8 Magical Drive-Through Christmas Light Displays Across Canada
The best places to enjoy this cherished holiday tradition from the safety of your own car.
Celebrating the holidays from afar
Nothing signals the start of the holiday season quite like the multi-coloured glow of Christmas lights hung up as far as the eye can see. For many Canadians, a tour through the extravagant light displays and festivals across the country has become a much-loved holiday tradition. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, that tradition continues—albeit from the comfort and safety of your car. These drive-through Christmas light displays offer a contactless and physically-distanced opportunity to seize the holiday spirit. So cue up your favourite holiday playlist and fill a flask with hot chocolate for the ride—just don’t forget your face masks and hand sanitizer.
Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls, Ontario
You’re likely familiar with Niagara Falls as the home of Canada’s most famous natural wonder, but the view is made even more breathtaking during the holidays—thanks in part to over three million twinkling lights in over 75 spectacular displays. Founded in 1982, the Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights is the country’s biggest illumination festival. This year, the festival will be split into two parts, with the first half featuring 3D animal and holiday-themed displays. The second half, which runs in the new year from January 10 to February 21, is all about winter wonderland and love—perfect for a Valentine’s Day date. With a warm drink in hand, visitors can explore the driving and walking routes featuring a glittering light tunnel, animated displays and of course, Santa’s sleigh.
When: November 13 to February 21, 2022
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Enchanted Forest in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Escape the stress of 2021 with a carefree cruise through Saskatoon’s BHP Enchanted Forest. From a life-sized homage to the Saskatchewan Roughriders football team to a soaring Noah’s Ark—the largest of over 67 displays—there’s no shortage of sparkling vignettes to admire. Proceeds from this contact-free attraction will go towards the Saskatoon Zoo Foundation and the City Hospital Foundation.
When: November 19 to January 9, 2022
Cost: $10 per person or $35 per car
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Illumi in Laval, Quebec
Prepare to be thoroughly dazzled on a magical journey through Illumi, a wondrous world brought to life with a whopping 20-million LED bulbs. Created by one of the co-founders of Cirque du Soleil, the awe-inspiring three-kilometre drive will immerse you in winter wonderlands as well as a majestic savannah and a breathtaking garden. This is one car ride you’ll remember long after the holidays!
Cost: Varies by age, date and time slot
Glow Gardens in Langley, British Columbia
Here’s a Christmas light show that comes with some tasty snacks. The 20-minute drive through “A Fairytale Christmas” at Langley, B.C.’s Glow Gardens begins with a welcome from Santa’s elves and beloved storybook characters, complete with a complementary bag of mini-donuts, popcorn and a souvenir ornament, all included in the purchase of a pass. As you munch, roll down the windows for a glimpse of the glittering glacial foyer, 100-foot animated light tunnel and a three-storey shimmering tree. Bonus: You can order holiday poinsettias and pick them up on-site.
When: November 18 to January 1, 2022
Cost: $34.99 per car
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Magic of Lights in Ottawa, Ontario
Experience classic scenes animated by a million lights at the Magic of Lights benefitting the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Each twist and turn of the winding road in Wesley Clover Parks brings you right up to captivating displays like the Night Before Christmas and Toyland. Just sit back, relax and let your heart be light.
When: November 19 to January 8, 2022
Cost: $25 per car
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WinterLights in Vancouver, British Columbia
Kickstart your Yuletide festivities at WinterLights—an interactive drive-through Christmas light display that puts visitors on a mission to find jolly old St. Nick. Start the journey off on the right foot with snacks, hot cocoa and festive light-up gear. Special characters provide help along the way, while Christmas carols and live performers in giant snow globes set the mood for an impromptu carpool karaoke amongst the colourful spectacle of lights. Once you’ve spotted the 50-foot purple Christmas tree, keep your eyes peeled for Santa and his elves!
When: December 3-31
Cost: Starting at $37 per car
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Fantasy of Lights in Uxbridge, Ontario
This is one holiday event that’s sure to put the entire family in a good mood! The Optimist Club of Uxbridge is hosting its annual Fantasy of Lights drive-through featuring over 75 displays from various groups, businesses, schools and families from across the Uxbridge area. If you’re in a rush to go home and enjoy a Christmas feast while video chatting your loved ones, the route should only take about 15 minutes. The festival is free but they’ll be accepting donations that will go towards local youth initiatives.
When:December 4 to January 2, 2022
Cost: Free (Donations accepted)
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Gift of Lights in Kitchener, Ontario
If you’re on the hunt for an impressive background for that perfect holiday photo, stop by Bingeman’s Gift of Lights. The festival has not just one, but two light tunnels—each over 150 feet long. Once you’ve driven through those, there’s still over 300 static and animated displays to marvel at throughout the 2.5 kilometre route. Itching to get out of the car? There’ll be three special nights where guests will be permitted to walk through the route—with space for physical distancing—in support of organizations like the Grand River Hospital Foundation and The Food Bank of Waterloo Region.
When: November 13 to January 9, 2022
Cost: Starting at $25 per car
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