You'll feel like the main character of a Hallmark movie at this twinkling small town in Ontario. Almonte, a historic town less than an hour from Ottawa, is a hidden Christmas gem filled with festive cheer.
The small town doesn't just look like a Hallmark village, it is a Hallmark village. Almonte has been featured in several Hallmark films throughout the years, earning it the nickname the "Christmas Capital of Ontario," according to the National Trust for Canada.
The historic streets, ornate store windows and dreamy atmosphere make it an idyllic spot for holiday films and adventures.
The town isn't just worth visiting during the Christmas season. There is lots to do and see year-round, from art galleries and annual events to local shopping and scenic nature trails.
Here's what to expect while visiting this charming small town, whether you're planning a festive getaway or seeking a relaxing escape in any season.
Christmas movies filmed in Almonte
Almonte's small town charm and festive atmosphere have made it a go-to spot for holiday films. According to The New York Times, the village has served as a backdrop for holiday movies set in Vermont, Alaska, and even Milwaukee.
The array of movies filmed in the town have earned it several nicknames, including "Mini Hollywood North" and the "Hallmark Capital," according to Destination Ontario.
You might recognize some of Almonte's storefronts, streets and landmarks in films like Unlocking Christmas, Christmas Around the Corner, The Christmas Setup, Fatman, A Chance for Christmas and Maps and Mistletoe.
Christmas in Almonte
Given Almonte's Hallmark movie history, it's no surprise that Christmas is a magical time to visit the town. One of the biggest holiday events to check out is Light Up the Night.
This "wintry open-air concert" is taking place on December 1, 2023 and features a fireworks display and special guests. The event is "one of the largest and most magical outdoor Christmas shows in Canada" and it's filled with festive cheer. There will be several food vendors on site serving treats like hot chocolate and maple taffy.
The Almonte Christmas Night Parade is happening on December 3 and features lots of sparkling lights and music.
On December 16, you can head to the Mill of Kintail Conservation Area for an enchanting holiday experience. The Kintail Country Christmas event features horse-drawn wagon rides, s'mores, cookie decorating, photos with Santa, twinkly lights and fireworks.
Cedar Hill Christmas Tree Farm is another Hallmark-worthy destination to visit during the festive season.
Almonte's local shops and boutiques are home to unique items and you can browse for stocking stuffers and holiday gifts.
Things to do year-round
Almonte isn't just a magical spot to visit during the Christmas season — it offers lots of activities and events year-round.
The Mississippi Valley Textile Museum is an interesting spot to visit and you can learn about the history of the woollen textile industry in the Mississippi River Valley as well as the impact it had on the development of the area.
If you want to enjoy some fresh air, the Riverwalk is a scenic route to explore along the Mississippi River in historic downtown Almonte.
Along the way, you can enjoy beautiful views of the water as well as a stunning view of the falls from lookout a by the Victoria Woollen Mill. There are several benches scattered along the path where you can relax and do some bird watching.
Nature lovers will want to head to the Mill of Kintail Conservation Area. The preserve is home to many hiking and skiing trails as well as an 1830s grist mill. Inside the mill, you can check out the R. Tait Mackenzie Museum to learn about the area's historic figures.
Historic Mill Street is lined with boutiques and you can spend a day browsing through items and shopping for unique finds. You can find everything from antiques and handmade items to books, clothing, artwork and stationary.
Almonte hosts several events throughout the year including Celtfest, the old-fashioned Almonte Fair, Fibrefest and Puppets Up!
Places to eat
Whether you're looking to satisfy your sweet tooth or fill up on pasta, Almonte has lots of restaurants and eateries to fulfill your cravings.
A go-to spot for a meal is Joe's Italian Kitchen. The restaurant is tucked away inside a heritage Woolen Mill and features stunning views of the falls.
You can enjoy traditional Italian fare made with locally-sourced ingredients. Dishes include Pinsa, the "next generation of pizza" and daily pasta specials.
Café Postino is another spot to check out if you're craving Italian food. Boasting locally-sourced ingredients and traditional house made desserts, you'll feel like you're on a mini trip to Rome.
The dinner menu has dishes like filet mignon and fettuccine alfredo as well as chocolate caramel cake and tiramisu for dessert.
You can get your coffee fill at Equator Coffee Roasters. The cafe has a variety of drinks including flavoured coffees like eggnog and s'mores. You can also order sandwiches, snacks and more.
Anyone with a sweet tooth will want to head to Hummingbird Chocolate. The shop sells award-winning, bean-to-bar chocolate and you can bite into treats like candy cane bark, dark chocolate coffee beans, peanut butter cups and salted caramels.
Places to stay
Almonte has several cute spots to stay overnight, perfect for soaking up the town's charm for multiple days.
The Almonte Riverside Inn, rebranding to the Monte Retreat, is a relaxing getaway spot complete with a hot tub, sauna, kayaks and unique rooms.
The Old Mill Manor will whisk you back in time with waterfront views and a heated salt water pool, hot tub, fire pit and docks. The rental is available on Airbnb and sleeps 12 guests in five bedrooms.
Whether you're chasing waterfalls, exploring historic streets, or soaking up the Christmas atmosphere, Almonte is a magical spot for a getaway.
Year-round, it's full of events, attractions, gorgeous scenery and historic streets brimming with charm. The holiday season brings a whole new kind of enchantment to the town and you can enjoy all the festive vibes in the "Christmas Capital of Ontario."
Step into a real-life Hallmark village and enjoy a twinkling winter wonderland at this small town this holiday season.
Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.