Although Mother Nature has graced Ottawa with an unseasonably warm December, there are still many ways to get in the holiday spirit in the capital. From live performances, to Christmas villages, light shows and craft sales; there are a multitude of activities for people of all ages to enjoy. Ensure your spot on Santa’s nice list by embracing the spirit of the season. Here are some suggestions:
Stanley’s Christmas Village
For anyone who thinks Elf is the greatest Christmas movie going, Stanley’s Christmas Village is the place for you. Every holiday season Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm is transformed into an elf village that oversees the sorting of mail, production of toys and chimney tracking in the Ottawa area.
Kids (and adults!) can see where lumps of coal are made, or visit the wrapping warehouse. The park is open weekends through to December 20th by reservations only. Click here to save your spot!
Warm beverages are synonymous with the holidays and what better way to get in the spirit of the season than by taking in a Christmas-themed high tea at Billings Estate National Historic Site. A cup of tea will hit the spot while carolers dressed in Victorian garb will transport you to a time when Ebenezer Scrooge strolled the streets. Tea is served Friday, Saturday and Sunday (until Dec. 20) from 3 pm to 8 pm.
Reservations can be made here
Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park & Tree Farm
Trimming the tree is an important part of many families’ holiday traditions. But, selecting the perfect pine can be just as much fun. If you’re looking for the real deal, check out Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park & Tree Farm . Harvest your own fresh tree, pet the reindeer, enjoy a sleigh ride, cozy up with free hot chocolate or even visit Claus’ Country Cabin at Ho Ho Lake! It’s the best place to experience some Christmas magic this side of the North Pole.
The park is open through to December 24th, Mon-Fri: 1 pm – 10 pm, Sat-Sun: 9 am –10 pm.
Alight at Night
Upper Canada Village’s premier event of the year is a worthy reason to take a drive outside the city. Take advantage of warmer-than-usual temperatures by strolling through the display of close to one million lights. Heritage buildings, trees and fences spring to life on your way to Saint Nick’s Merry Mansion to meet the big man in red. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that comes ‘round but once a year! For this spectacular display, visit Alight at Night from 5-9 pm from Dec 17 – Dec 24th, or Dec. 26 – Jan. 2.
For all you romantics out there, a horse-drawn carriage ride through Ottawa’s downtown could be the perfect early Christmas gift for your sweetheart. Snuggle up under a warm blanket and take in some of the city’s sights while buskers croon carols as you cruise around the Byward market. You can find the carriages parked at various points within the market for the spontaneous, or for
click here to make a reservation.
Any one who lives in the east end of Ottawa knows there’s one thing you must do during the holiday season: visit Taffy Lane
Located just off Orleans Blvd., the namesake’s main drag, residents of Taffy Lane pull out all the stops to give their neighbours a feast for the eyes. Cars crawl down the street every evening taking in beautifully ornamented homes, dazzling with the most elaborate decorations. With the mild weather in tow, it’s a perfect year to stroll the lane on foot, perhaps with a cup of cocoa in hand! Most homes leave their decorations up until New Year’s Day.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra at CTC
There is a whole host of amazing Christmas choir performances planned around the city this year. From small venues, like local churches, to performances on the NAC stage, there’s no shortage of talent to take in around the holidays. One of the main events is that the revered Trans-Siberian Orchestra is playing two concerts entitled “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve”, on Tuesday, Dec. 22 at 4 and 8 p.m. You can bet they will play their famed version of “Carol of the Bells”—a holiday favourite! Tickets are sold here .
Visit the NGC’s magnificent tree
Standing nearly 12 meters tall and six meters wide and adorned with 12,0000 bulbs, the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) is housing a beautiful Christmas tree worthy of a visit and a photo-op. With many holiday activities taking place at the museum during the festive season, you can maximize admission by visiting this holiday landmark. For more information click here
Parliament Hill Light Show
Christmas Lights across Canada has landed at Parliament Hill and our trusted sources say the show is more spectacular than ever. The illuminated Centre Block sparkles every evening from 4:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. and the magical lightscapes multimedia show takes place from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. until January 7. Spectators will see Canada’s parliament become the backdrop for a Canadian fairytale, accompanied by an original soundtrack. This is a wonderful opportunity, for tourists and locals alike, to take in the beauty of Canada while savouring the magic of Christmastime.