Shine Bright: Christmas Lights Across Canada

We're very excited to welcome back our favourite holiday sponsors and the 33rd edition of the Christmas Lights Across Canada program, presented by the Government of Canada in partnership with Manulife.

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The official Illumination Ceremony will take place on Thursday December 7th at 7 p.m. on Parliament Hill. I will be there with the whole family, and we'd love for you to join us. This is part of the Canada 150 closing celebrations on Parliament Hill, and you can take in the sights and sounds of the magical winter lightscapes multimedia show. The show is followed by a beautiful display of fireworks. The gentle "pop, pop" noises of the pyrotechnics against the (maybe?) snowy backdrop is a highlight for my two girls!

We know it's a busy time of year, so if you can't make it, you can join in LIVE on Facebook. The evening's festivities will broadcast from the Capital Experience Facebook Page

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What IS a magical winter lightscapes multimedia show?

I had no idea what to when I first attended two years ago - I was thinking something along the lines of the summer multimedia show that plays on Centre block each year. But this show is a bit more engaging for the entire family, from young to old! The fairy tale story follows the exciting journey of Grizzli, Fox and Snowman through imaginary landscapes on their quest for light. The show is inspired by Canada’s nature, climate and culture, and there is so much to take in! And for extra effect this year, the show will use the entire building.

When can I see the show?

The official Illumination Ceremony takes place December 7th. There will be free Beaver Tails pastries and hot chocolate. And some live musical performances from Jess Moskaluke and Céleste Lévis.

A warning: do NOT promise your kids a Beaver Tail. I made this mistake one year, and when we arrived at 7 p.m., the lineup was about 500 people long (and then they ran out.) If you're hoping for a sweet treat, you'd be best to arrive as early as possible. Or follow our lead, and pack hot chocolate in a thermos and stop off for some Timbits on the way!

If you miss the opening night, the magical winterscapes multimedia show runs every evening until January 7th (presented on loop from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.)

And as a FIRST, you can also check out the new outdoor rink at Parliament!

Tips for Going

We drove downtown last year, because it's a long bus ride and we knew the kids would be tired. We had to park about 2km away from the Hill, as there were A LOT of people. Things should quiet down a bit after the Illumination Ceremony, and street parking is free in the evenings.

Make sure kids are bundled up really well - it's surprising how fast you get chilly standing around. You may want to consider a stroller if you have a long trek from the car, although it may be a bit muddy (I'm not sure about this weather this year!!) Prepare your kids for the crowds, or consider attending another night if your child has sensitivities to a lot of people/noise/lights.

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Anything else I should know?

In addition to the show, don't forget all the lights! Go for a walk in Confederation Park to see thousands of holiday lights on display. 

Did you see the Christmas Lights Across Canada last year? Will we see you there on Thursday?