You can drop in at nearly any shopping mall or holiday event leading up to December 25 for a photo op with Santa, but the extra-special Santa events listed here offer something more: exclusive, one-on-one time with the man himself. Why stop at a photo with Santa with you can have a one-of-a-kind experience like train rides, story times, and breakfasts with Jolly Old Saint Nick, Mrs. Claus, and elves?

One piece of advice, though, and we can’t stress it enough: book early! Santa is a popular guy, and these face time events with the man in the red suit are hot tickets.

The Santa Experience – Eaton Centre

Every year, Santa’s workshop is re-created in a log cabin in Trinity Square Park, adjacent to the Eaton Centre shopping mall. Kids get storytime with Santa and an individual photo session. Reservations are a must! Each child goes home with a special gift. Sensitive Santa sessions are available, in a sensory-friendly low-light, quieter environment. All proceeds benefit WE Charity. Book now: as of this writing, tickets are already sold out for some December weekends!

Trinity Square Park, next to Eaton Centre, 200 Yonge St., Toronto
November 17–December 24
$15 per child

The Santa Experience – Sherway Gardens

If you want to see Santa at Sherway, you should stop reading this and book it now. This event sells out every year—usually by mid-November. At the main event, Santa and his elves put on multiple shows in the mall’s Centre Court with a small VIP audience. Each child leaves with a gift and a download code for complimentary professional digital photos. You can sign up for the Sensitive Santa experience, in a sensory-friendly environment with lower lighting and quieter surroundings. Proceeds benefit WE Charity. New this year: pre-book a premium parking spot!

CF Sherway Gardens, 25 The West Mall, Etobicoke M9C 1B8
November 17–December 24

$20 per child

Santa’s House at the Toronto Christmas Market

Few places in Toronto are as beautiful at Christmastime as the Distillery Historic District, with its cobblestone lanes and Victorian-era heritage brick buildings strung with lights and hung with wreaths. In the centre of it all is Santa’s House, where Saint Nick will appear for photo ops almost daily. A professional photographer is on site Tuesday and weekends, though you can take your own photos, too. On Tuesdays, Santa will take photos with your pet, too!

November 15–December 23, Santa’s House open Tue.–Thu. 2–4:30 pm and 5–7:30 pm, Friday 2–4:30 pm and 5–8:30 pm, Sat. 10 am–8:30 pm, Sun. 10 am–7:30 pm
Free weekdays, $6 weekends (beginning at 5 pm Fridays); children 2 and under free

Royal Botanical Gardens Holiday Traditions

Santa makes multiple appearances at the RBG in Burlington during the holiday season. There’s the Santa Signature Experience, where you climb aboard the RBG Express train for an hour-long round-trip to see Christmas lights in Hendrie Park before visiting Santa in his cabin. You can also reserve Brunch with Santa and Mrs. Claus on three dates in December. Included with regular RGB admission on select dates are Visits with Santa in Santa’s Cabin—you can take a train ride there for an extra $2. Train tickets can be purchased on arrival.

Royal Botanical Gardens, 680 Plains Rd. W., Burlington

Santa’s Signature Experience (get tickets)
November 17–December 23
$20 adults, $25 kids ages 3–12, $5 kids 2 and under

Brunch with Santa and Mrs. Claus (get tickets)
December 8, 9, 16
$45 adults, $25 kids ages 4–12, $6 kids ages 1–3, under age 1 free

Visits with Santa:
Wednesdays November 21–December 19, 5–8 pm; November 23 (Fri.), 10 am–4 pm, December 7 (Fri.), 1–4 pm
Included with RGB admission

Santa Train

Take a train ride with Santa this holiday season! Trains depart from Uxbridge station on weekends leading up to Christmas for a one-hour, round-trip adventure. Santa visits each child in their seat on the decorated train with onboard entertainment. Each child leaves with a gift bag. Book ASAP—some trips are already sold out!

19 Railway St., Uxbridge
Weekends November 25–December 16; departures at 10 am, 12:30 pm, and 3 pm
$25 per person, $90 for group of 4

Magical Christmas Forest

This annual tradition at the Kortright Centre in Vaughan requires advance reservation—and it sells out every year! Take horse-drawn wagon rides through the forest, visit Santa’s workshops and see the elves, make Christmas crafts, watch a Christmas movie and enjoy carols and traditional treats by the fire.

Kortright Centre for Conservation, 9550 Pine Valley Dr., Woodbridge
November 30–December 23, 5–9 pm
$25 per adult, $18 per child, ages 1 and under free

Storytime with Santa at Black Creek

Santa Claus is coming to the village! On three dates in December, kids are guaranteed face time with man himself at Storytime with Santa. A classic Cristmas story is read by Santa and kids can decorate cookies and make a Christmas craft. On select Family Christmas Weekends, you can visit with Santa at his cottage, though availability is limited and you’ll have to check the weekly schedule to find out when the visits are taking place.

Royal Botanical Gardens, 680 Plains Rd. W., Burlington

Storytime with Santa:
December 1–2, 8–9, 15–16
$22.50 adults, $25 kids ages 2–14, under age 2 free; book here

Family Christmas Weekends:
Weekends November 17–December 23
Regular admission applies: $15 adults, $12 seniors and students, $11 kids ages 5–14, ages 4 and under free

Santa Brunch Cruise

Cruise through the Toronto Harbour with Santa aboard Mariposa Cruise’s Northern Spirit ship, renovated in 2018. Along with a buffet brunch, kids can take part in holiday crafts and face-painting, and everyone gets a complimentary photo with Santa Claus.

207 Queens Quay W., Toronto
December 9, 11:30 am–2 pm
$60 adults, $33 children ages 4–12, free for ages 3 and under

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