‘Tis the Season for garlands, candy canes, lights, and gift giving. As you think about the perfect gift for your loved ones, remember they aren’t always found wrapped under the tree. According to a survey conducted by Environics Research, nearly half of Canadians prefer to receive an experiential gift over “stuff.” This year, give the gift of a trip to see holiday lights! Take the special people in your life on the road to see some of the most beautiful light displays in the country. Make it even more memorable with an overnight stay to enjoy the magic of the holidays in a new city. To help plan your holiday trip, we’ve highlighted five lights shows and paired them with ideal hotel accommodations from IHG Hotels & Resorts. —Vita Daily
snow magic; toronto, ontario. Presented by Drive Thru Fun Co, Snow Magic is an immersive adventure of lights with tunnels, art projections and fire effects that doubles as an art exhibit! The show features 18 art installations created by Canadian artists. This light show is located at Ontario Place in Toronto—a short drive from many cities within the province. If you’re looking to stay the night, the InterContinental Toronto Centre is a mere 10-minute drive from the Snow Magic show and boasts luxurious suites and fine dining options. If you’re looking for a light show with the perks of big city attractions, Snow Magic is perfect.
vancouver christmas market; vancouver, british columbia. The Vancouver Christmas Market is the jolliest holiday event in Vancouver with family entertainment, colorful décor and vendors lining streets of a German-inspired Christmas village. If you’re bringing the kids, the market hosts a scavenger hunt, carousel, and a towering walk-in Christmas tree with over 36,000 lights. Or, for a romantic night out with your partner, take a stroll down the Lovers’ Lane walkway. Once you’ve had your adventure, drive only 8 minutes and stay over at the Holiday Inn & Suites Vancouver Downtown and enjoy the comfort of top-quality mattresses and high thread count sheets while you rest after a long day of strolling around the market.
illumi; laval, quebec. Did you know the largest light, sound and multimedia show in the world is right here in Canada? Illumi is an outdoor light display of over 25 million LED lights in Laval, Quebec. One of the best parts of this show is that you can experience the magic either on foot or by car, the choice is yours! Knowing that the best time to see this show is after sundown, stay the night in Laval at the Holiday Inn Laval-Montreal—only a six-minute drive away! Take advantage of free Wi-Fi and if you’re bringing the whole family, enjoy the incredible “Kids Eat Free” program (yes, free!) at the hotel.
legacy christmas lights parade; calgary, alberta. For the seventh year running, the Legacy Christmas Lights Parade is back again this winter! Experience the magic of over a million twinkling lights by driving or walking through the streets, parks, and light tunnels of Legacy—all free of charge! If you’re sufficiently bundled up and willing to step out of the car, take a walk to visit the community’s show homes decorated inside and out. Once you’ve had your holiday fun, drive a short 15 minutes north to the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Calgary South-Macleod Trail. Stay the night and enjoy various amenities including an indoor heated swimming pool and waterslide! If you’re heading out in the morning, don’t forget to indulge in the free continental breakfast and grab a few complimentary signature cinnamon rolls for the road.
magic of lights; ottawa, ontario. Wesley Clover Parks Campground is host to Ottawa’s greatest source of holiday cheer—the Magic of Lights show! Experience the stunning two-km route lit up by nearly a million lights in the park, conveniently located in Ottawa’s west end, just between Kanata and Ottawa, making it accessible to visitors. While you’re in town, stay at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Ottawa West-Nepean, conveniently located right off Highway 417. After a restful night, enjoy the free Express Start breakfast before you head back on the road.