As if the holiday season was not magical enough already… Canada’s Wonderland, just north of Toronto, has totally exceeded all expectations by transforming their theme park into a Winter Wonderland. They have truly outdone themselves with their five million lights, 450 artificial Christmas trees and 15 kilometres of ribbon – just to name a few of the outrageous numbers that make up the total decorations. They’ve even hired 100 entertainers for their live shows and performances.
WinterFest is such a delight and must be seen to be believed and fully appreciated. Sure, there are five million lights; but the beauty lies in how they are incorporated throughout the park.
Even though this is Wonderland’s first annual WinterFest (assuming they will continue this tradition every year), they did not disappoint. They have included almost everything related to the holiday season and have even gone as far as renaming and readapting their most well-known shops, food and drinks, and sections of the park. Every day of WinterFest begins with a tree lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. with appearances by Snoopy and their holiday singers.
One of the most spectacular parts of WinterFest is Snow Flake Lake Ice Skating. 240’ x 80’ in size, ice skating in front of the iconic Wonder Mountain is such a magical experience. Helpful Tip: if you bring your own skates, it’s free! (Otherwise, it’s $10 plus tax per half hour.)
Here is a little bit about WinterFest’s eight world’s that they’ve created (also found in their guide that they hand out at the park):
International Street welcomes you with millions of dazzling lights & lavish displays of holiday grandeur. It’s also home to Snow Flake Lake, one of the area’s most impressive ice-skating experiences.
Season of Lights celebrates the diversity of the holidays with beautiful light displays honouring Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Chinese New Year, and Christmas.
North Pole spotlights Santa’s busy workshop and tasty favourites at North Pole Treats.
Tinsel Town is home to holiday nostalgia! Enjoy festive tunes from The Mistletones and Jingle Jazz in this retro-inspired area, where everything old becomes new once again.
Elf Village is where the mischievous elves work and play. Don’t miss a visit to Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen and some great shows including Tinker’s Toy Factory!
Christmas Market offers one-of-a-kind crafts and gifts handmade by local artisans along with some tasty treats.
Candy Cane Lane is a delightful walk on the sweet side with larger-than-life décor that’s perfect for a family photo.
Charlie Brown’s Christmas Town feature extra-special activities and shows with everyone’s favourite beagle and the whole Peanuts Gang!
WinterFest features many traditional holiday activities such as: writing letters to Santa, taking photos with Santa, Christmas tree lot, ice-skating, and one of my personal favourites: listening to the carolers sing your favourite holiday tunes! There are several spots that you will find the carolers (most of which are in Tinsel Town and Elf Village).
Wonderland has done a marvelous job with their food and beverage selection at WinterFest by putting a twist on many of their classics – their most popular being their funnel cake! They have festive options such as: Gingerbread, Candy Cane and Eggnog funnel cake flavours. And they have multiple Hot Chocolate stands located throughout the park. There are even some options that include alcohol for adults, such as hot cider and mulled wine. They have also included a signature WinterFest beavertail! Now, those are only a few of the tasty treats and savoury beverages that tWinterfest has to offer. There are plenty more but you’ll have to find out for yourself when you visit!
There are various oppourtunties for shopping throughout the park. Between the unique finds at the Christmas Market and the many gift and sweet shops, it is highly unlikely that you will go home empty handed! Wonderland has transformed five of their regular gift shops (with their Wonderland themed souvenirs) into holiday inspired gift shops that include ornaments, sweets (such as: gingerbread, home-made fudge, and candy apples), stocking stuffers (some pop culture inspired), decorations and décor, and much more!
What’s a theme park without rides?! Although their main roller coasters aren’t operational (obviously due to snow and cold temperatures), they have a wide selection of family/kid rides that are open for you to enjoy. Some of these rides include: Boo Blasters on Boo Hill, Snoopy’s Space Race, Klockwerks, and Viking’s Rage. However, they will close in the event of inclement weather and/or freezing temperatures.
Finally, one of the many things that Wonderland has included in their whimsical WinterFest is their multiple Instagrammable photo oppourtunities! Located throughout the park, they have placed life-sized items such as an ornament and a present as well as a white/silver throne all decked out in Christmas lights.
For more information including schedules, tickets, etc. – please visit their website: www.canadaswonderland.com/winterfest.