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Top 9 Christmas Events in Ottawa

Christmas Glow Ottawa

Winter festivals in Ottawa don’t have to be cold! Step inside Christmas Glow Ottawa and marvel at the indoor wonderland waiting for you. There’s live entertainment playing each day of the festival, plus plenty of vendors offering excellent Christmas gifts for your friends and family. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the interactive light gardens and illuminated structures, and there’s plenty of food and drink options no matter your taste. Families can participate in a “Glow Around the World” adventure, helping Santa deliver presents to 6 different countries! If you’re in the mood for a holiday festival but want to get away from the wintertime chill, step inside Christmas Glow Ottawa between December 5th and January 4th.

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Ottawa Christmas Market

Ottawa Christmas Market

This European-style Christmas market begins on November 29. Head to Aberdeen Square and you’ll be able to browse dozens of vendors with unique gift items and lots of seasonal food and drink that can appeal to adults and kids alike. There’s a spectacular array of various lighting designs and Christmas trees, too, which properly set the mood and drive back the winter gloom. The Ottawa Farmer’s Market also attends this Market each Sunday, so it’s a great place to pick up fresh food for hearty winter meals.

Christmas Gifts

Ottawa Christmas Craft Sale

For those of you with a craftier aesthetic or who like handmade gifts and products, check out the Christmas Craft Sale at the EY Centre. This Sale runs from December 5 to the 15th and incorporates 200 specialty boutiques. Each boutique offers a least a few unique items, so be sure to check them all out to find personalized gifts for your friends and family or special decorations for your home or garden. The Craft Sale is a great way to support local vendors and artisans, and you can meet them individually to make friends or get special insights into their creative processes.

Fireman Helping Christmas

Help Santa Toy Parade

This annual Ottawa tradition has been running since 1969, ever since the Ottawa Professional Fire Fighters’ Association decided to collect toys along their parade route to distribute the less fortunate children in the Ottawa area. Since the initial parade, the event has expanded in scope and size. It’s a fantastic opportunity to take your children to a wonderful parade filled with dramatic performers and well-dressed Christmas figures and dancers, plus firefighter representatives. You can bring old toys and teach your kids the value of holiday giving at the same time.

Christmas Lights Ottawa

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

On Thursday, November 28, the Canadian Museum of History will perform its fourth annual lighting of their giant outdoor Christmas tree. Invite your friends and family and join the museum as they count down to the lighting event, accompanied by gentle carols sung by the Pierre Elliott Trudeau school choir. The event includes complimentary hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies for those who arrive earliest for the facilities. You can additionally enjoy dancing it like music once the tree has been lit. There’s no better way to note the arrival of the Christmas season than by joining a lighting of a signature tree.

Alight at Night Christmas Lights Ottawa

Alight at Night

Although you have to drive about one hour away from downtown Ottawa, this marvelous historical village holds Christmas wonder for everyone. Located at Upper Canada Village, the Alight at Night event features almost 1 million lights that adorn local heritage buildings, fences, and trees. The dazzling display is accompanied by horse-drawn wagon rides, romantic carriage rides, caroling, Santa Claus visits at a Victorian-style mansion, or a vintage merry-go-round ride. There are also three festive dining opportunities nearby, plus plenty of gift shops. It’s an excellent day trip opportunity for the whole family.

Magical Lights Drive Through

Magic of Lights

This 2 km drive-through light show has more than 300 spectacular displays that use digital animations and the latest in LED technology. Best of all, you don’t have to leave the warmth and comfort of your own car. Pay a single fee for your entire carload and head down to the Wesley Clover Parks in Nepean, near Ottawa, to participate. This light show runs from November 21 to January 4, so there’s plenty of time to experience the wonder and glamour of the lights yourself before they’re taken down until next season.

Christmas Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train Near Ottawa

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train program returns to Ottawa once again for a single day of operation on November 27. This event incorporates a train journey that begins in Montréal, bringing holiday cheer and food to communities along the local rail network. Attend the final stop in Ottawa on the 27th and you’ll be able to spectate as the dazzlingly decorated locomotive chugs by through the winter wonderland. The Holiday Train is 1000 feet in length and features 14 railcars. You’ll also have an opportunity to donate to local food banks, so it’s a great place to get back during the holiday season.

Pete Paquette Christmas Special Brochure

A Christmas Spectacular starring Pete Paquette

There’s no better event in Ottawa to partake in Christmas carols and classic holiday songs of cheer than with this show from celebrity Pete Paquette and his guests Kay Oh Chay and Tonettes. Join them and sing over 30 of the greatest Christmas heads of all time and enjoy a performance that’ll warm your heart and lift your spirits. Buy your tickets soon as this spectacular only runs on December 7 and 8, and space is incredibly limited.


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