The holidays are fast approaching and there are plenty of Christmas events in Southern Ontario to get you in the festive spirit!
Living in Southern Ontario, I was fortunate to have so many fun Christmas and holiday events to look forward to. Now, I love to take my own kids to some of these festive events and see their excitement at the holiday season.
Below are some of our favourite family traditions, from the CP Holiday train to Christmas Markets and Light Festivals.
So keep on reading: We’ve rounded up the best Christmas Events in Southern Ontario, designed to get you in the holiday spirit!
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Christmas and Holiday Events in Southern Ontario
CP Holiday Train
A favourite of many Canadians, the CP Holiday train is back in person this year!
The Holiday Train travels across Canada, stopping in towns and communities along the way to give live performances while raising money and collecting food for local food banks. It’s a fun event for the whole family!
When: Various Dates (schedule can be found here)
Where: Various locations across Canada
Cost: Free, although a donation to local food banks is appreciated and a part of the Holiday Train experience. Canadian Pacific will also be making donations to food banks in places where the train normally stops.
Holiday Events in the Niagara Area
Winter Festival of Lights
Canada’s largest outdoor light festival is returning again this year.
Featuring over 3 million lights and dazzling 3D displays, the Festival of Lights route is a total of 8km that you can walk, drive through or view from many places in Niagara Falls.
More information can be found on this page.
When: November 18th, 2023 to January 7th, 2024
Where: Dufferin Islands and the Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls ON
Stroll through Niagara-on-the-Lake, led by two horse-drawn carriages, while listening to different choirs and bands. It’s a beautiful way to start the holiday season!
Before the stroll, there will be musical performances starting at 2 pm, and Santa will join in the festivities from 3 – 5 pm.
*Candles can be purchased before the stroll, starting at 2 pm. Candles are $5 each, cash only.
When: Friday December 1st, 2023 @ 6:30pm
Where: Old Court House, 26 Queen St, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Cost: Donations of non-perishable food items are accepted in support of Newark Neighbours, to provide Christmas Hampers for local families
Safari Lights (previously Glow Niagara) is one of Canada’s largest and brightest holiday lights drive-thru events.
Experience an incredible Winter Wonderland on this 3-kilometre drive through the illuminated streets of Safari Niagara.
There are over a million lights, winding light tunnels and your favourite holiday scenes and displays. More information can be found here.
When: November 17th, 2023 to January 7th, 2024
Where: Safari Niagara, 2821 Stevensville Road, Stevensville ON
Cost: $39.95 per car (tickets must be purchased in advance online)
Ball’s Falls Holiday Trail
Experience a winter wonderland at Ball’s Falls Conservation area this holiday season!
Skate under the stars, warm up by the campfire or stroll along the 1.5km illuminated Holiday Trail.
Experience history in the heritage village of Glen Elgin, where each building is lit up with thousands of lights and take in the stunning waterfall, illuminated like never before!
Programming includes winter scavenger hunts and holiday craft stations, as well as live performances and children’s programming on the weekends.
When: Dates to be announced (end of November to end of December)
Hours: 5 – 10 pm
Where: Ball’s Falls Conservation Area
Cost: Adults $10-12, Senior and Children 3-11 $8-10
Holiday Events in Hamilton Area
Explore the magic of the holiday season under the stars as Hendrie Park transforms to a winter wonderland.
The unique outdoor experience leads visitors along the pathways of Hendrie Park, which are illuminated with festive lights, including 7 magical displays that tell the stories of unique winter wonders.
More information can be found here.
When: November 23rd, 2023 to January 7th, 2024 (Closed Monday and Tuesday)
Where: Royal Botanical Gardens, Hendrie Park, Plains Road West, Burlington ON
Cost: Regular Admission rates apply ($20 adult, child/senior $16, age 2 and under are free)
Burlington Lakeside Festival of Lights
The Festival of Lights illuminates Burlington’s waterfront each holiday season. It’s become a beloved favourite tradition for many locals, and 2023 marks its 28th year!
Stroll through the 60 magical light displays set up at Spencer Smith Park, or view from Lakeshore Road as you drive by.
This is a free event, and a great spot to visit with kids, as they can run or walk through the park while exploring the different light displays.
The lights are on daily from 4 pm to midnight.
When: November 24th, 2024 to January 8th, 2024,
Hours: 4 pm to midnight; all day Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Orthodox Christmas and New Year’s Eve
Where: 1400 Lakeshore Road (Spencer Smith Park), Burlington ON
Dundurn Castle Evening Tour
Enjoy a guided tour of Sir Allan MacNab’s lavish home, beautifully decorated for Christmas with carol-singing and a chance to sample traditional Victorian Christmas food in Dundurn’s historic kitchen. This popular Hamilton tradition will surely get you in the Christmas spirit.
Pre-registration is required.
When: December 26th, 2023
Hours: 7 – 9 pm
Where: 610 York Blvd, Hamilton, ON
Cost: $40 per person (Tickets can be purchased online here. Pre-registration is required)
There are also hour-long guided tours offered during the day, where you can enjoy the beauty of a Victorian family Christmas celebration at Dundurn Castle.
When: November 28th, 2023 to January 7th, 2024
Hours: 12-4 pm each day
Where: Dundurn Castle, 610 York Blvd, Hamilton, ON
Cost: Adults $14.75, Seniors and youth $12.75, Children $9, Infants and children under age 5 are free, Family $40.75
Christmas Events in the Waterloo Area
The beloved Christkindl Market is one of the best Christmas Markets in Canada!
Experience the magic of an outdoor village, complete with 22 wooden huts.
Enjoy delicious treats, warm drinks and of course, Glühwein!
When: December 7th, 2023 to December 10th, 2024
Hours: Thursday to Saturday 10 am – 8 pm, Sunday 10 am – 4 pm
Where: Gaukel Street, Kitchener
Gift of Lights
Enjoy the holiday spectacle from inside the comfort of your own vehicle in this family-friendly drive-thru holiday light experience, with two tunnels and over 300 light displays and tunnels.
For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.
When: November 17th, 2023 to January 6th, 2024
Where: 425 Bingemans Centre Drive, Kitchener ON
Cost: $34.95 online, $39.95 at the gate
Cambridge Christmas Market
The Cambridge Christmas Market is celebrating its 10th year this year!
With almost 60 local artisans, crafters and makers, the Cambridge Christmas Market is a great place to shop for unique gifts and seasonal food.
When: December 9th to December 10th, 2023
Hours: Saturday 8 am – 4 pm, Sunday 10 am – 4 pm
Where: City Hall, 50 Dickson St, Cambridge
Walk through the town amid thousands of twinkling lights and feel the magic of Christmas, while supporting local shops and artisans.
Enjoy carollers on Fridays and Sundays, live music and free horse-drawn troller rides on Saturdays. More information can be found here.
When: November 16 – 19 and November 23 – 26, 2023, stores are open year-round
Hours: Thursday 6 – 8 pm, Friday 12 – 9 pm, Saturday 12 – 8 pm, Sunday 1 – 4 pm
Where: St.Jacobs ON
Holiday Sip ‘n Shop
Enjoy live music and beverages, while shopping at this first-ever artisan night market!
The market buildings will be open for the event, as well as over 60 vendors at the outdoor artisan market.
When: Fridays November 17, November 24 and December 1, 2023
Hours: 4-9 pm
Where: St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market, 878 Weber St N, Woolwich
Cost: $5, children 12 and under free
Christmas Events North of Toronto
Holiday Magic at Blue Mountain
The entire outdoor village at Blue Mountain is decorated and transformed into a magical Christmas village.
Holiday music is paired with interactive light displays, including a 1km long illuminated trail. More information can be found here.
When: November 18, 2023 to January 3, 2024
Where: 156 Jozo Weider Blvd, Blue Mountains ON
Christmas Events Near Toronto
Holiday Nights of Lights
This immersive walk-through experience features more than 1.5 million LED lights, with 4 tunnels and animated displays.
The light display is synchronized to 45 minutes of festive, holiday songs. To purchase tickets and for more information, click here.
When: December 1, 2023 to January 7, 2024
Where: Assembly Park, 80 Interchange Way, Vaughn
Cost: Adults $20, Children 12 and under $15, Children 1 and under free, Family $65
Casa Loma Holiday Light Tour
Experience the magic of the holidays at Casa Loma this season.
Wander through a dazzling lighting display in the gardens and tunnels at night, all decorated for the festive season.
Stroll through the property’s grounds while enjoying the spectacular decorations, outdoor decorations and live performances.
**Strollers are not permitted.
When: Select dates in December, 2023 to January, 2024
Where: Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace, Toronto ON
Cost: Adults $45 online, $50 onsite, Senior and youth 14-17 $25, Children 4-13 $20
Distillery Winter Village
Toronto’s original Christmas Market has rebranded to the Distillery Winter Village and is one of Canada’s best Christmas Markets.
Set in the historic Distillery District, this Christmas Market is sure to get you in the festive spirit! Get a photo beside the large Christmas tree in Trinity Square, then browse over 65 local shops, artisans, restaurants and cafes.
With everything from handcrafted goods, jewelry and unique art to delicious food and festive treats, you’re sure to find the perfect gift.
When: November 16, 2023 to December 31st, 2023
Where: Distillery District, 55 Mill St, Toronto, ON
Cost: $15 – 30, kids under 9 are free
Christmas Events near Ottawa
Magic of Lights
This dazzling 2km drive-through experience features favourite holiday scenes and characters, with over 300 lights displays and animations. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.
When: November 17, 2023 to January 6, 2024
Where: Wesley Clover Parks, 411 Corkstown Road, Ottawa ON
Cost: Tickets start at $18
Christmas Lights Across Canada
Thousands of multicoloured lights will light up Parliament Hill and Confederation Boulevard, Laurier Street in Gatineau and the Alexandra Bridge, as well as national museums, embassies and other important sites in Ottawa.
When: Dates to be announced
Where: Parliament Hill and Confederation Boulevard, Ottawa ON.
Ottawa Christmas market
Enjoy a festive outdoor experience at Lansdowne, stroll under a canopy of lights and pose in front of the largest Christmas tree in Ottawa.
On weekends, enjoy the festive Ottawa Christmas Market, wander the wooden chalets and do some holiday shopping!
More information on the Christmas Market vendors and hours can be found here.
When: November 24, 2023 to December 23, 2023
*Christmas Market November 24 – 26, December 1 – 3, 8 – 10, 15 – 17 and 20 – 23, 2023
Where: Casino Lac Leamy Plaza, 1015 Bank St, Ottawa ON
Final Thoughts: Best Christmas Events in Southern Ontario
These festive Christmas events in Southern Ontario are sure to get you in the holiday spirit! Wherever you are in Southern Ontario, there’s sure to be some holiday festivities near you.
If you have any other Christmas and Holiday events in Southern Ontario to add to this list, please let us know in the comments below!