The Toronto Christmas Market is my favorite destination for getting into the holiday spirit. When it’s decked out for Christmas, with great eats, treats, and shopping, the Distillery District is a festive highlight in Toronto, and this year we had an upgraded drive that helped inspire our holiday mood thanks to the folks at Ford and Sony.

The upgrade was a weekend test drive of the Ford Explorer Platinum, which features an exclusive Sony Premium Audio system for an incredible sound experience. Driving the upscale SUV was a lot of fun, and it put us in the mood for holiday shopping thanks to lots of great-sounding Christmas music.

Ford’s Platinum edition of the Explorer offers one of the best driving experiences I’ve had, and it’s also a luxury vehicle that comes with features that you won’t know you need until you use them, like parking assist, heated or cooled driver and front passenger seats, and maybe my favorite for the cold winter days, a heated steering wheel.

Sony’s Premium Audio, however, which is exclusive to the 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum, was the highlight of our drive, to the Christmas Market, and around town all weekend long. Before we set out, we tuned to Sirius XM’s Christmas station, and then the drive to the Distillery District was filled with the sweet sounds of Nat King Cole, Michael Buble, Mariah Carey, Perry Como, and Bing Crosby.

Ford Explorer Platinum

Ford Explorer Platinum

Sony Premium Audio System
The Premium Audio System from Sony features Clear Phase and Live Acoustics technology, which is the fancy way of saying that the audio sounds incredible: like you’re at your own private concert with Billie Holiday or Vince Guaraldi Trio. That’s because the Clear Phase technology improves the sound quality in the vehicle to direct it to you, rather than spreading it across the car, while the Live Acoustics makes the audio sound more vibrant and lively.

Put another way, Clear Phase adjusts the way sound disperses around the vehicle, which clarifies vocals, and brings the sound in front of you, like you’re front and centre at a concert. Live Acoustics, on the other hand, recreates concert hall quality sound, which provides a broader, richer experience for any music.

Listening to a song like “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey delivers an ear-full of incredible vocals, although I’m just as partial to “Christmas in Hollis” by Run-D.M.C., and listening to a range of music, from classic Christmas songs to pop, the Sony audio delivered incredible tones. That’s all possible because of the impressive Sony 500-watt amplifier in the Explorer which features 10 speakers, plus a sub-woofer.

Those 10 speakers around the car include a woofer on the each of the two front doors, a center speaker, two rear surround sound speakers, two tweeters, and two rear door speakers. Even turned down low, the audio quality was exceptional thanks to the speaker positioning and the power of the technology behind it.

Toronto Christmas Market
For the Christmas Market, we enjoyed exploring the Distillery District and finding all sorts of treats and giftable gems. On the opening evening there were lots of performers, and there will also be a lot of music throughout the run of the market, but the shopping and food are definitely the top two reasons to go for a visit.

Because the market is open later this year, there is still a lot of time to get down and enjoy the experience, and hopefully there will be some snow on the ground before it’s all done. Once you’re there, take the time to enjoy the Toronto Christmas Market because it’s worth soaking up the atmosphere. If you can make a day of it, relax with some great Christmas music before you arrive, or afterwards too. These are the details that ultimately make the holidays so special, and that is exactly why I enjoyed the audio experience in the Ford Explorer so much.

The Toronto Christmas Market is open Tuesday to Sunday until December 20 from 12:00 noon until 9:00 PM most days, and until 10:00 PM on Friday and Saturday. Admission is free Tuesday to Friday and just $5.00 on Saturdays and Sundays.

About The Author

W. Andrew Powell
Editor-In-Chief

W. Andrew Powell lives, sleeps, eats, and breaths movies and entertainment. Since launching The GATE in 1999 Andrew has enjoyed being a pest to any publicist who would return his calls.

In his “spare time,” Andrew is also an avid photographer, and writes about leisure travel and hotels around the world.

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