• By: Emily Cordonier

The Night’s Alight at Upper Canada Village

decal15Welcome to Day 15 of our
25 Day Ottawa Life
Christmas Calendar

We’ll be updating with a
new treat daily so be sure
to keep checking under the
OLM Tree to see what’s new.
And don’t forget our big Light
Up Your Ottawa Life Contest

Upper Canada Village runs like a well-oiled machine when it comes to celebrating the holidays. At Halloween, their ‘Pumpkinferno’ display delights thousands of visitors each season, and at this time of year, their Christmas celebration ‘Alight the Night’ hits all the right holiday notes.

It’s not a short journey from Ottawa to Upper Canada Village, especially at this time of year when weather conditions are variable. The drive is at least an hour and 15 minutes, and it can seem like longer if you have a few impatient toddlers in the car with you. But, Alight the Night is still well worth the trip.

Nearly one million lights adorn the heritage buildings, trees and fences at Upper Canada Village and it makes for a spectacular sight. Even the biggest Grinch would have to admit there is something magical inside those village gates.


There are so many things to do at Alight the Night, you really can spend hours looking around. A horse drawn wagon ride takes visitors on a picturesque 15-minute tour of the whole village. The wagons have comfortable seating, and there are a number of them working at one time which guarantees you don’t have to wait long for your turn to ride. If you’re looking for a more romantic experience you can book a ride for two on the Pommier carriage.

If you’re not afraid of heights, you may enjoy a birds eye view of the village. One of this year’s biggest draws is the 50-foot-high Ferris wheel set in the fairground. Rides are included with your admission fee and are provided on a first come, first serve basis. Next to the Ferris wheel you can find the ‘Mistletoe Maze’. It’s a snow block-style maze made up of more than 300 giant, white wrapped bales of hay. The 400-foot-long path is a fun place for the kids to run through and burn off some energy.


One of the most festive stops in the village is at the beautiful Christ Church. Inside, a talented singer and her pianist lead visitors in cheerful Christmas carols all night long. It’s a great place to rest your legs, warm up and sing along to Rudolph, Jingle Bells and many other timeless classics.

No visit would be complete without a stop to see Santa Claus. It can safely be said that the St. Nicholas at Upper Canada Village is truly one of, if not the most authentic Santas you’ve ever come across. Kids of all ages can find the Victorian themed Santa holding court at Crysler Hall, which has been renamed ‘St. Nick’s Merry Mansion’. There are professional photographers on hand to take a picture for a fee, or you can just take your own photo free of charge.


All that walking around and merry making is enough to make anyone hungry, and there is no shortage of dining options at Upper Canada Village. The Harvest Barn with their cafeteria style home cooking is the best dining option for families with young kids. For a more formal dining option you can get a three course meal at Willard’s Hotel or you can also hit up Cook’s Tavern for a beer and a bite.

When venturing out to Alight the Night it is imperative that you remember to bundle up. Full snow suits, scarves, hats and gloves are necessary. Upper Canada Village is located on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, so it can feel even more chilly than the thermometer reads.


Alight at Night is open Thursdays through Sunday. It runs from December 2nd until January 7. It will be closed on December 24 and 25. The hours of operation are 5:00pm – 9:00 pm, except for Saturdays when the village is open from 4:00pm – 10:00 pm.

Adult admission is $14 plus tax. Seniors are $12, and children ages 6-12 cost $10. Children age 5 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time online ahead. To buy your tickets and find out more information visit http://www.uppercanadavillage.com/events/alight-at-night/