Most years, you can drop in at nearly any shopping mall or holiday event leading up to December 25 for a photo op with Santa, but as we all know, 2020 is different. Mall Santa photo ops are largely cancelled and only a few in-person Santa meet-and-greets have been confirmed.
Which means while these face-to-face Santa events are always hot tickets requiring early booking, this year it’s especially important to book early!
In-Person Santa Visits Scheduled for 2020
There are a handful of in-person Santa meet-and-greets this year. All require advance reservations and activities are primarily outdoors.
Magical Christmas Forest – Vaughan
The Magical Christmas Forest is now sold out.
This annual tradition at the Kortright Centre in Woodbridge sells out every year. This year, the event is entirely outdoors and will consist of a guided, 2-hour tour that includes a walk through the festively lit and decorated wooded trail, exclusive (distanced) time with Santa, a short movie with a warm beverage, games, holiday music, campfires, and warming stations.
Christmas Drive-Thru Tour – Pickering
The Christmas Drive-Thru Tour is now sold out.
Pickering Village Museum has developed a new, pandemic-proof Christmas event this year. Learn about the history of several holiday traditions and end your tour with a socially distanced visit with Santa.
Santa Holiday Experience – Burlington
Starting on November 21st at 11:00am, Burlington Centre is offering in-person photos with Santa. You reserve your time slot in advance. They are also offering virtual Santa experiences.
Private Santa Photos – Oakville
At Duran Place for Kids, Santa will be sitting for private photos with COVID precautions in place. From December 3 to 22, kids will get a 15 minutes private session with Old St. Nick and be able to take home a keepsake photo.
Santa on the Farm
Several local “fun farms” will be booking Santa visits for 2020:
Brooks Farm – Uxbridge
Christmas on the Farm and visits with Santa have been confirmed for 2020, but activities are TBA. Typically, the event includes a pancake breakfast, crafts, singing chicken show, and outdoor bonfire.
Downey’s Farm – Caledon
Get private, socially distanced time with Santa, decorate cookies with Mrs. Claus, see the elves’ workshop, and visit farm animals.
Pingle’s Farm – Clarington
Offering the complete Santa Experience, Pingle’s Farm’s Holly Jolly Christmas event includes a holiday craft, story time with Santa’s Helpers, hot chocolate, a winter wonderland wagon ride and is topped off with a socially distanced photo with Santa Claus himself. Visits with Santa must be booked in advance.
Virtual-Only Santa Visits
Some traditional Santa visits have been moved online for 2020.
Santa visits at CF Fairview malls at Don Mills, Sherway Gardens, and Eaton Centre are taking place virtually this year. The visits are free, though reservations are required. You must select your CF Fairview location to reserve. Full details have not been released as of mid-November.
In-person Storytime with Santa has been cancelled due to the provincial COVID-19 Response Framework. But they are now offering a virtual experience. A classic Christmas story is read by Santa and each family will get a chance to visit with Santa one-on-one using their breakout room feature.
Santa Visits Cancelled/Not Announced in 2020
The following events have been cancelled for the 2020 Christmas season or just not announced at all due to the pandemic.
Santa’s House at the Toronto Christmas Market
The Toronto Christmas Market has been cancelled for the 2020 season. The Distillery District will remain open for holiday shopping and there will still be a beautiful Christmas Tree and festive music. Santa will not be in attendance this year.
The Polar Express
All York-Durham Heritage Railway’s in-person train rides are on hold until spring 2021.
Santa’s Signature Experience
The Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington has canceled 2020 dates for its popular annual event featuring a train ride and visits with Santa.
Stay tuned for a round-up of virtual Santa events, coming soon! Sign up for our insider emails to get this info delivered to you.