40 Years of Largest, Longest Free Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls

The Winter Festival of Lights wrapped up its 101-night, 40th anniversary edition on Monday, with officials hailing another successful season for the ever-evolving event. Janice Thomson, President of Niagara Falls Tourism which presents the festival, commented that “people enjoyed it” and that extending it to Family Day weekend was a great idea.

Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls, Canada
Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls, Canada

The largest and longest-running free outdoor lights festival in Canada ran from Nov. 12 to Feb. 20 and featured traditional decorations such as garlands, wreaths and lights as well as unique gifting ideas like personalized ornaments and stockings. Outdoor decorations included snowman figures and reindeer sculptures, plus giftware such as mugs, coasters, Christmas cards and wrapping paper.

Visitors could drive along the route which included several themed illumination areas or walk along it while enjoying activities such as live entertainment at hotels, family-friendly activities and a Hot Chocolate Trail to warm up with a hot beverage while exploring. The festival proved popular with locals and tourists alike thanks to its mix of old favorites alongside new features each year.

Halfway through the season some of the Christmas-themed holiday light displays were replaced by more seasonal displays in order to keep things fresh for attendees. This season saw three weather day closures plus no Christmas day whereas 2021 only saw one weather day and no Christmas day.

According to David Adames, CEO of Niagara Parks mid January vehicle counts through Dufferin Islands were down about 21 per cent due to weather related closures however traffic during Family Day weekend was “still very strong”. Officials stopped taking donations and tabulating vehicle counts in mid January but according to observation numbers seemed to bounce back from late January weather events.

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Where is Niagara Falls in Canada?

Niagara Falls, Canada is one of the most stunning natural wonders in the world. Located on the border between Ontario and New York, it is made up of three waterfalls—the Horseshoe Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and American Falls—which plunge over the Niagara Gorge. More than 28 million visitors come to experience its beauty every year, making it one of the country’s top tourist destinations. Niagara Falls offers a variety of activities including boat tours to get closer to the falls, casinos for night-time entertainment, shopping outlets for those looking for a souvenir or two, and plenty of restaurants serving local specialties. Whether you’re looking to take in some culture at a museum or gallery or just want to relax by the riverbank and take in breathtaking views of the falls, Niagara Falls has something for everyone!

What is the Winter Festival of Lights?

The Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights is a beloved winter tradition in the area. Taking place each year from late November to early January, the festival is an unmissable sensory experience celebrating the beauty and energy of one of Canada’s most iconic sights. Nearly two million LED lights light up the falls and gardens to create stunning displays, while concerts and activities take place all over town. Locals and tourists alike come together to marvel at live entertainment, fireworks shows and more during this special time of year. This winter event has been providing visitors with unique experiences since 1981, making it one of Canada’s longest-running festivals!

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Rita Denon
Rita Denon
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