Ottawa Holiday Events Guide 2019

As we’re nearing the end of the year, many of us are hoping to soak up the final weeks of the holiday season. This year, Ottawa seems to be exploding with festive activities. Here is a list of the ones still ongoing and what we thought about each of them.

Alight at Night

Where: Upper Canada Village

When: 5-9 PM on most nights, except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Cost: $16 for Adults; $10 for Military; $12 for Youth 5-12 years old; free for children 4 and under

It is a bit of a drive from Ottawa (~1 hour) but it was nice to get away with a bunch of friends to explore this beautiful heritage village with its buildings, trees and fences all decorated in lights. We were sad to have missed their Halloween event (Pumpkinferno) and was very excited to make it out this time. There was plenty to do (train ride, carousel rides (kids only), horse-drawn wagon rides or romantic carriage rides (everything but the carriage ride was included in the admission price). If you’re not a fan of rides, you can meet Santa Claus (only on some evenings) or sing some carols at Christ Church. There are various restaurants on site but we decided to just grab a Beavertail and French Vanilla. It was perfect. It is a large site and it was snow-covered when we visited, so dress warmly!

Alight at Night

Magic of Light 

Where: Wesley Clover Park

When: Till January 4, 2020, 5-10 PM nightly

Cost: $20.00 for a standard vehicle (3 rows of seats or less)

If you don’t like the cold, this is perfect as you can enjoy Christmas lights in the comfort of your own vehicle. We’ve been to this display a couple of times in the past and soon realized that it really isn’t worth going repeatedly. Weekends are very busy and it could be bumper to bumper traffic which makes it less enjoyable, so try to go during the week of possible.

Magic of Light 

Christmas Glow

Where: EY Centre

When: Till January 4, daily except Christmas Day

Cost: Adult $19.99/22.99, children and senior $14.99/16.99, family tickets (2 adults and 3 children) for $65.99/74.99. Prices listed as weekday vs. weekend and holidays. Prices are not inclusive of service charges and taxes. They have ongoing sales where you can get 20% off your tickets on some nights. Parking also not included ($8).

Apparently this is an international event which started in Vancouver. For those with kids, this may be a good place to bring them as there are many activities and food catered for kids. For those who want to look good, this is THE place to get those gorgeous instagram photos as the lighting here is amazing, especially in the section with the hanging lights. There is some live entertainment as well. They mentioned there was a “Christmas market” but don’t expect too much as there was less than a handful of vendors. They made the displays interactive by having you collect stamps in your passport from the various countries the displays are supposed to represent. You get to collect a “prize” at the end but again don’t get your expectations up. We were pretty disappointed. Overall, we felt like the value for the highly price tickets for this was not there. Perhaps if you had kids or if you really want to get amazing shots for the ‘gram, this would be more worth it. I don’t know why you would get a season pass but you can for the hefty price of $49.99 for adult and $38.99 for child/senior.

Christmas Glow

Christmas Lights Across Canada

Where: Parliament Centre Block and various downtown locations

When: Till Jan 7, 2020, projected light show from 5:30 to 11 PM nightly 

Cost: Free

I love how there is a light show at Parliament year-round now. Instead of a historical show like their summer time display, this is a cute animation with holiday staples such as Christmas trees snowmen and snowflake. It is only 13 minutes long and played on loop, so show up at anytime during the evening. After watching the show, walk/drive along the “official lighting route” including various landmarks such as the Confederation Park, National War Memorial and the Garden of Provinces.

Christmas Lights Across Canada

Ottawa Christmas Market

Where: Landsdowne Park

When: till Dec. 22, 2019, Friday evenings to Sunday evenings

Cost: Free

I love European-style Christmas Markets and this is Ottawa’s first so I was super excited when I heard about this event. I have, however, been scared away by the long car line-ups along Queen Elizabeth Dr. so we haven’t had the chance to check this out yet. Some of our friends and family went and mentioned it is mostly outdoors so remember to dress warmly. They also felt that more merchandise and food vendors would have been nice.

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