The Best Christmas Towns in the GTA, Hamilton and Halton

‘Tis the season for twinkling holiday lights, snowy strolls, outdoor ice skating and Christmas markets galore. Something is just magical about this month. We know some neighbouring cities that go all out with their love for Christmas and the holidays, so if you’re looking for a great day trip with lots to offer, might we suggest these Christmas Towns in southern Ontario get added to your calendar?

In order from East to West-ish…

Toronto

The big city is just that because it does everything on a massive scale, and Christmas is no different. You can make a day or weekend of a trip into Toronto this December because there is so much to see and do.

Christmas at The Castle – Casa Loma – Throughout the interior, resplendent with festive décor including a 40ft tall tree in the Great Hall, and a stunning collection of other signature holiday trees decorated by renowned Canadian designers. Younger guests will thrill to visit Santa in his castle workshop and visit with live holiday mascots, and more.

Canadian Tire Christmas Tree Trail – Black Creek Pioneer Village – Take a 1.5 km drive-through through thousands of twinkling lights, fun and interactive displays and live entertainment. Tickets are released in blocks every Monday and tend to sell out. $25 per car for this 30-minute driving experience.

The Distillery Winter Village – Distillery District – The oh-so-popular Toronto Christmas Market is not happening for 2021, but the Distillery District still has festive fun and shopping for you with their Winter Village. You’ll also see tons of photo backdrops, Santa will be roaming the grounds, and spirits will be bright.

Play Crokicurl with Your Pals – stackt market – Holiday Hills will also mark the return of Crokicurl, a hybrid game of crokinole and curling played on a massive outdoor rink, as well as stackt’s first-ever rooftop patio, GoldInn.

Have a Festive Drink – various locations – Check out a Christmas-themed bar while you’re in the 6ix. You can choose from The Thirsty Elf, Project Gigglewater, and Miracle.

Mississauga Christmas Events

Light Up The Square – Celebration Square – daily – This winter, Mississauga’s Celebration Square is filled with dazzling lights, artful experiences, delicious food, skating, and tons of fun! In addition to the interactive art displays, there is also a dazzling 40’ lighted Christmas tree – the perfect backdrop for some holiday photos.

Christmas in the Village – Streetsville – November 27-28 only – both days offer free family activities such as interactive ice activities, Learn To Curl, kids crafts, live music, an artisan market from 10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Of course, there will also be a visit from Jolly Old Saint Nick.

Mississauga Festival of Trees – The festival celebrates the joy of the winter season, showcasing displays of seasonal lights, contemporary tree and woodpile art installations, artisan and culinary markets, entertainment and public workshops, at the beautiful, historic venue of the Small Arms Inspection Building. December 9th-19th, 2021.

Lights and Ice Winterfest – free! – From December 3rd to December 12th, Port Credit Memorial Park will be transformed into a winter wonderland, full of spectacular ice sculptures and lights. On the weekends you will have the chance to see the ice sculptures live in action. Perfect for your holiday photos and creating those Instagrammable moments!

Oakville Christmas Activities

Shop Downtown Oakville – Historical buildings and shops form a magical backdrop for trendy boutique shops and international cuisine. Take in charming store windows and a winter wonderland of lights, including a signature 30ft tall ribbon tree.

Kerr Village Tree Lighting Ceremony – Kerr Village BIA has been hosting their Christmas Tree Lighting for 27 years – It has continued to expand and grow. Saturday afternoon will feature a visit by Santa, Mrs. Claus, the elves, and carious characters, Christmas music and the tree lighting ceremony at 4:30 p.m.

Burlington Christmas Events

Festival of Lights– Folks come from all over to see the massive light display at Spencer Smith Park. This event is a staple that puts Burlington on the map as a Christmas Town. Lit from November 27 through early January, walk and enjoy the glow. Don’t forget your camera!

BPAC’s Festival of Trees – most days from noon till 4 pm, and before evening performances you can see the beautifully decorated trees in the lobby of Burlington’s Performing Arts Centre. This wonderful fundraising opportunity for the BPAC brings together local businesses and the community for some holiday glory.

Ice Skate Outdoors – Rotary Centennial Pond at Spencer Smith Park is a free ice-skating rink all winter long and makes for a great afternoon of fun for the whole family.

Frosty’s Village – Pack a hot chocolate and take a drive through the Lockhart Village community and see over 100 inflatable Frosty The Snowmen adorning front lawns. Bring donations for the food bank and our Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt.

Rudolph in Aldershot – See how many inflatable Rudolph’s you can find in Aldershot using their map.

Hamilton Christmas Events

Visit Westfield Heritage Village – Take a jump back in time and stroll the grounds of Westfield’s historic buildings. They’re decorated for the holidays and there is a Christmas tree scavenge hunt for kids, plus some great photo ops.

Ice Skate The Loop – Waterdown Memorial Park – Tie up your skates and glide along the outdoor ice skating loop in Waterdown. no reservations are required for 2021!

Ice Skate at The Waterfront – Pier 8 turns from the roller rink to the ice rink each year and the community loves it! Free to skate on, with rentals available.

Niagara Falls – definitely a christmas town!

The Falls knows tourism and they are amazing at putting on a show, so I knew they would deliver as a Christmas Town.

Winter Festival of Lights – Enjoy 101 days of beautiful lights! Illuminations include more than 50 larger-than-life displays with Canadian wildlife displays, trees wrapped in lights along the Niagara Parkway, the light show on the Toronto Power Generating Station, the two-storey tall Zimmerman Fountain, a Gingerbread house, light tunnel, and more!

The Poinsettia Show – commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Floral Showhouse with a design inspired by the all-new Niagara Parks Power Station. Celebrate the holiday season with Niagara’s iconic holiday show inside the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse.

See the Falls Light Up – Every evening beginning at dusk, Niagara Falls is transformed into an incredible, multi-coloured masterpiece.

Niagara Falls Christmas Market – The outdoor Christmas Market will feature up to 50 different vendors from November 13th until the 19th of December. Vendors will operate out of Christmas cabins that will be lit up and decorated on the street. The Christmas Market will include over 30 light structures, interactive art displays, nightly live music, string lights, glow swings, 4 light-up seesaws, human-scale interactive piano, fire pits with Muskoka chairs, Christmas movies, street entertainment, and more!

Do you take a short road trip to check out neighbouring Christmas Towns this time of year? Tell us about your favourite in the comments!

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