2023 Ontario Christmas Events You Won’t Want To Miss

It feels as if the leaves just started to fall from the trees, yet it’s already time to start thinking about Christmas. Even without snow, or holiday music hitting the airwaves, if you are wanting to catch some special holiday cheer, it’s time to start planning your weekends. From now until the holidays you will probably find yourself busy each and every weekend, even more so if you have children. Ontario is a magical place this time of the year, and here are some of the top experiences you are going to want to check out.

Toronto’s Annual Santa Claus Parade

Toronto’s annual parade is celebrating its 119th anniversary on November 26th, and is once again expected to draw in more than half a million people to celebrate. It’s one of the largest parades in all of North America, and is the oldest one to feature Santa Claus. Downtown Toronto will be closed to traffic, allowing the floats, marching bands, and the jolly old elf to travel the 5.6km route uninterrupted. You should arrive early if you intend to go, because finding a good spot to watch it can be difficult. Being blankets, warm clothing, camp chairs, and of course snack for your kids.

Take A Train Ride To The North Pole

The Waterloo Central Railway offers magical Christmas adventure rides onboard own of their historic steam and diesel-electric locomotives, starting at the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market Station. While you won’t quite make it to the North Pole (Elmira does an admirable job filling in however), you will still head north and enjoy contest, music and a show by professional actors. When you reach your final destination you will be treated with a visit by Santa Claus himself, delighting the children you will have brought along. They even offer a nighttime experience, where you will get to see the train all beautiful lit up for the holidays.

The Distillery Winter Village 

The winter village opens on the 16th with a grand tree-lighting experience  you won’t want to miss. Originally called the Toronto Christmas Market, the event has become a Toronto holiday staple over the past 14 years. Enjoy shopping at over 75 local merchants, eating at restaurants and cafes, and listening to carols sung by local musicians.  It has a little bit of something for everyone, and lasts from the 16th until New Years eve.

Niagara’s Festival of Lights

For 41 years, Niagara has been transforming the falls into a winter wonderland. Over 3 million lights highlight the largest free outdoor light festival in Canada. A variety of displays are set up across an 8km stretch of the Niagara Parkway. Some of the highlights include Queen Victoria Park, the Dufferin Islands, Clifton Hill, the Victoria Centre, Fallsview Boulevard and Lundy’s Lane. Enjoy the spectacle on foot, or by car. A map can be found online to help make sure you don’t miss anything special.

Victorian Christmas

When some people think of Christmas, their mind automatically goes to Dicken’s Victorian England. Now you can enjoy a mid-19th century Christmas  at Dundurn Castle in Hamilton for yourself. The castle is decorated with cedar boughs, ribbons and dried flowers, and you can taste some of the holiday treats as well.

Photo: The Distillery District Facebook