Christmas season has officially arrived, which means several people are looking to get into the holiday spirit. Perhaps the best way to do that is by travelling outside of the city, where award-winning small town celebrations will truly get you in a festive mood.

Every year, small towns across the province transform themselves into dazzling winter wonderlands filled with bright lights, colourful decor and nostalgic music. The historic European roots of each town, combined with the good vibes of the holidays will make you feel like you're spending Christmas in Europe.

Here are 8 Ontario towns that you must check out this holiday season:

Via christkindl


Christkindl Market

The Christkindl Market in Kitchener is among the top 100 festivals in the province. Every year, the Kitchener City Hall transforms itself into a German Christmas Market, similar to the iconic Christkindlmarkt celebrated in Germany. The town comes to life with lights, music and festive street vendors, making it a perfect destination for the holidays.

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Christmas Magic

Christmas Magic is an annual festival held at historic town of Cobourg. The town's Rotary Harbourfront Park is decorated with over 100,000 lights, making it an incredible place to visit for Christmas. Lighting ceremonies occur every November at the town's Victoria Hall, and a fun parade through the decorated parks and waterfront follow immediately after.

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Alight at Night

Alight at Night turns Morrisburg's historic Upper Canada Village into a winter wonderland, with over 1 million colourful lights and displays set up along a 1-km trail. During the festival, the village offers many holiday-themed activities, including horse-drawn wagon rides at night, life-sized toy train rides, carolling, Christmas dinners and much more.

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Simcoe Panorama

The Simcoe Panorama is one of Ontario's premier light festivals. The annual celebration involves the transformation of the town of Simcoe into a "city of lights" filled with colourful trees, decorated buildings and incredible illuminated displays. The highlight of the festival is a river parade in which glowing floats make their way from one side of the town to the other.

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Blue Mountain

Jingles & Joy

Jingles & Joy is Blue Mountain's yearly Christmas celebration that fills its pedestrian village with "thousands of twinkling lights, festive storefronts and family-friendly entertainment." Skiers can take a break from the slopes and indulge in the holiday festivities, which include horse-drawn carriage rides, shopping and an awesome fireworks display.

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Big Bright Light Show

The Big Bright Light Show is one of the most unique holiday light set-ups in the province. Gigantic LED panels, which total approximately 170,000 lights, are set up along the city's downtown buildings to give it almost a Times' Square vibe. As the holidays approach, the street will be turned into an ultimate Christmas block party, complete with live performances and Santa meet-and-greets.

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Frankford Christmas Fantasy of Lights

The Frankford Christmas Fantasy of Lights occurs in Trenton's tourist park. Every year, the park is adorned with thousands of festive lights and illuminated displays for the public's viewing pleasure. Guests can enjoy live music and hot chocolate as they meander through the decorated park.

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Niagara Falls

Winter Festival of Lights

The Winter Festival of Lights is one of the largest light shows in North America. Sponsored by Ontario Power Generation, the festival converts eight kilometres of Niagara Falls' streets into an illuminated trail filled with glowing trees and holiday-themed exhibits. The best part? The trail is absolutely free to enter, and guests are also treated to a fireworks show as the perfect end to a magical winter night.

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