2023-11-01T15:54:45-04:00Nov 1, 2023|

Popular holiday markets and winter festivals in Canada

The holiday season is a time to spend with friends and family, enjoy winter activities, and relish good food. Winter festivals and Christmas/winter markets are a popular attraction in Canada during the holidays. Most markets open in November and run through December, providing a huge window for you and your family to plan a visit. 

Unlike shopping at a mall, Christmas markets are famous for offering a more intimate and curated shopping experience. Many of the products sold are Canadian-made, often by local businesses and makers. Along with shopping and marvelling at the decor, you can get in the holiday spirit by trying some Christmas treats, food and drinks abundantly available at the markets. 

Read A newcomer’s guide to the holiday season in Canada to familiarize yourself with popular holiday traditions and to get tips on how to make the most of the holidays.

In this article, we will share a curated list of popular winter markets by province so you can make the most of the holiday season and experience this magical time with your loved ones.

Popular Christmas markets and winter festivals in Canada


Market/Festival Name Location Highlights
Banff Christmas Market 100 Sundance Rd., Banff An outdoor Christmas market with food, drinks, and Santa!
Calgary ZooLights 210 St. George’s Dr. NE, Calgary Many magical-looking lights and art installations.
Lions Festival of Lights Confederation Park, Calgary A drive-through experience with 500,000 twinkling lights.
Winter Lights Festival Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden A spectacular oasis of lights.

British Columbia

Market/Festival Name Location Highlights
Vancouver Christmas Market Jack Poole Plaza, 1055 Canada Pl, Vancouver Also known as the German Christmas Market. It has a village setup with 80+ huts. You can enjoy live performances, shopping, music, food, and drinks, and watch the Christmas lights.
Christmas at Canada Place Canada Place – 999 Canada Pl, Vancouver Experience the nostalgia of Woodward’s Windows, glowing lights, and the Avenue of Trees.
VanDusen Christmas Festival of Lights Vandusen Gardens – 5251 Oak St, Vancouver A botanical garden that features more than a million lights.
Capilano Canyon Lights Capilano Bridge – 3735 Capilano Rd The North Vancouver Park transforms into a festive sight full of pretty lights and some of the world’s tallest Christmas trees.
Hycroft for the Holidays Hycroft Manor This is Vancouver’s longest running Christmas market and has been a long time holiday tradition. You can shop and tour the historic Edwardian Hycroft mansion, which is usually closed to the public.


Market/Festival Name Location Highlights
Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade Begins at Portage Ave. & Young St. Also called Manitoba Hydro Santa Claus Parade. One of the most treasured holiday traditions in Winnipeg. It is also the second largest parade in Canada and the largest nighttime parade in the country.
The Annual Christkindlmarkt Ft Garry Place Mall Also known as the German Christmas Market, it is the oldest running German Christmas Market in Canada. Here, you can find German chocolates, Stolln, Gluehwein (mulled wine) and many other German specialties.
Canad Inns Winter Wonderland Red River Exhibition Park Drive through a million lights that make up 26 different themed areas.

New Brunswick

Market/Festival Name Location Highlights
Wild Lights at the Magnetic Hill Zoo 125 Magic Mountain Rd, Moncton An annual fundraiser that transforms the zoo into a sparkling wonderland.
Fredericton’s Frostival Multiple location, all across the city Atlantic Canada’s largest winter celebration. It hosts 150+ events with everything from a music festival to an outdoor wonderland to culinary and craft experiences and more.
Various Santa Parades Multiple locations across the province. Get in the festive mood by watching Santa greet the spectators. Watch a variety of floats and decked up characters.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Market/Festival Name Location Highlights
Festival of Lights Bay Roberts Includes the largest Nativity scene east of Montreal, the province’s first intelligent light park, fireworks, concerts and two parades – one during the day and another at night.
Downtown St. John’s Christmas Parade Downtown St. John’s The largest parade in the province. Get in the holiday spirit by watching Santa and a variety of floats.

Northwest Territories

Market/Festival Name Location Highlights
Santa Claus Parade 53 Street, Franklin Avenue and 49 Street, Yellowknife Watch various decked up floats and meet Santa.

Nova Scotia

Market/Festival Name Location Highlights
Victorian Christmas at the Citadel Halifax Citadel National Historic Site Watch costumed staff and learn about what the holidays were like for a Victorian army garrison. Meet Father Christmas and enjoy making Victorian Christmas crafts and dressing up in costumes at the Victorian photo booth.
Halifax Glow Gardens 200 Prospect Road, Goodwood An indoor winter festival covering almost 90,000 square feet with around a million lights.
Father Christmas Festival Mahone Bay The Winter Gardens Christmas Fantasy display is a spectacle to behold.


Market/Festival Name Location Highlights
Cavalcade of Lights Nathan Phillips Square, downtown Toronto Illumination of Toronto’s famous Christmas Tree in Nathan Phillips Square. Features performances by some of Canada’s top musical talent, a fireworks show and an outdoor skating party.
Distillery Winter Village Distillery District Set in the Distillery Historic District, the Market hosts local craftspeople, artisanal food-makers and spectacular light displays for a truly festive experience.
Ottawa Christmas Market Casino Lac-Leamy Plaza at Lansdowne Explore traditional vendors with hundreds of unique gift ideas or feast on delightful treats and season drinks.
Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights Clifton Hill, Niagara Canada’s foremost illumination festival that turns Niagara Falls into a winter wonderland, with over three million sparkling lights along a 8+ km route, grand holiday displays throughout the city, and unique Niagara Falls events.

Prince Edward Island

Market/Festival Name Location Highlights
The Charlottetown Christmas Festival All over the city In addition to the festival’s signature event – the Victorian Christmas Market, there will be tons of festive programs like wine tastings, retail trails, historic walking tours, carolers, cooking workshops, ice sculptures, Christmas movies, gingerbread house-making competitions, live music and children’s entertainment.
Christmas Craft Fair Port Charlottetown, 1 Weymouth Street, Charlottetown The only juried craft show on the Island with over 40 vendors.


Market/Festival Name Location Highlights
German Christmas Market Five sites in Old Québec Binge on delicious traditional products like mulled wine, gingerbread, and grilled sausages, as well as decorative items made for the Holiday Season.
Toboggan, New Year’s Eve Québec City A three‑day party culminating in spectacular fireworks, performances by folk bands, and sets by well‑known DJs.
Christmas Market at Le Grand Marché 250, boulevard Wilfrid-Hamel Québec City The perfect place to pick up local goodies for your holiday table. Sign up for a cooking workshop and learn how to prepare traditional dishes. Listen to Christmas stories, watch the folk dancers, or hear carols sung by a local choir.


Market/Festival Name Location Highlights
Saskatoon Santa Claus Parade Central Business District, Saskatoon A festive parade with many floats and Santa greeting the spectators.
BHP Enchanted Forest Forestry Farm Park and Zoo One of the longest-running and best Christmas light shows in Canada.
Light Up the Village Western Development Museum Catch the spirit of the season as the Heritage Village lights up for the holidays.
Christkindl Markt German Club, 1727 St John St, Regina Experience the German Christmas Market with sizzling sausages, sweet pastries, spices and hot spiced gluhwein.
Glow Gardens Saskatoon 503 Ruth St W, Saskatoon Enjoy all the magic and splendour of an outdoor festival hosted entirely indoors in a cozy and spacious venue.


Market/Festival Name Location Highlights
12 Days of Christmas Fireweed Community Market Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre 1171 First Avenue, Whitehorse A local indoor marketplace offering Yukon hand crafted and grown products from over 100 local vendors.

Many local communities often host their own smaller-scale holiday markets in community centres and church halls. Check local fliers and online groups to find one in your community.