Upper Canada Village—Alight at Night
For the 11th year, the historic community, one of Ontario’s best-known and best-loved living history summer attractions, will be open on select days from December 2 to January 7 and awash in more than 500,000 coloured lights including state-of-the-art LED “Wall Washer” lighting, which is new this year, that will highlight the 19th century architecture on many of the historic buildings.
Also new this year is the Outdoor Food Court next to the Village Bakery that will offer fresh cinnamon buns “Spud Sticks” (potato spirals on a stick), chilli, hot chocolate and other tasty treats.
“We’re calling these ‘mitten-friendly foods’ that people will be able to eat easily as they are wandering through the Village,” says Susan LeClair, Manager of Customer Service and Corporate Communications for the St. Lawrence Parks Commission. “The smell of the fresh buns and other goodies from the bakery and store will definitely be an attraction.”
Another allure of the festival is the combining of light and sound with a special presentation of Christmas carols timed to the light show. The show runs each half-hour starting at 5:00 using the newly renovated Chrysler Hall as the show’s backdrop. Inside the Hall, be sure to see the 40 entries from the Gingerbread House decorating contest. “These are not your average gingerbread houses, but real works of art,” Susan says. “People will also be amazed at the artistry of our new stained glass windows.”
Walking around the 60-acre property trying to see the 40 heritage buildings can be tiring, so you can rest by hopping aboard the train, or climbing into a horse-drawn wagon to see the sights. This year, as long as they are available, the train and wagon rides are included in the price of admission: Adults (13 yrs. +) $13; Seniors (65 yrs. +) $10; Youth (6-12 yrs.) $10; Children 5 yrs. and under FREE! Taxes are extra. Tickets can be purchased online, or on site.
Upper Canada Village is located at 13740 County Road 2, Morrisburg Ontario (centrally located about 90 minutes south of Ottawa, east of Kingston, west of Montreal and north of Watertown, NY). From December 2 to 18, the villagers will be welcoming visitors from 4:30 to 9:00 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Beginning Monday, December 19, you can visit daily until Saturday, January 7, with the exception of December 24 and 25.
“The festival has helped turn the Cornwall & Seaway Valley region into an overnight tourist destination in what has traditionally been considered a non-tourism season for this part of Eastern Ontario,” Susan says. “We had 42,000 visitors last year and we’re hoping for even more this year. People can come for the evening, or overnight packages are offered through local hotel partners with links on the festival website.”