The beginning of December marks the kickoff to the winter holiday season. Celebrations are already well under way, with festivals of lights on beautiful display at numerous locations around the province. So, if you’re looking for some cheerful displays to put you into that holiday spirit, you don’t have to wander very far. Here are just a few of the best places to enjoy the holiday light displays in Southern Ontario.
Celebration of Lights – Sarnia-Lambton.
November 23, 2019 to January 1, 2020
The Celebration of Lights in Sarnia has been a beloved tradition since 1984. The annual festivities feature thousands of lights and nearly 70 festive displays in Sarnia-Lambton’s Centennial Park. Residents also compete in an annual lighting competition to see who can create the most spectacular display. The local competition judging nights are held on December 9th and 12th with the awards being handed out at a ceremony on December 16.
Glow Gardens – Toronto and Ottawa.
November 28, 2019 to January 4, 2020
This indoor seasonal community festival of lights is coming to locations all across Canada, including Toronto and Ottawa. Glow Gardens promises the twinkle of a million lights in interactive light gardens and illuminated structures with live entertainment, a scavenger hunt, and vendors selling festive food and drinks and one-of-a-kind gifts. The whole family will love the illuminated backdrops and sculptures, which include a light tunnel and LED hopscotch and swings.
Lakeside Festival of Lights – Burlington.
November 29, 2019 to January 8, 2020
The Burlington Festival of Lights illuminates the waterfront with a bright, festive display from 4 p.m. to midnight, every day over the holiday season. Stroll through the 60 glittering displays that light up Burlington’s Spencer Smith Park from November 29 until January 8, 2020. The Burlington Festival of Lights also celebrates a ‘green Christmas’ as more and more of their displays are retrofitted with environmentally friendly LED lights.
Blumination Dream Trail - Blue Mountain Village.
November 30, 2019 to March 28, 2020
The second annual Blumination Dream Trail is a free one-kilometer, illuminated trail through Blue Mountain Village. The path runs along streets and pathways and around the Mill pond, and features dazzling, interactive mega-watt light displays such as the Ice Garden, the Enchanted Forest and the Mind Warp. The experience culminates in the Events Plaza with an illuminated “Dream Tree” and a spectacular musical and visual display every hour on the hour. Blumination also features fireworks at 8:15 Saturday nights in December.
The Winter Festival of Lights at Niagara Falls – Niagara.
Now through January 12, 2020
Each year in November through January, Niagara Falls captures the magic of the holiday season with Canada’s largest festival of lights, which attracts over one million visitors from around the world. Beautiful illuminated displays created with more than three million lights run over eight kilometres through Niagara Parkway, Dufferin Islands and the surrounding areas. The festival features animated displays, interactive installations, Light Art, a sound and light show, as well as fireworks on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.
Christmas Panorama – Simcoe.
November 30, 2019 to January 5, 2020
Thousands of lights and holiday themed exhibitions transform Simcoe’s downtown parks into a magical winter wonderland from 5:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. every night over the holidays. First held in 1958, the Christmas Panorama is Ontario’s oldest festival of lights. Enjoy a horse-drawn trolley ride, sip hot chocolate and cider, peruse the Christmas Farm Market and imagine you’re revisiting traditional holidays from decades past. Live the history and tradition.
Wonders of Winter Festival – Waterloo.
December 1, 2019 to January 1, 2020
The town of Waterloo is home to the annual Wonders of Winter Festival. This holiday tradition features 100 displays, including animated installations, all lit up with over 100,000 lights. Exhibits include Santa Claus and Christmas scenes, nursery rhymes and cartoon characters, and even a hand carved olive wood Nativity scene. Visitors can enjoy hot chocolate or warm cider as they tour the displays, attend the celebrations, or take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the winter magic.
Christmas Lights Across Canada – Ottawa.
December 4, 2019 to January 7, 2020
Thousands of festive holiday lights light up Ottawa’s Confederation Boulevard, illuminating sites that include the National War Memorial, the Garden of Provinces and Territories and the view from Alexandra Bridge. Plus, a multimedia light show is projected onto the historic buildings of Parliament Hill. Inspired by Canada’s nature, climate and culture, this 13-minute original fairytale plays every evening in a loop from 5:30 p.m. until 11:00 p.m.
Photo credit: © WFOL.com Winter Festival of Lights photo of parent and child looking at light display, courtesy of The Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights. Glow Gardens photo of kids running under an archway of twinkling lights, courtesy of Glow Gardens.