Toronto has everything you could ask for when it comes to holiday sights and happenings.
There’s the too-popular Christmas market at the Distillery District, we’re about to unveil Canada’s biggest Christmas tree, there was a glimpse of Mariah Carey to ring in the season, and you can indulge in all kinds of festive food and fluids across the city.
But as we sometimes need reminding, there’s a whole bunch of awesome beyond the borders of The Centre of the Universe.
Case in point: these 7 must-see holiday celebrations in surrounding small towns that are just a short road trip away…
Canada’s foremost illumination festival captures the magic of the holiday season and attracts over 1 million visitors and hundreds of motor coaches annually. Oh, and it’s completely free to enter (donation encouraged).
When: November 19 to January 31
Sainte-Marie’s ‘First Light’ is a must-see event with a great line-up of family activities and performers amidst the spectacular glow of over 5,000 candles. The magic begins when visitors approach the candlelit historic site, as a beautiful amber glow illuminates the famous 17th-century mission. Recognized as one of Ontario’s ‘Top 100’ events by Festivals and Events Ontario.
When: November 24 to 26, December 1 to 3, and 8 to 10
Ok, so it’s only been around since ’96, but there’s plenty of German tradition to take in at this Kitchener favourite. Enjoy Gluhwein, sweet and savoury food, shop outside and inside from over 90 vendors, and listen to choirs, bands and dance groups.
When: December 1 to 4, Kitchener City Hall
Thousands of lights and themed displays transform Simcoe’s downtown parks into a winter wonderland. Stroll the parkland at your leisure or step aboard our horse-drawn trolley available most weekends in December.
When: November 26 (opening night ceremony at 6 pm) to January 1
A guided stroll winding through the historical town, accompanied by local choirs and seasonal entertainment, with proceeds from candle sales in support of a local family/non-profit organization in need.
Kick back and enjoy a twist to all of your favourite winter festivities. The town of Bracebridge will be filled with holiday spirit during a laid-back weekend that includes a holiday market, festive workshops, caroling party, holiday spirits, and a Jack Frost ice lounge.
When: December 2 to 4
Get into the merriment of the season with a traditional Pioneer Christmas at Lang Pioneer Village Museum that lets you discover the history behind Christmas traditions, enjoy twilight horse-drawn wagon rides, meet Father Christmas, and witness a live nativity performed by members of the Keene United Church.
When: Saturday, December 3 to Sunday, December 4, 5 pm to 9 pm