Even though we're Canadian and hating on winter is basically in our DNA, we can't deny that this time of year is also incredibly magical. There's something about cozying up to the fireplace with a blanket and a cup of hot cocoa or walking home from work in the evening and big fluffy snowflakes start falling all around you that brings us all joy.
The holidays can be a stressful time of the year, I won't deny that but they're also one of the most exciting and happy times if you want it to! One of the most classic things to do during the holidays is to go look at the holiday lights. Usually, you can do this by just walking down the street but why not make it into an actual outing this year?
There are tons of stunning and impressive holiday lights festivals happening all over Ontario that will make for the perfect winter day trip! Check out some of the best ones we could find below!
Winter Wonderland Newmarket
Newmarket hosts an annual holiday lights festival that literally transforms the town into a winter wonderland! From November 30th until January 4th you can walk along their Riverwalk to see the magnificent display of holiday lights. There are also free outdoor skating, free hot chocolate and snacks, train rides through the town, and so much more!
Festival of Lights Burlington
Head over to Burlington to experience one of the best festivals of holiday lights in the province! Every year the city illuminates their waterfront with stunning light displays in Spencer Smith Park. Running from November 30th until January 8th this year you can find over 60 light displays and tons of homes in the area decorated to the nines with festive lights!
Bingemans Gift of Lights
Located in Kitchener, Ontario is this unreal holiday experience that allows you to drive through a tunnel of twinkling holiday lights! It's an exciting display when you drive past and the colourful lights rushing past your car windows. This year they added a second tunnel of lights and more animated light displays in the area! They've already opened for the season and it will be on until January 5th.
Winter Festival of Lights
Every year the Niagara Falls area transforms into a real-life winter wonderland filled with stunning twinkling lights! It's the longest festival in the world running from November 3rd until January 31st this year. It's an unreal experience filled with enchanting light displays that are perfect for a romantic winter stroll in the evening. They also plan tons of fun events in the city during the festival that you can enjoy as well while you're there.
Simcoe Christmas Panorama
Explore Simcoe's downtown area this year as it transforms into a magical winter wonderland with tons of stunning light displays. Created in 1958, this is Ontario's oldest festival of lights! You can enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides and wander over bridges and through parks covered in twinkling and colourful lights.
Festival of Northern Lights
Located in Owen Sound the Festival of Northern Lights takes over the harbourfront, riverbanks, and downtown area of the city! There will be almost 400 stunning light displays and over 25 km to explore. Running from November 17th until January 6th this year you can experience a holiday lights festival like no other!
Lumina Borealis in Kingston is probably one of the coolest light displays during the winter months. This year it will run from December 1st until February 19th and will display some amazing installations like their enchanted forest. It allows visitors to interact with the art in a unique way that most festivals don't have.
Alight at Night
Take a trip to Upper Canada Village this holiday season where the holiday light festival is taken to a whole new level! The entire town is covered in twinkling lights including the church, fences, trees, and historic buildings. You can take a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride or warm up with some hot chocolate as you stroll past the stunning light displays.
Christmas Lights Across Canada
Every year the Canadian Parliament buildings in Ottawa host a magnificent lights display that you must add to your list this holiday season. Every night from December 6th until January 7th you can walk past Parliament at night to see the Magical Winter Lightscapes multimedia display light up the buildings. There will also be tons of lights in the area as well making for the perfect romantic stroll!
Toronto Christmas Market
Pretty much everyone has heard about the Toronto Christmas Market at this point but it really is one of the most magical displays of holiday lights in the province! With the massive Christmas tree, the twinkling lights hanging about your head, the countdown to Christmas day, and the class Naughty or Nice sign, you've got so many stunning lights to admire. Plus you can shop, drink, and be merry in the gorgeous Distillery District area. The market is on now until December 23rd!