This holiday season, discover a selection of popular, family-friendly events and attractions just outside the city. Whether it’s baking gingerbread, Christmas tree lighting, carol singing or taking a ride on a Christmas caboose, celebrate the wonder of the Ottawa Valley in all its splendour, colour and magic.
ALL IS BRIGHT: CHRISTMAS LIGHT DISPLAYS
Celebration of Lights
November 26 - December 31, Smith Falls
Marvel at the magical lights in Victoria Park as you stroll along the Rideau Canal during this month-long event. Enjoy free wagon rides, popcorn, cookies and hot chocolate, and even a visit from Santa. Info: www.smithfalls.ca.
Festival of Lights
December 2, 6 pm, Perth
Presented by the Downtown Heritage Perth BIA, the fun begins with music, food to warm your belly, and a roaring bonfire beside the Crystal Palace, followed by fireworks and a spectacular display of uniquely decorated Christmas trees. Info: www.downtownperthbia.ca.
Light Up The Night
December 2, 7 pm, Almonte
Join an audience of thousands under the stars for one of Canada’s largest outdoor Christmas shows, featuring Wayne Rostad and friends. Festivities begin at 7 pm, and end with the Light Up ceremony and a merry fireworks display above the Mississippi River Falls. Info: www.lightupthenightalmonte.com.
OLD-TIME MAGIC: CHRISTMASES PAST
Christmas in the Village
December 11, 2 pm – 7 pm, Petawawa
Share in this enchanting annual event with the whole family at the Petawawa Heritage Village and experience traditional life in early Canada. Visit with Santa and his sleigh in the stable, pop by the Leder Haus to make gingerbread, enjoy roasting marshmallows over a campfire at the Trapper Cabin, and sing along with carollers. Info: www.petawawaheritagevillage.com.
North Pole Express
December 3, 1 pm - 5 pm, Smith Falls
All aboard at the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario! Hop on a Christmas caboose for a ride along snowy tracks and meet characters from the North Pole, then come inside and warm up with some of Mrs. Claus’ famous hot chocolate. Santa will roll into the station by train for photos and tasty treats. Info: www.rmeo.org.
Puppets Up! “A Christmas Carol”
December 16 & 17, 7:30 pm, Almonte
With their apologies to Charles Dickens, Puppets Up brings to life a very special puppet production, based on the classical Christmas tale at the Almonte Old Town Hall. All the characters from this beloved story will be cast from the many look-alike caricature puppets that puppet artist, Noreen Young, has made of local residents in the area. Recommended for ages 16 and over. Info: www.puppetsup.ca.
O CHRISTMAS TREE: CELEBRATE OUTSIDE
Cedar Hill Tree Farm
November 12 - December 24, Pakenham
Each year, families make the trip to Pakenham in search of the perfect Christmas tree. Tractor and wagon rides will take you to the field to cut the tree of your choice, and when you return to the post and beam shop, you’re invited to take pictures, enjoy the sledding hill, cozy up by the stone fireplace, or have lunch at the Claus Cafe. Info: www.cedarhillchristmastreefarm.com.
Kintail Country Christmas
Saturday, December 10, 11 am – 3 pm, Mill of Kintail Conservation Area
Bundle up for a day outside and create extra-special memories as you explore just some of the 154 acres that surround the historic Mill of Kintail. Enjoy wagon rides, a nature-focused scavenger hunt, holiday music, crafts, photos with Santa and stories by the fire. Plus, kids can explore the Children-only gift shop run by the North Lanark Regional Museum, where they can buy for mom or dad without breaking the piggy bank. Info: www.mvc.on.ca.
HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS: CHRISTMAS PARADES
Children of all ages will delight in the array of dazzling floats and marching bands that travel along the main streets of the Ottawa Valley. Here are just some of the holiday parades to consider where you just might catch a glimpse of the jolly ‘ol man himself!
Carleton Place – Candy Land Christmas Parade Saturday, November 26
Perth – Perth and District Children’s Santa Claus Parade of Lights, December 3
Pakenham – Santa Claus Parade and Celebration December 3
Almonte – Santa Claus Parade Night, December 4
Lanark –Lanark Village Santa Claus Parade, December 10