12 LIGHT FESTIVALS GUARANTEED TO BRIGHTEN YOUR FESTIVE SEASON

From downtown tree lighting ceremonies to the illumination of Niagara Falls, all corners of Ontario are shining bright.

First Light, final weekend December 6-9
Head out to Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in Midland this weekend for ‘First Light’ for a lineup of activities and performers, all amidst the spectacular glow of 5,000 candles lighting up the famous 17th century mission.

Alight at Night, December weekends and January 1-5
Close to one million lights adorn the heritage buildings and trees at Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg, making this eastern Ontario’s largest light show. Note: December 5 is Accessibility Night and requires reservations to attend.

Christmas Panorama of Lights, on now until December 31
Thousands of lights and themed displays transform Simcoe’s downtown parks into a winter wonderland. Enjoy the view from a horse-drawn trolley on select weekends.

Owen Sound Festival of Northern Lights, on now until January 6
Owen Sound’s harbour, riverbanks, downtown and Harrison Park will be decorated with close to 400 displays and over 25 kilometres of lights; serving as a colourful backdrop for seasonal concerts, craft shows and horse-drawn carriage rides.

Glow Barrie, on now until January 6
Follow twinkling trails, discover interactive, themed rooms, and enjoy live music (and grown-up drinks) as well as a playground for the kids at the Bradford Garden Centre.

Fantasy of Lights, on now until January 7
Downtown Kingsville hosts a number of events and activities under the glow of festival bulbs. A different take on a holiday event: combine sipping wine with artisan shopping during Sip and Shop Holiday Nights.

Lights2_NiagaraPhoto credit: © WFOL.com

Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights, on now until January 31
Canada’s Illumination Festival in Niagara Falls has become a beloved winter tradition with spectacular light displays throughout the city, a winter fireworks series and multi-coloured lights illuminating the waterfalls, the longest of its kind in the world.

Lights3_OttawaParliament Hill, Ottawa. Photo credit: Neil Robertson

Christmas Lights Across Canada, December 5 – January 7
Just when we thought Ottawa couldn’t get any prettier, thousands of lights sparkle, shine, and reflect off the winter landscape of our nation’s capital. Awesome.

Lights4_LuminaBorealisPhoto credit: Lumina Borealis @luminaborealis

Lumina Borealis, weekends until December 23, nightly December 26 – January 5
Kingston’s historic Fort Henry goes all-out with this interactive winter nighttime sound and light extravaganza that beautifully captures the spirit of winter. Put this one on your winter bucket list.

Toronto Light Festival, January 18 – March 3
Explore the art of light during this illuminating visual adventure in The Distillery Historic District, one of Toronto’s trendiest neighbourhoods with magical light sculptures, interactive installations and maybe even some glowing drinks.

Lights5_NorthernLIghts

The Northern Lights
Leaving the best for last, Mother Nature puts on the greatest light show. The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, are most visible in the colder months and, as the name suggests, in Northern Ontario. Check the aurora forecast before heading to a designated dark sky viewing reserve such as Gordon’s Park Eco Reserve on Manitoulin Island or Torrance Barrens near Gravenhurst. Of course, there’s no guarantee you’ll see the Northern Lights, but winter stargazing in Northern Ontario won’t disappoint.

 

Main image: First Light at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons