All around the country, final preparations are underway ahead of the most festive time of the year. We’re decked out in our coziest apparel, the ingredients to make mulled wine are in, and we’re ready to set our out-of-office response.
How do you plan to spend your time off? Sure, there’s going to be a day (or two) where you stay inside watching holiday movies and drinking hot cocoa with your favourite people, but there’s so much going on outside in your city that you won’t want to miss.
This year, in particular, Canada has gotten into the holiday spirit like never before. Wrap up in your winter essentials, sneak a kiss under the first piece of mistletoe you see, and immerse yourself in the holiday magic.
It’s been looking a lot like Christmas in Toronto since November 14 with the opening of the annual Toronto Christmas Market.
Located in the Distillery District, the market is packed full of vendors selling artisanal crafts, the kids can visit Santa Claus himself, and there are plenty of chances to snap Instagram-perfect photos beside the massive Christmas tree adorned with twinkling lights. Pro tip: be sure to visit soon — the market is only around until December 22!
When: Now through December 22, 2019 (closed on Mondays)
Where: The Distillery District
Tickets: Weekdays are free; Weekend tickets available online
Holiday magic often happens when you least expect it. Recently, a group of Toyota Canada employees surprised locals with a unique performance in Toronto’s Harbourfront neighbourhood.
Employees from the company’s head office in Scarborough hopped inside 13 black and white Toyota vehicles lined up like the keys of a piano. Then, with specially tuned car horns, they honked the notes from “Deck the Halls” and “Jingle Bells.” The captivating hourly performance surprised passersby and brought some unexpected holiday cheer to the city.
Could an impromptu performance like this happen in your city? Who’s to say! That’s the beauty of this wonderful season.
Exploring Montreal during winter allows you to appreciate the wonder and beautiful architecture around every corner, not to mention the installations that are illuminating the city.
Quebec’s largest temporary public art installation, Luminothérapie Pop! is shining a light on the darkest days this season with five fantastical creatures you’ll want to get a selfie with. The installation is taking over Place des Festivals from now through January 26, so you’ve got some time to visit and see the lights that are inspiring creativity in digital art!
When: Now through January 26, 2020
Where: Place des Festivals
Tickets: Not required — Free admission
We can’t get enough of festive light displays this season, and in Calgary, there’s an event that every Canadian needs to visit at least once in their life: Lions Festival of Lights. The event has been running for more than 30 years, bringing bright holiday joy to 14th Street NW with over 500,000 shining lights.
It’s free to attend and marvel at the Christmas figures and trees decked out with glowing LED lights. In short, the festival is the perfect reason to round up your nearest and dearest for an evening out with a hot drink to warm your hands (and your belly!).
When: Now through January 8, 2020
Where: Confederation Park — 14th Street NW, north of 24th Avenue, Calgary
Tickets: Not required — Free admission
Looking to do something different and even a little majestic this season? We suggest heading to Edmonton’s Elk Island National Park for a sensational Snowshoe and Stargaze experience. When night falls, you’ll begin a guided snowshoe hike around the shore of Astotin Lake.
This awe-inspiring evening continues with warm snacks by the campfire and a spot of stargazing into the night at Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve. Get ready to learn about the constellations and prepare to be amazed.
When: December 21, 28; January 4, 11, 18, 25; February 1, 8, 15
Where: Elk Island National Park
Tickets: $29.80 per person with a valid park pass — Available via Parks Canada
Grouse Mountain transforms into a wonderland every winter with an abundance of activities to enjoy during the Peak of Christmas period. From now through January 5, you can get on the ice at the outdoor ice skating pond, take photos in the glistening light tunnel, and grab a bite to eat by the fire in the lodge.
If you fancy doing something more adventurous, hit the slopes for some night skiing or zip down the sliding zone and have the time of your life. That’s not forgetting the many snowshoe trails waiting to be explored!
When: Now through January 5, 2020
Where: Grouse Mountain – 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
Tickets: All festive Peak of Christmas activities are complimentary with an Annual Local’s Pass, Y2Play or Winter Season Pass, as well as regular Alpine Experience tickets — Available via Grouse Mountain
Make the most of the festive season in your city from now through January and be sure to snap plenty of photos along the way. Happy holidays!