Enjoy colourful lights, bring your cameras – there’s lots of holiday action happening in Waterloo Region! Check out these 3 festive favourites, and get ready to #ExploreWR!
Christmas at Castle Kilbride: November 19-January 6, 2020
Nestled in the town of Baden, Ontario is Castle Kilbride, the 1877 home of James Livingston – flax industrialist, politician and entrepreneur.
While visitors can tour through this beautifully restored Victorian manor any time of year, the holidays are a special time to visit as the castle is decked out in its festive finest for Christmas at the Castle! From the main hallway and the formal dining room, to the floor to ceiling Christmas tree in the parlour – every room showcases traditional Scottish, German and Victorian holiday décor.
DYK: It’s German tradition for parents to hide a pickle in the Christmas tree! The first child to find the Christmas pickle ornament receives an extra gift
Thursday, November 28th, 2019 enjoy A Merry Victorian Christmas – your only opportunity to see Castle Kilbride at night. Costumed guides tour you through the castle, while live entertainment brings the house to life.
Don’t forget to head up to the castle’s Belvedere Gallery to check out Herner’s Victorian Village – a Charles Dickens’ inspired miniature village featuring more than 130 Christmas-themed buildings and figurines. It’s a step back to a simpler time as you enjoy Christmas at the Castle!
Gift of Lights: November 16 – January 4, 2020
Kitchener is home to Gift of Lights at Bingemans – the only drive through holiday light display in Southwestern Ontario! Leaping reindeer, skiing penguins, festive vignettes – this holiday must-see features over 300 animated and static light displays. A unique highlight of Gift of Lights are the drive through light tunnels – two 200-foot tunnels that are truly awe-inspiring! Add to your holiday experience by tuning into Gift of Lights Radio (100.1 FM) and be entertained by holiday music as you drive through the displays. Everything is enjoyed from the comfort of your own vehicle – making it a perfect holiday adventure for the entire family, even on the coldest night! New this year, Gift of Lights is hosting two “Walk-Only” nights on December 1 and January 4.
As Gift of Lights is located at Bingemans, there are additional options to make it an entire evening of fun, including FunworX Indoor Playground and Boston Pizza Kingpin Bowlounge.
Gift of Lights is open from November 16 to January 4, 2020, including Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. And, as it’s the season of giving, a portion of the proceeds from Gift of Lights will be donated to the Grand River Hospital Foundation.
Christkindl Market: December 5-9, 2019
Each year, thousands of visitors come to Kitchener’s City Hall to take in the festival of German Christmas known as Christkindl Market.
Named a Top 100 Festival & Events in Ontario, this 4-day festival features indoor and outdoor holiday fun that offers a rare and authentic glimpse into timeless European Christmas traditions. Visitors can shop at the outdoor huts, or head inside where an additional 2-floors of artisans await – over 100 vendors in all! Take a horse-drawn carriage ride, watch as blacksmiths hand-forge original objects, enjoy musical entertainment on the outdoor stage (including performers direct from Germany!), and savour a vast array of foods – fresh baked pastries, mulled Glühwein and all of your traditional German favourites.
For the kids, Kinderecke and the Kid’s Workshop provide lots of hands-on fun. Keep an eye out for Knecht Ruprecht (a companion of St. Nicholas) and the Christkind (the traditional gift-giver in many European countries) who may even have a special sweet treat for good girls and boys!
Skate on the outdoor rink, visit the large model railway, take part in the opening night candlelight procession – Christkindl Market is a magical celebration, and admission is always free.