This holiday season, Ontario transforms into a magical wonderland with several destinations putting on can't miss light festivals complete with markets, live performances, and more.
These holiday light events are the perfect destinations to make life-long memories with loved ones, snap pictures in front of the light displays, and get in the holiday spirit with immersive winter activities.
Before packing up the whole fam jam and heading out on your wintry adventure, take a moment to check the website for your chosen event. Double-checking the operating hours and whether tickets are required will ensure a stress-free outing.
Here are our seven picks for holiday light shows around Ontario.
Downtown Toronto goes neon with the Cavalcade of Lights, and it all kicks off for season 2023 on Saturday, November 25. The city skyline will become a pulsating spectacle as Nathan Phillips Square hosts a lit-up bash. You can spend up to 4 hours taking everything in from ice skating (skates available to rent on-site if you don’t own a pair), and you won’t want to miss a photo opportunity in front of the massive 55-foot Christmas tree—even better if you time it with the fireworks show. It's urban magic, and you're invited.
Niagara Falls cranks the cool factor up with Canada’s largest lights festival, the Winter Festival of Lights, starting November 18. With more than 75 different light displays and 26 nights of fireworks (!), there’s a ton to see, including a new-to-this-year hot chocolate trail with 17 different stops and beverages for adults and kiddies alike. The falls also turn into a rainbow rave every night, but the festival takes place all over Niagara Falls, packing in 8-kilometres of festive surprises that will entertain your family for two hours or more.
Starting November 23 and stretching to January 7, escape to Hamilton's Winter Lights at the Rock, where the Royal Botanical Gardens become a magical Eden. Spend a leisurely two hours surrounded by themed gardens and interactive displays, and then warm up inside while checking out the elaborate Botanical train installation. Be mindful that timed tickets are required for this event, so it’s essential to be on time to make the most of your adventure.
Ottawa shines a bright light on our history by lighting up more than 300,000 lights, illuminating various sites and monuments in Canada’s capital each holiday season as part of Christmas Lights Across Canada. The 2-kilometre stroll takes about an hour, with Mosaika's light show stealing the spotlight. Check out art installations in Canadian history, and enjoy the refreshing chilly night air.
Burlington's Lakeside Festival of Lights, celebrating 28 years this year, is a 2-kilometre stroll that will make you feel transported to the North Pole. Starting November 24, Spencer Smith Park will light up the night, reflecting on Burlington’s beautiful waterfront. The 1.5-hour experience boasts a candlelit stroll and a stop at Santa's Village.
Get ready to see downtown Mississauga shine bright on November 25 with a state-of-the-art light festival, ice skating, live performances, and a street market with artisanal gifts and goodies you won’t be able to resist. Santa and his elves will be on site for photo ops, and glowing art installations will be scattered around the square to get you in the holiday spirit.
Markham's Winter at Angus Glen is worth the short drive from the city for a self-guided tour of the grounds adorned in magical light displays, regular visits from Santa, fire performers and an elaborate brunch and dinner series (book ahead) to elevate the experience and make the most of your visit to this exclusive golf course. Skate on an outdoor rink, get festive under subtle twinkling lights, and discover the cozy side of winter festivals. It's the low-key gem in the festival lineup.