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    Come Downtown for the Holidays in London, Ontario

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    • Date November 27, 2023
    • Categories
      Family Fun, Music & Entertainment, Shopping & Retail, Things To Do
  • Something magical is once again coming to downtown London this holiday season! 

    It will be a December to remember in downtown London, with large-scale events including Lighting of the Lights, the Holly Jolly Holiday Market and New Year's Eve in the Park; as well as small-scale activations like musical performances, silent discos and much more taking place throughout the month. The best part? All these events and activities are free to attend!

    Looking for even more holiday fun? Check out Festive Fun: Holiday Events in London, Ontario.

    What's going on in victoria park?

    Lighting of the Lights

    Groups of people walking in decorated Victoria Park with lights and Christmas decorations during the holidays
    Victoria Park • London, Ontario

    The holiday season kicks off with the annual Lighting of the Lights in Victoria Park on Friday, November 24 beginning at 5:30 p.m. The park will transform into a winter wonderland with the countdown to the spectacular illumination of 75,000 coloured lights at 6:50 p.m. There will also be an assortment of food trucks, a 360° photo booth, an array of additional holiday displays and lots of live music featuring holiday carollers and the London Symphonia as well as The Rockin' Reindeer featuring Doug and Bizz Varty!

    Santa's Mailbox will also be on-site for all the children who need to mail their wish list to the North Pole.


    Ice Skating

    People skating at Victoria Park in London, Ontario
    Victoria Park • London, Ontario

    Lace up your skates and enjoy outdoor skating in Victoria Park beginning Friday, December 1 (weather permitting). Skating is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. The Kiwanis Memorial Bandshell concession will be open Monday to Friday from 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. and Saturday to Sunday from noon to 10:00 p.m. Skating should continue through until March 2024 if the weather cooperates with skate rentals and sharpening available on site.

    With the Holly Jolly Holiday Market taking place outside of the Covent Garden Market throughout December, the Rotary Rink at Covent Garden Market will open in early January. 


    City Hall Observation Deck

    A female viewing Victoria Park's lit up trees for the holidays from the City Hall observation deck in London, Ontario
    Victoria Park from the City Hall Observation Deck • London, Ontario

    Take in the scenic views of Victoria Park and the rest of London, Ontario from the City Hall observation deck, which will be open to the public on the following dates and times:

    • Friday, November 24 to Sunday, November 26 from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m.
    • Thursday, November 30 to Sunday, December 3 from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. 
    • Thursday, December 7 to Sunday, December 10 from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m.
    • Thursday, December 14 to Sunday, December 17 from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m.
    • Thursday, December 21 to Sunday, December 24 from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. 
    • Thursday, December 28 to Saturday, December 30 from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m.

    what's going on at the covent garden market?

    Holly Jolly Holiday Market

    Aerial view of Covent Garden Market outdoors with a large decorated tree lit up for the holidays and various outdoor vendors surrounding it, located in London, Ontario
    Covent Garden Market • London, Ontario

    After you experience the lights in Victoria Park, stroll down to the Holly Jolly Holiday Market at Covent Garden Market for an incredible outdoor market that begins November 24. Open every weekend from November 24 to December 17, you can enjoy music and activities for the entire family while shopping for that perfect holiday gift with an assortment of vendors selling art, crafts, clothing and handmade goods. There will be a gift-wrapping station, an LED lounge and swings, light shows and displays, cooking decorating, craft workshops and more.

    At the centre is once again a giant, beautifully decorated Christmas tree where you can capture the perfect holiday selfie. Need to warm up? The Market’s got you covered with fire pits, free hot chocolate and a licensed holiday cocktail garden from Olive R Twists to top it all off! 

    Gift Wrapping Stations

    After completing your holiday shopping downtown, get your gifts wrapped at Covent Garden Market! Gift wrapping stations will be available Fridays through Sundays until December 17. The stations will be open Fridays and Saturdays from 12:00 to 8:00 p.m. and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


    Horse and Carriage Rides

    Family on a horse and carriage ride on Covent Market Lane
    Horse and Carriage Rides • London, Ontario

    Enjoy free horse and carriage rides as you snuggle up on the sleigh and take in the decorations and lights downtown! Join A Universal Carriage for carriage rides from Covent Garden Market at the dates and times listed below. Rides are roughly 10-15 minutes and are offered first-come, first-served. Rides will start and end on the one-way street (Covent Market Place) near Santa’s House.

    • Saturday, November 25 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.
    • Saturday, December 2 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.
    • Saturday, December 9 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.
    • Sunday, December 10 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
    • Saturday, December 16 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.
    • Sunday, December 17 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

    Pictures with Santa

    Ho ho ho, Santa is back! Enjoy a magical visit with Santa and capture your memories with professional keepsake photos.  Santa’s House is open: 

    • Thursday & Friday: 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
    • Saturday & Sunday: 12:00 - 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. 

    Book your photo with Santa here.

    what else is going on downtown?

    Santa Claus Parade

    Santa Claus waves from his sleigh at the London Santa Claus Parade
    Santa Claus Parade • London, Ontario

    Santa Claus is coming to town! On Saturday, November 18 beginning at 6:00 p.m., the official Santa Claus Parade rolls through downtown London with a theme of Christmas Lights Extravaganza! The parade starts at Quebec Street and Queens Ave and will travel west along Queens Ave, turning north onto Waterloo street, south onto Clarence and continuing west on Queens Ave ending at Ridout Street. 

    CPKC Holiday Train

    The CPKC Holiday Train is back this year and ready to "Wish you a Merry Christmas" with your favourite holiday songs! Bundle up and take in the holiday magic with performers Seaforth and Kiesza. The train stops at the Richmond Street railway crossing between Oxford Street and Central Ave on Thursday, November 23 at 8:15 p.m. with the show starting at 8:30 p.m.

    Mistletoe Lane Selfie Spot

    Mom and son at Misetletoe Lane at Spageddy Eddy's in London, Ontario
    Mistletoe Lane at Spageddy Eddy's • London, Ontario

    Once again, Spageddy Eddy’s popular graffiti alley is getting a festive makeover and transforming into Mistletoe Lane with over 200 mistletoes hung among the romantic overhead nighttime lighting. Visit and take photos in the alley on Richmond Street just north of Dundas Street and be sure to pop into the restaurant after to enjoy a hearty spaghetti dinner!

    Candy Cane Lane

    Be amazed as Market Lane transforms into Candy Cane Lane with the help of Magic of Lights. Enjoy a beautiful, festive light display that will serve as the perfect spot for your next selfie this holiday season.

    Holiday Window Display Walk

    Dozens of downtown businesses will be decorating their windows with festive holiday displays. Vote for your favourite displays online by visiting and scanning the QR code in participating businesses’ windows. 


    Magical Carousel

    A festive horse carousel located on Dundas Place near Market Lane outside Fanshawe College in London, Ontario
    Golden Jubilee Square (Budweiser Gardens corner of Talbot and King) • London, Ontario

    Enjoy a free festive carousel ride with your family and friends this holiday season! The carousel will be available from Friday, December 8 to Sunday, December 17 on Golden Jubilee Square just outside Budweiser Gardens (corner of Talbot Street and King Street). This is one memorable experience that you won’t want to miss out on! The carousel will run the following hours: 

    • Friday, December 8 from 12:00 to 9:00 p.m. 
    • Saturday, December 9 from 12:00 to 9:00 p.m. 
    • Sunday, December 10 from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. 
    • Monday, December 11 from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. 
    • Tuesday, December 12 from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. 
    • Wednesday, December 13 from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. 
    • Thursday, December 14 from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. 
    • Friday, December 15 from 12:00 to 9:00 p.m.
    • Saturday, December 16 from 12:00 to 9:00 p.m.
    • Sunday, December 17 from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. 

    Wonder Land at Citi Plaza

    From Thursday, November 30 to Saturday, December 16, Citi Plaza will transform into a Wonder Land with weekly holiday-themed events and interactive experiences, including a silent disco, interactive art installations and live music. All events are open to all ages and there will be pop and water for sale ($2 each, cash preferred). 

    • Opening Party: Thursday, November 30 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
    • Music by Wormwood: Friday December 1 and Saturday, December 2 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
    • Live Art Drawing with Ian Indiano: Saturday nights (December 2, 9 and 16) from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m.
    • Live Music featuring Simple Reflections for Artists: Thursday, December 7 from 7:15 to 9:30 p.m.
    • FRAMES Film Series with Sebastian Di Trolio: Friday, December 8 and Thursday, December 14 from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. (movie screening from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.)
    • Silent Disco: Saturday, December 8 and Saturday, December 16 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
    • Live Music featuring Kevin's Bacon Train and Sunshine Makers: Friday, December 15 from 7:30 to 9:15 p.m.


    Scratch Bakery and Patisserie Trail

    Delve into delicious, made from scratch baked goods with Downtown London's Scratch Bakery and Patisserie Trail! Downtown London is home to many incredible bakeries and this trail may just introduce you to your new favourite spot. Explore their self-guided routes or participate in an expert-guided tour December 2, 9 or 16. Experience downtown in a new and delicious way!

    Holiday Shopping and Dining

    There are so many places to see and explore downtown for your holiday shopping. Have a look at the Downtown London business directory!

    what's going on for new year's eve?

    New Year's Eve in the Park

    A live band playing at the outdoor bandshell in Victoria Park with people skating on the rink in front of it celebrating a new year's eve event in London, Ontario
    Victoria Park • London, Ontario

    As the holiday season winds down at the end of the month, one last celebration is being planned as New Year’s Eve in the Park presented by WSIB returns on Sunday, December 31. Victoria Park will come alive with fireworks, free outdoor skating, live music and entertainment. Visitors can enjoy hot chocolate and take in the holiday lights in Victoria Park to celebrate the New Year.

    The celebration takes place from 7:00 p.m. to midnight, with fireworks at 9:00 p.m. and midnight so that everyone in the family can enjoy!

    With so much to do, it will definitely be a December to remember in downtown London. Make this winter special, and experience everything that London has to offer this holiday season!

    Looking for more information? Visit the Downtown for the Holidays site.

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