Holiday celebrations are about more than just gifts and time off work. It’s about creating memorable experiences with your family and friends that are so fun that you forget to take photos and just live in the moment.
Whether you are a die hard Christmas fan and put your tree up in October or you just enjoy a great holiday experience to give you an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, here are seven of the best Christmas lights displays across Canada. Plan your travel to get to at least one of them or create an unforgettable road trip and hit up as many as you can!
Location: Niagara Falls, ON
Experience a Niagara Falls winter wonderland like you have never before with light displays made up of over 3 million lights at the Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights. From the warmth of your own car – or grab a taxi! – drive through the 8km light display and see over 50 trees wrapped in lights, Canadian Wildlife displays, and many other holiday favourites. If you are interested in a more interactive experience, check out installations from designers from all over the world such as a hand-powered light machine that displays enchanted fairytale loops and illuminated see saws that make sounds and light up brighter when you use them. And don’t forget to plan around the weekly fireworks shows and nightly falls illumination.
Check out the #WFOL hashtag on Instagram and then go see for yourself!
Not super keen on spending time outside in the winter? Enter the magical world of the Glow Gardens. Since launching in Vancouver in 2017, Christmas Glow Gardens has become one of the world’s largest indoor Christmas festivals. While you can take in the Christmas Glow in 11 cities and 3 countries, you have your pick of 6 Canadian locations. Glow is a fully interactive light and holiday festival experience. The light gardens and structures are made up of a million lights – including a section of interactive hanging lights, LED swings and hopscotch, hanging picture frames, and a light tunnel made up of 50,000 lights. But Glow is about more than just lights! Take a train ride around the Glow Gardens, enjoy live entertainment, a kids’ playground, and some of the best local shopping and food and drink options.
Check out #GlowToronto, #ChristmasGlow, or any of the city’s unique hashtags on Instagram and then pick up your tickets for this must-see experience.
Location: Capilano Suspension Bridge (North Vancouver, BC)
If you prefer to experience the holidays in the great outdoors without light pollution from the city – but still close enough to the city to settle back into your luxe hotel for the night, Canyon Lights might be just for you! Without Christmas lights, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is an experience in itself with a cliffwalk, a series of seven suspension bridges attached to eight 250 year old trees, viewing platforms, the treetops adventure reaching up to 110 feet above the forest floor, and the gorgeous rainforest and canyon views. With hundreds of thousands of lights, Canyon Lights is an experience like no other. You can even see the eight tallest Christmas trees in the world!
Check out some of the photos from previous years on Instagram at #CanyonLights and then plan your trip!
More than just lights, Aurora Winter Festival is a magical winter wonderland with rides, tubing, ice skating, and the winter characters of your dreams. Canada’s largest winter festival features some of the largest light displays you have ever seen alongside a tube park that is over 25 feet tall and 170 feet long. If you are looking for a truly immersive winter experience, Aurora Winter Festival is perfect for the whole family.
Looking for more reasons to go? Check out #aurorafestvan and #aurorafestto, then share your own pictures to Instagram!
Location: Brentwood Bay, BC (Near Victoria)
If you are looking for something magical, but a little different – and maybe more low key – make sure you visit the Butchart Gardens’ Christmas Lights Magic. Imagine 55 acres of glowing gardens to create a whimsical feel to an already beautiful property. And on top of that, you can sing along with the traditional carolers and a festive brass band to really put you in the holiday spirit! Top off your visit with some hot chocolate and a festive treat to warm up.
Check out #butchartchristmas on Instagram to see some of the incredible displays!
With over 300 light and animation displays (including a 200 foot light tunnel!), hundreds of thousands of lights, and the comfort of your own car, Magic of Lights is a fantastic experience for any family looking to get in the holiday spirit. You can even drive the track at Castrol Raceway in Edmonton! If something more traditional is your style, opt for a hayride instead to go through the 2km of lighted holiday magic.
Check them out on Instagram at @themagicoflights and plan your family visit!
Location: Morrisburg, ON (Eastern Ontario)
Combine your love of Canada’s history with your love of the holidays. Over one million lights bring the picturesque Upper Canada Village to life for Alight at Night Festival – Eastern Ontario’s biggest outdoor light festival. Allow yourself to be fully immersed into the experience with life-sized toy train rides, a vintage merry-go-round, fresh-baked goods from the Village Bakery, and photos with Saint Nick. You can even take a horse-drawn carriage for two for a romantic holiday memory.
See what previous visitors had to say on Instagram and check out #alightatnight