*Pictured Above: A street view of lights from a median in Queen Victoria Park*
The 2016 Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights
Saturday, November 19th, 2016 – Tuesday, January 31st, 2017
There is a lot of excitement building up for the 34th annual Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights! This festival attracts 1 million annual visitors, and over 300 motor coaches each year. The Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights was created as a way to fully capture the idea that Niagara Falls is much more than a “Summer” destination — it is a “year-round” destination as well. It features millions of sparkling lights along an 8 KM illumination route that travels along the Niagara Parkway through the Niagara Parks Winter Wonderland, Dufferin Islands, and into the surrounding tourist districts.
The Winter Festival of Lights is Canada’s premiere illumination festival, and has received a number of awards including being named one of the Top 100 Festivals on Ontario, Sponsor of the Year, Best Volunteer Program, Most Innovative Partnership, and the prestigious Events of Distinction Award from Festivals and Events Ontario (FEO). The American Bus Association has long recognized the OPG Winter Festival of Lights as one of its Top 100 internationally Known Events from 2005-2015.
New to the festival this year is a 3-D woolly mammoth light display. The mammoth display is part of the Canadian wildlife light displays at Dufferin Islands. This year’s festival will feature 400,000 lights in Dufferin Islands alone (an increase of last year’s 340,000).
“The Festival is proud to be taking the illuminations to the next level of innovation and design adding a wide spectrum of colour and animation to the destination,” said Festival Executive Director, Tina Myers.
On your way to Dufferin Islands, you will find it impossible to miss the lit up Toronto Power Generating Station, which will be basking in colourful lighting that is choreographed to music. The Festival will use 72 LED light displays to light up this buildings’ beautiful architecture.
Murray Hill will be aglow, basking in the lights of new coloured wall washers.
Clusters of six-foot tall light bulbs along the Victoria Avenue Promenade in the Clifton Hill District will be a focal point for photo ops.
On Lundy’s Lane in the median of the hydro canal bridge, two eight-foot tall nutcrackers will stand guard along one of the most famous and historic streets in Niagara Falls. There will also be three 12-foot tall candy canes and other large decorative ornaments at this location.
“Also new this year is the Deck the Falls walking tours along Fallsview Blvd., and other selected venues. One of the much-anticipated additions, Deck the Falls is a self-guided walking tour that allows visitors to admire Niagara’s finest hotel lobbies decorated in their holiday best. Attendees can take in the giant Lite Brite, listen to live musical performances and sample some holiday appetizers along the way,” added Myers.
Participants will receive a pair of signature Deck the Falls souvenir mittens. The event runs December 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 9th, 10th, and 11th from 5:00 to 10:00 pm., and costs $35 per person plus HST.
Last year, the Festival attracted more than 1.2 million visitors to Niagara Falls and had an economic impact of $54 million.
“Our Winter Festival of Lights continues to grow, constantly improving the wintertime experience here in our area. Many already know that this event is a hallmark of winters here, and we would love you to come experience it yourself to be amazed and impressed by the incredible lights,” said Mayor Jim Diodati, City of Niagara Falls.
Of course, back again are Festival favourites including the displays at the Zimmerman Fountain, Noah’s Ark, the two storey tall Canadian/US flag, the Canadian Mounties, three-dimensional Canadian wildlife displays, the illumination of the Skylon Tower, Floral Showhouse and Religions of the World Displays.
“Spirit of Niagara” Sound and Light Show
For the second year now, the Winter Festival of Lights will feature a new sound and light show entitled the “Spirit of Niagara”. This is presented by the Fallsview Casino Resort and the Tourism Partnership of Niagara. It will use innovative 3D projection mapping to visually transform the west facade of the Oakes Hotel Overlooking the Falls into a real-life canvas for a stunning display of visual effects.
A growing phenomenon, projection mapping is a newer form of display technology that uses one or more powerful projectors to transform the characteristics of a surface or structure using “light paint” and motion graphics. The “Spirit of Niagara” is completely free to view. It will engage audiences of all ages through storytelling inspired by Niagara’s colourful mix of history, legend and mythology, and the Niagara Falls themselves.
Brand new content will be unveiled this season with a new five-minute long show, attendees will be treated to a memorable audio/visual experience. The new Fallsview Sound & Light Show will mesmerize attendees using visual effects with a kaleidoscope of colour & texture treatments, visual transitions, with dynamic music and sound.
*Happens Nightly from November 19th – January 31st, shows every 15 minutes between 6 & 9 PM the show is 5 minutes in length*
The Oakes Hotel Overlooking the Falls is located at 6546 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls, ON.
Thrilling Laser Light Shows return!
The Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights is adding once more for its 34th season, the Laser Light Shows at differing locations throughout Niagara Falls.
It begins at Queen Victoria Park on Sunday, November 20th for the Niagara Parks Laser Light Shows
The Fallsview Laser Light Shows happen in the parking lot at the corner of Fallsview Boulevard and Main Street nightly from December 2nd to 11th
The Clifton Hill District Laser Light Shows happen on the Victoria Promenade across from Louis Tussaud’s Wax Works nightly from December 23rd to 31st
These are 15-minute shows that will entice audiences with a spectacular range of colored laser beams and smoke machines that feed on high energy. They are a real crowd pleaser and make a fun night out for the entire family.
Showtimes: 5:30, 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 pm
“I invite everyone to come and watch our fantastic Laser Light show at one of three locations this Festival season”, said Tina Myers, Program Director of the Winter Festival of Lights. “This Laser Light show will entertain the young and those that are young at heart with impressive lights choreographed to music. At these shows you feel like you’re at a big rock concert or DJ show, but the show is made with the entire family in mind, so not only will your children enjoy it but adults will really have just as much fun as the kids.”
In addition to these free shows, attendees can have fun with interactive laser booths in which they can write messages or draw pictures onto a nearby building with laser-lights.
See a scene from the 2015 Clifton Hill District Laser Light Show:
The Festival opens its annual season on November 19th with two free shows in the Niagara Parks at 5:45 pm and 7:00 pm
The darkness of the night will be lit up by the enchanting displays of the Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights throughout this festive season. In addition to the “flip-of-the-switch” during the opening ceremony, performers will electrify the crowd with an extraordinary show at Queen Victoria Park.
This event is free to the public and features family-friendly entertainment including a cirque show, a Laser Light Show, a performance by the Niagara Star Singers, plus fireworks over the Niagara Falls.
The event will take place rain, snow, or shine, so dress for the weather.
The kick-off to the Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights begins with two evening fireworks displays at Queen Victoria Park on Saturday, November 19th, 2016.
Saturday, November 19, 2016: 6:40 pm & 7:40 pm (Opening Day)
Friday, November 25, 2016: 9:00 pm
Friday, December 2, 2016: 9:00 pm
Friday, December 9, 2016: 9:00 pm
Friday, December 16, 2016: 9:00 pm
Friday, December 23, 2016: 9:00 pm
Saturday, December 24, 2016: 9:00 pm
Sunday, December 25, 2016: 9:00 pm
Monday, December 26, 2016: 9:00 pm
Tuesday, December 27, 2016: 9:00 pm
Wednesday, December 28, 2016: 9:00 pm
Thursday, December 29, 2016: 9:00 pm
Friday, December 30, 2016: 9:00 pm
Friday, January 6, 2016: 9:00 pm
Friday, January 13, 2016: 9:00 pm
Friday, January 20, 2016: 9:00 pm
Friday, January 27, 2016: 9:00 pm
“The stunning fireworks displays that light up the night sky are the perfect complement to a night out enjoying our light displays,” says Myers. “We are thrilled to have Fallsview Casino Resort as the presenting sponsor of our fireworks program this winter!”
*Fireworks schedule is subject to change. As always, fireworks performances are weather permitting and may be cancelled due to poor weather conditions like high winds or rain.*
Sparkle Lighting Awards
The Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights will once again hold their “Sparkle Lighting Awards.” This recognizes the BEST residential, multi-residential and commercial property holiday light displays in Niagara Falls.
It began in the 1960’s as a chance to promote community involvement and holiday cheer by getting its residents to decorate their properties.
“We are on the search to find the best illuminated properties in Niagara Falls this winter, each season the Sparkle Lighting Awards remind us just how much residents enjoy decorating their homes for the holidays,” said Tina Myers. “This makes it very difficult for our judges to choose just one winner for each section of the city.”
Participants are split into those three (3) categories: Residential, Multi-Residential and Commercial. They are judged on overall appearance, attractiveness, creative illumination, color coordination, and theme of their property when lit. The Festival recommends LED lighting which is energy and cost-effective.
Anyone in Niagara Falls is free to participate in this event! Judging takes place on Wednesday, December 14th, 2016 from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
*For more information on the Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights, or to enter the Sparkle Lighting Awards contest, please visit www.wfol.com*
Please feel free to view the map below that features a Legend of the Festival’s lights and illumination display locations:
**Please note: The Winter Festival of Lights is completely FREE to attend at all times, however donations are graciously accepted by organizers.**
There is plenty of parking just off of Clifton Hill that extends to the Skylon Tower. Easily accessible to all attractions and events, there is even a jolly-cut available to access Queen Victoria Park easily and efficiently, provided you have no mobility issues.
For directions to this lot click on the parking lot image below that explains driving directions and includes a video. *New this year, is the addition of a 3rd entrance/exit off of Victoria Avenue!