the weekend I visited downtown Toronto to get a little Christmas action happening.  It was just the ticket for putting me in the festive mood.  The Cavalcade of Lights was on, which is the official start to the Christmas season in Toronto and features the lighting of the massive Christmas tree at Nathan Phillips Square.

To make a rip-roaring occasion of it, they had a fireworks display in green, red, and white all set to Christmas music.


The tree was amazing all decorated in red, white, and silver.

There was music playing,

and a very crowded skating rink,

covered by an awesome star studded canopy.


I really enjoyed all the twinkle lights and fireworks,

but I think my favourite part of the evening was looking at the Hudson Bay Christmas windows along Queen Street.  They were amazing!  I loved the little stories they told, the attention to detail, the animation, and even the Bay products that were woven into the scenes.  In all there were five windows each with a different theme.  

Window #1 - This window shows the elves outside, all dressed in coats with Hudson's Bay blanket stripes,  tending to the reindeer and checking out how well the sleigh's lift-off properties are working (the sleigh would go up and down as the elf pulled the lever). 

Check out the little basins of carrots and apples for the reindeer - how cute is that!

Window #2 - This window shows the workshop with the elves hurrying to get all the toys ready for Christmas.  Notice that the clock has months where the numbers usually are and it is almost Christmas Eve.  Santa is standing on the balcony overseeing everything with a long list in his hand.

Look closely at the dolls on the bottom shelf - they are Anne of Green Gables dolls.

Window #3 - This window shows the village getting ready for Christmas with the decorated tree and the shoppers.  The store is, of course, a Hudson's Bay store and the clerk inside is folding a Hudson's Bay point blanket.


Window #4 - This window shows a pretty Victorian home decorated for Christmas.  I assume it is Christmas Eve because there are stockings hung by the fireplace and unopened presents under the tree.  However, it must be late at night because the children have fallen asleep on the sofas in the adjoining room and the mice are asleep in their room under the floorboards.   It looks like Santa will soon be arriving.

I love that the mice are sleeping in match boxes decorated with Hudson's Bay crests and they are covered with Hudson's Bay blankets.  You could see the mice breathing heavily as they slept.

 Window #5 - This last window is a "Welcome Home" to Santa after his long night of work.  Mrs. Claus has been busy making lots of treats to serve Santa and the elves - the table is laden with goodies!  

I love the candy cane railing along the upper balcony and the world map painted on the wall.

And Santa is having a Hudson's Bay blanket draped across his shoulders - just what he needs after a cold tiring night.

I only wish I could have gone back about ten years in time and taken a young Kate to see the windows - she would have loved them.   If you live in Toronto I hope you get a chance to drop by and see these gorgeous windows and if you don't live in Toronto I hope you enjoyed the tour.  Do you have decorated Christmas windows where you live?


  1. Wow! That sure does put me in the spirit. We used to have a "vacation condo" at Young and St. Clair in Toronto. I love that city.

  2. Amazing! Love the clerk folding the Hudson Bay blanket and love the little mouse in the matchbox. Toronto really is such a lovely city and I love the skating rink at the city hall. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Those window displays are absolutely amazing! Very bright and festive.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  4. Gorgeous windows! My mom used to take all eight of us downtown each year to see the windows in Simpsons, etc, and to skate. I adore Hudson Bay blankets so the displays incorporating the blankets are my favourites. Thsnks for sharing.

  5. My daughter in interning at Holt Renfrew and spent weeks dressing trees and covered in glitter while she assisted the designers and stylist do the windows. It`s ton of work. Love the Bay windows. I like that they are getting back to their roots.

  6. Grace, these photos are fantastic! I think the Welcome Home Santa window is my very favorite one. So sweet!

    Thanks so much for putting this post together for us. I know it took lots of work!

    Ricki Jill

  7. I just love Christmas! Thanks for the tour of your city!

  8. I love your city! Thanks for sharing. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting on the Pumpkin Waffles. You know, I need to try them as pancakes as well. That is a great idea! I love to hear that others eat PB with their pancakes and waffles. There is just no other way. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Lucky you to enjoy a "show" like that! I don't think they do anything quite like that here. Too bad, too! I would love to see something like that.

  10. Wow -- thank you so much for sharing this! I had no idea that there was such intricate window displays there at Christmas! I hope I can take my kids some time to check them out!
    P.S. Your photos of each of the displays are amazing -- you take great pictures!