With the wacky weather these days, it’s hard to know whether or not we’ll be having a white Christmas… However, what you can 100% count on are our incredible light displays to get you in the holiday spirit (even with a potential lack of snow). Towering and massive installations can be found in more than one spot in Ontario, so don’t fret, there is more than likely a winter wonderland close enough that you don’t need to travel far.
Here are the best places to see spectacular Christmas lights in Ontario this year.
If you thought Niagara Falls was just a summertime destination, think again. Every year for the past 39 years the Ontario Power Generation has been lighting up Niagara with the Winter Festival of Lights. Featuring amazing lighting displays in the Niagara Parks, Dufferin Islands, and the surrounding tourist areas – this is Canada’s largest illumination festival! Entry to the event is free but donations can be made to support of the festival.
Head to Wellington Park in Simcoe to see it get transformed into a winter wonderland. Take a stroll or jump on a horse-drawn trolley to see themed displays and thousands of lights starting on December 4 to January 2th, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. There’s no doubt you’ll enjoy the small-town hospitality and break from the bustle of the city.
Get yourself to Parliament Hill to catch the winter lightscapes multimedia show that’ll be projected onto Parliament Hill’s Centre Block from December 8th, 2021 until January 7, 2022. The 15-minute loop is inspired by Canada’s nature, climate, and culture. In addition to the multimedia show, head to nearby Confederation Park to experience the 34th edition of Christmas Lights Across Canada on December 8 for the illumination ceremony for free Beavertails, too!
Toronto’s most famous Christmas market in the Distillery District is a touch different this year. It’s now called the Toronto Winter Village, but it still has some of the best light displays in the city! Framed by historic buildings, the village isn’t only stunning but also boasts some of the most unique and fun holiday shopping with vendors and yummy food. Stroll around sipping a hot chocolate while taking in all the lights, including the 50-foot Christmas tree.
Take a short trip North just outside of Toronto to Newmarket to experience its Winter Wonderland without the hustle and bustle of the city. The festival is only on for a handful of days left which is December 17, 23, and 30! Along with spectacular lights, attendees can also enjoy free skating, free hot chocolate, photo ops, and even a DJ.
Upper Canada Village’s Alight at Night festival is a true winter wonderland until January 1st. Bundle up for an evening stroll through this picture-perfect postcard setting. Over one million lights adorn the heritage buildings, trees, and fences of Upper Canada Village creating a one-of-a-kind magical backdrop for its annual Alight at Night Festival – a true winter wonderland!
Head to Spencer Smith Park in Burlington to see the 60 magical lighting displays that make up the Lakeside Festival of the Lights. This event starting November 26 until January 8, 2022 is so festive, that it even has its own mascot, Twinkle, a huge and happy red star. It’s free to attend and is sure to be fun for all ages.
Unlike many of the other festivals, the Gift of Lights in Kitchener is experienced entirely from the comfort of your car. This drive-thru event, from November 13 until January 9, 2022, takes you through two light tunnels and hundreds of displays. The entry fee is $25 per car and for an enhanced experience you can tune into the Gift of Lights Radio 103.3 FM.
The Festival of Northern Lights in Owen Sound is a combination of classic rope lighting and painted displays with some newer interactive technologies as well. The over 300 displays can be viewed from a walking tour or if you’re looking to up the romance factor you can take a horse-drawn wagon.
Experience all the magic of Casa Loma this December from the 15th until January 1st, 2022. The gardens will be lit up with enchanting light displays and feature an outdoor market and performances by the Casa Loma Holiday Orchestra. Toronto’s reigning superstar, Drake, attended last year, and if it’s good enough for Drake it’s good enough for us.
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