Familiar to most of us from fond childhood memories spent touring around the neighbourhood in the snow, Christmas lights displays are an integral part of the holiday experience. What a lot of people might not know though, is that there are regular, annual Christmas lights displays happening all over Canada, and some of them are really something else.
Toronto is the biggest city in Canada, so it should be no surprise that when it comes to Christmas lights displays, the metropolis really goes all out. In the following list, we’ll be focusing on some of the most impressive commercial displays put on by businesses and other city buildings, because when it comes down to it, doing impressive things on colossal scales is a large part of what Toronto does best.
GLOW TORONTO: SANTA’S LOST PRESENTS
Held at the North Building of the Toronto Congress Centre, Glow’s Santa’s Lost Presents event gets the top spot in our list, purely because of the sheer amount of dedication and time that has obviously gone into creating a memorable experience for all those in attendance. As everybody knows, Canadian winters have a tendency to be a little brutal. Fortunately, that won’t be a problem at Glow, since you’ll stay toasty-warm strolling through the endless stalls and marquees at the vendor’s market.
Children can work off a little extra steam on the numerous different playgrounds and other interactive entertainment features, while adults might well be glad to see the sight of the on-site, licensed bar after a long day of festivities.
NATHAN PHILLIPS SQUARE
No list of the best places to see Christmas lights displays in Toronto would be complete without giving an honourable mention to the Nathan Phillips Square, which is, without fail, dazzling – every single year. City Hall presents the centre-piece of the extravaganza, with beautiful multicoloured lighting draped all over the historic building, while Toronto’s official Christmas tree can also be found joining in on the fun.
There’s even the chance to do a bit of ice-skating if you’re feeling energetic, with the rink open until late so you can enjoy glistening over the ice by darkness if you like.
Koreatown represents something a little different if you’re in the market for a Christmas lights display of a different kind. Rather than concentrate on traditional, Christian-focused Christmas imagery – such as reindeer and Santa Claus – the focus is instead on Korean mythology. There’s a massive reproduction of Baekho, a tiger that represents prosperity in Korean folklore.
He weighs almost 1400 pounds and occupies the area near to the district’s subway station. There are more than twenty thousand LED lights that make up the bulk of Baekho’s body, so the entire thing is a real treat for the eyes, and well worth your time if you’re looking to try something new.
THE BLOOR-YORKVILLE NEIGHBOURHOOD
Known for being an area within the city that fosters a strong sense of community – as well as showcasing the very best that multicultural Canada has to offer in terms of diversity – Bloor-Yorkville is a must-see for every Christmas lights display enthusiast. As well as thousands upon thousands of lights, visitors will also be able to take in a wide range of cheerful decorations, including standalone figurines as well as ornaments that take part in a larger collection.
The Christmas tree here is no slouch either, and if you can make it down in time for the official lights-on ceremony, you’ll be able to take advantage of live music and a host of different festive beverages.
THE FINANCIAL DISTRICT
You might be surprised to find such a serious area as Toronto’s main financial district in a list of the best Christmas lights displays, but it’s true. Even though it’s perhaps the most business-like part of the entire city, those guys really know how to let loose when it comes to a seasonal celebration. Expect staggering amounts of lights, enormous ornamental wreaths, delicate, crystalline fixtures at the atrium, and more. The highlight of the entire show is undoubtedly the TD Centre, with those famous Christmas trees arranged in the classic spiral pattern that has become so beloved of photographers in recent years.
No matter where you wind up spending your Christmas nights, make sure to reserve a few days in the calendar to view some of the exhilarating displays above. Every bit as suitable for families as they are for groups of friends, these large-scale displays are a great opportunity to bond with your fellow Torontonians. And after all, isn’t coming together and sharing what we have what Christmas is all about?