The Best Places to See Holiday Lights in Canada

Our fave spots to see amazing holiday lighting displays and fireworks across the country

holiday lights in canada niagara falls

photo: © WFOL.com

 

How much do we adore holiday light shows? They sparkle, shine and twinkle all across Canada and we simply can’t get enough of them. From stylized seasonal lighting displays to spectacular fireworks shows, here are our favourite places for spectacular, wintry illumination.

NIAGARA FALLS, ONTARIO

In the area around the famous falls, the Winter Festival of Lights has become a yearly tradition that’s seen by visitors from around the world. More than two million vibrant lights are installed along the Niagara Parkway, on the Dufferin Islands and throughout the city (check out the multimedia Fallsview Sound and Light Show, for example). The falls themselves are also illuminated nightly. There is no admission, but donations ($5–$10 per car, suggested) help to enhance the lights and displays for future years. Nov. 18–Jan. 31

MONTREAL, QUEBEC

Add a little spice to your winter season with some well-lit skating at Natrel Fire on Ice. Enjoy the magic as pyrotechnics—accompanied by music from favourite animated films—light up the sky above Montreal’s historic Old Port. Gather the fam close and let the warmth of the beautiful fireworks warm your heart (and your toes)! Dec. 16, 23, 30 & Jan. 6

holiday lights in canada old quebec city

Old Quebec City’s Rue de Petit Champlain (photo: Ville de Québec)

 

QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC

Old Quebec City is beautiful all year ‘round, but it’s especially gorgeous during the holiday season—when it’s transformed into a “real” Christmas village with all the trappings and trimmings of yesteryear. Stroll the cobbled streets to find the traditional European-style Christmas market and marvel at the tastefully lit facades of the magnificent historic buildings. In town on New Year’s Eve? The city’s staid streets turn into party central with a year-end bash and huge fireworks display. To Jan. 1

BARRINGTON PASSAGE, NOVA SCOTIA

On Nova Scotia’s south shore, the town of Barrington Passage marks the beginning of the Maritime Christmas season and lobster season (!) with its annual Festival of Lights. Events include the lighting of a giant Christmas tree made out of lobster traps, plus fireworks, a Parade of Lights, Christmas house tours, lighting of Christmas decorations, carolers, craft fairs and so much more. Nov. 23–Dec. 10

OTTAWA, ONTARIO

The nation’s capital snow-blanketed cityscape sparkles with Christmas Lights Across Canada, a display of thousands of colourful lights that’s now in its 33rd year. Once you’ve browsed the illuminated boutiques, restaurants and offices throughout downtown Ottawa, make your way to Parliament Hill, where a winter lightscapes multimedia show is projected onto Centre Block’s widescreen facade. Inspired by Canada’s nature, climate and culture, this 13-minute fairy tale runs nightly in a loop, from 5:30 to 11 p.m. Dec. 7–Jan. 7

holiday lights in canada edmonton candy cane lane

Edmonton’s Candy Cane Lane (photo: Flickr/CC)

 

EDMONTON, ALBERTA

For nearly 50 years, residents of a 10-block stretch of Edmonton have come together to create Candy Cane Lane, with myriad homes adorned by impressive light and decoration displays. Grab a hot chocolate and take a stroll down 148 Street NW, between 92 and 100 avenues NW, or book a sleigh ride down the “lane” for an even more memorable evening. Dec. 8–Jan. 2

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA

With more than a million lights and two-dozen different themed areas, the Canad Inns Winter Wonderland is one of central Canada’s most festive seasonal displays. The 2.5-kilometre route makes for an awe-inspiring winter drive, but don’t forget to get out of the car for a spin on the outdoor skating rink or to hop aboard a free horse-drawn sleigh ride on weekends. Dec. 1–Jan. 6

holiday lights in canada capilano suspension bridge vancouver

Lights across the Capilano Suspension Bridge (photo: Capilano Suspension Bridge)

 

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA

A visit to the Capilano Suspension Bridge is always awe-inspiring. At Christmastime it’s even more so, thanks to Canyon Lights: A Winter Festival. Be dazzled by the tallest Christmas trees in the world, go on a Snowy Owl Prowl, decorate gingerbread cookies and sing carols. New children’s activities this year include decorating wooden ornaments and make your own holiday badge in the winter craft tent. Nov. 23–Jan. 28

SIMCOE, ONTARIO

Indulge in some small town hospitality this holiday season with a visit to this quaint community near Lake Erie. Panorama, River of Lights sees Simcoe’s downtown parks transformed into a veritable winter wonderland with thousands of twinkling lights and themed displays. Stroll the parkland at your leisure or step aboard a horse-drawn trolley available most weekends in December. Nov. 25–Dec. 31

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