Since Carol and I retired and moved to Kingston in 2006 we have wanted to visit Upper Canada Village to see the annual Alight at Night Festival.  Unfortunately something always seemed to crop up and we were unable to make the trip . . . until this year!


Our summer trip to this wonderful working museum whetted our appetites for more!  Then we travelled back in October to see the inaugural presentation of Pumpkinferno and enjoyed it thoroughly so we knew we had to make an extra effort to visit during the Christmas holiday season.


We made the 90 mile trek on January 2nd and it was well worth it.  What a wonderful experience!


Here is some information I "borrowed" from the official St. Lawrence Parks Commission web site.

Upper Canada Village’s winter light festival ‘Alight at Night’ is not just one of Ontario’s premiere events, it is a holiday favourite with families.  As it enters its final two weeks, if you haven’t already visited, now is the time to make plans to feast your eyes on almost a million lights.  The festival is a great place to start your holiday celebrations with family and friends, create memories, be active or start a new tradition.

‘Everything old is new again’  - Carolling at Christ Church  - Make special memories doing quaint activities like singing Christmas Carols in Christ Church.  Sing-a-long or grab the mic yourself and lead the gathering singing your favourite carol.  It creates a wonderful warm ambience of community spirit.  Then hop on one of the horse drawn wagons and take a tour around the Village.  You will literally ‘jingle all the way’ to the sound of the bells on the horses’ bridles!

How much turkey? Almost 4,000 pounds! During the Alight at Night festival, B & A Foods roast over 150 25 lb. turkeys to serve up in delicious turkey dinners at Willard’s Hotel and the Harvest Barn restaurants.  While other menu options are available, turkey dinners are by far the favoured dinner request.  Reservations are recommended for Willard’s Hotel and can be made by calling B & A Foods at 613-543-0660.  Turkey dinners will be served right through New Year’s until January 5. 

Got a sweet tooth?  Nothing will satisfy your craving for a tasty treat like one of the Village Bakery’s homemade cinnamon rolls.  The Village bakers make the dough from scratch with Village ground flour.  They add brown sugar, cinnamon and then bake them to golden perfection in the Village bakery’s wood-fired brick oven.  They are absolutely scrumptious!  The cinnamon rolls can be purchased at The Village Store Pantry, Cook’s Tavern and The Kettle Corner.

Alight at Night is closed Christmas Eve, December 24 and Christmas Day, December 25 and then operates nightly December 26 through January 5.  Advance ticket purchase is recommended.  Visit the website for tickets.  For more information call the Customer Service Unit at 800-437-2233 or 613-543-4328 (locally).

The lights are amazing!


Before you enter the park they begin to dazzle you.  The antique train and railroad station just west of the park entrance are festooned with lights and the snow-covered cannon at the entrance twinkles with blue lights.


A lighthouse flashes and glows to welcome you at the main entrance,

Inside the park it is just breathtaking.  Soft holiday music plays in the background to create a festive mood.


Every one of the historical old buildings is decorated for the season.  Fences and trees are draped with LED bulbs and coloured floodlights provide delightful highlights.  We were captivated by the church, it changed from pink to yellow and blue while we watched!  WOW!

Every half hour the lights on and around Crysler Hall come alive in a magical sound and light show.  Everything flashes and shimmers in time with the music.


There is holiday magic in the air!

Inside Crysler Hall several rooms are set up with some very familiar holiday scenes, Marley's ghost visits Ebenezer Scrooge, a family enjoys Christmas dinner, Santa Claus supervises an elf in his workshop and carollers sing in front of a beautiful stained glass window.

What a wonderful evening!  Fresh snow covered everything in sight and icicles hung from the eaves!


It was a cold night, minus 17C - the snow crunched underfoot as we carried on around the park soaking in the sights.

Before long we were chilled to the bone so we stopped at Willard's Hotel for dinner.  Since we had already enjoyed two turkey dinners in the previous week I opted for a steaming bowl of soup and some tasty beef stew.  It soon had me warmed up again.  Carol enjoyed the baked ham dinner, she stated that it was the best ham she had ever eaten.


We carried on around the village, past the cheese factory, the school house and the other historic properties.  As we walked we heard voices singing Christmas carols; in the distance we could see a group in front of the church putting on a performance for the assembled guests.

What a treat to see authentic log cabins ablaze with festive lights!


There is just too much to see and do; we could not see it all in one evening.  We didn't visit the farm or take a horse drawn wagon ride.  We were sorry that we were away across the park when the singers performed at the church.


We will definitely be returning next year.  In fact, it may become a Christmas tradition for us - like it has for many families.


If you are looking for a wholesome family activity I strongly recommend Alight at Night - you are sure to enjoy it as much as we did.


One bit of advice - if you plan to go be sure to go online and buy your tickets in advance  here:    The ticket line can be quite long at times!