Now that the temperatures are dropping, winter events in Ontario are gearing up for their annual debut! Across Ontario, many magical and exciting events are being set up to bring joy to attendees of all ages! Even if the warmth of your home is more your speed, one of these events is sure to entice you. Many of these last for days (or weeks), so you can easily avoid crowds! Grab your winter jacket, plus your coziest boots, and head out to enjoy these fun winter events in Ontario.
1. Niagara Falls: Festival of Lights — November 12 to February 20
The frozen Falls aren’t the only thing that draws people to this city during the winter! Every year, Niagara Falls throws this festival, which is an 8km-long route that is fully illuminated with lights and sounds of the holiday season. It includes a three-dimensional wildlife display and the world’s largest Canadian American flag. On top of this, you’ll be pleased to see a light installation of Noah’s Ark and a grand finale light show. This year, the festival celebrates its 40th anniversary by extending the length of the festival to 40 days, with a different fireworks show every night! Additionally, there’s a “Sparkling Winter Lights” illumination at the Falls. With this, there’s a self-guided walk through numerous chefs and mixologists! Best of all, the entire experience is free of charge (with donations accepted).
2. Blue Mountain: Holiday Magic — November 18 to January 8
One of Ontario’s most notorious ski resorts runs a special event from November to January titled ‘Holiday Magic’. Skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing are some of the festival’s most popular activities. However, if you want something more laid back, try snowshoeing. You can also check out some of the snow sculptures or treat yourself to some delicious food, drinks, and wine. Don’t forget to stop by and check out one of the numerous light shows or street performers that are scattered around the resort! To end the event, they also feature numerous fireworks shows at their Mill Pond! This notable winter event in Ontario is not one to miss, so mark your calendars.
3. Ottawa: Winterlude — February 3 to February 20
This festival is quite possibly the most famous one on this list and for good reason, too! Winterlude, the three-weekend event located in the nation’s capital, is back to amaze those coming in from around the province. To start, check out the international ice-carving competition, which showcases talent from across the globe that will be sure to impress you. For the kids, there’s Snowflake Kingdom, a massive winter playground for all ages that is built annually. A trip to Ottawa is never complete without a skate on the famous Rideau Canal in the evening. Top it off with a Beaver Tail and a warm cup of hot chocolate! Make sure to book a hotel or Airbnb well in advance for one of these weekends, since the city gets busy quickly.
4. Haliburton: Canadian National Pond Hockey Championship — January 27 to February 4
Return to the roots of this classic Canadian sport by playing it on a frozen lake for two weekends in the new year. The 2023 Canadian Pond Hockey Championship in Haliburton sees over 1,000 players join teams to compete for a variety of prizes! The first weekend is all about open play for men and women over the age of 24, along with corporate teams for those over the age of 19. The second weekend focuses on more competitive games, featuring men and women over the ages of 35 and 50. When you’re done on the rink, kick back with some entertainment and alcoholic drinks.
5. Vaughan: Canada’s Wonderland Winterfest — November 18 to December 31
Everybody loves a trip to Canada’s Wonderland, but you haven’t experienced true winter fun until you’ve been to Winterfest! Take in the sights and sounds of Ontario’s favourite amusement park with an incredible winter twist. Ice Skate on Snowflake Lake or take a stroll down Candy Cane Lane—there is something for everyone! There is also a plethora of live entertainment shows that take place and hundreds of beautiful Christmas trees throughout the park. So, what are you waiting for? Enjoy a day filled with winter relaxation and thrilling rollercoaster rides at Canada’s Wonderland Winterfest, one of our favourite winter events in Ontario.
6. Bowmanville: WILD Winter Festival of Lights — December 2 to December 23
Now in its third year, the Bowmanville WILD Winter Festival of Lights is not something you want to miss! This drive-through light show first began during the peak of the pandemic in 2020 in hopes of spreading some holiday cheer. Last year, they were able to raise over $50,000 to give back to their community in addition to 10,000 lbs of non-perishable food items to donate to their local community food bank! They will be raising money again this year for Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart Canada as well as J.A.G Village, so be sure to stop by, donate and experience a drive of winter excitement.
7. Toronto: Nathan Phillips Square Holiday Fair in the Square — December 2 to December 23
Located at Nathan Phillips Square in the heart of downtown Toronto, Holiday Fair in the Square is a family delight! With over 50 vendors, a thriving winter carnival and an extravagant light show in partnership with Toronto’s Cavalcade of Lights, there’s a reason this event brings people in from all over the city. Kick back and relax after a shopping spree at the fireside lounge, or lace up your skates and have a blast on Toronto’s most popular skating rink. The best part of Holiday Fair in the Square is all proceeds from the event go to supporting Epilepsy in Toronto. So, you know your fun is going towards a good cause.
8. Snyder’s Farm: Christmas on the Farm — November 26 to December 18
Nothing is more cozy than snuggling up next to a campfire with your family and friends. Now, imagine that combined with the comfort of a family-run farm. This is the experience at Snyder’s Christmas on the Farm event that takes place on weekends from November 26 to December 18. After booking a fire in advance, you and your loved ones can sit back and relax upon arrival. Additionally, you can bring your family here to cut down your very own Christmas tree. Enjoy campfire favourites. such as s’mores and hot dogs. If you’re still hungry, order more off of their dinner menu, which includes homemade pizzas, nachos and bakery desserts. For the adults, there’s beer, wine and ciders at the Sweets & Spirits bar! Make sure to book well in advance, as these spots get taken up quickly.
9. Pickering: Winter Nights, City Lights — November 25, 26, 27
Immerse yourself in a winter wonderland at Pickering’s Esplanade Park! For these three days, the park will be lit up with lights to make for a fabulous winter wonderland. On top of this, you can sing along to live entertainment, fireworks, and the wandering characters who make their way around the park. Food vendors are scattered throughout the park, and you can even visit Santa himself.
10. Toronto: Distillery District Winter Village — November 17 to December 31
What better way to top off this list than with Toronto’s famous Christmas Market? The market takes place in the city’s historical Distillery District, located right in the heart of downtown Toronto. After taking a break due to COVID, the event is back and better than ever. This time, running right into the new year! Enjoy the stunning views while strolling the cobblestone sidewalks and some of the many 85+ shops and food vendors. There’s a fun, interactive treasure hunt that requires you to find 12 hidden gingerbread people for a chance to win a $100 gift card. Don’t forget to marvel at the massive Christmas Tree in the center of the Distillery District square!
Now that we have your interest sparked, make sure to attend one of these family-friendly winter events in Ontario before the cold sets in! Remember, if you are getting behind the wheel, make sure your car is winter ready and you covered with the proper auto insurance coverage! Contact isure today for a quote.