The 2017 Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights
Saturday, November 18th, 2017 – Wednesday, January 31st, 2018
There is a lot of excitement building up for the 35th 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 past the Niagara Falls, into Dufferin Islands, and the surrounding tourist districts of Clifton Hill, the Victoria Centre, Fallsview Boulevard, and Lundy’s Lane.
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 are two light exhibits. An illuminated art exhibit called “Prismatica” will be on display at the Scotiabank Convention Centre from November 18th until December 16th. It is an interactive display that features a field of 25 colourful prisms that turn on their base. The other light exhibit is called “The Passage”, which will be on display in front of Queen Victoria Place from December 15th until January 12th. This is an eighty-four foot long tunnel made of 20 circles of lights. As attendees walk through the tunnel, the lights become animated with changing colours.
*Pictured Above: “Prismatica”
*Pictured Above: “The Passage”
The Winter Festival of Lights will unveil a signature fixture at the Lundy’s Lane section of its lighting route. Called “The Niagara”, this new display measures five metres tall and has bright white lighting that is animated with twinkling lights that cascade down the Niagara’s central pillar. You will find this at the Lundy’s Lane Battlefield parkette at the top of Drummond Hill.
There will a new look for the illuminations at the base of Clifton Hill this year as well. The trees will feature white lighting with light strands hanging down from the limbs to resemble Spanish Moss on the trees. To celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial, the Festival of Lights unveiled a new Canada 150 display along Fallsview Boulevard, just outside of the DoubleTree Fallsview Hotel. Along Victoria Avenue new animated displays featuring the Clifton Hill Skyline with the Niagara SkyWheel will be added to the street posts.
The lightshow on the Toronto Power Generating Station has been reprogrammed with lights choreographed to a new soundtrack of music from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Enjoy the show from the Floral Showhouse parking lot and tune into 100.5FM to hear the music.
Returning this year is the Deck the Falls walking tours along Fallsview Blvd., and other selected venues. Deck the Falls includes sixteen venues with each location featuring a signature experience. It takes place on the first three Friday’s and Saturday’s in December. You can enjoy this event by taking a leisurely stroll, or by using the WEGO pass that is included in the price of your ticket.
This tour has expanded by adding three venues in the Clifton Hill area. Fun activities are planned along the tour which include: culinary and gourmet food sampling, holiday beverages, entertainers, desserts and treats, fun photo opportunities, Life-size games, live music, craft workshops, ice sculptures, and much more.
Ticket holders get a Deck the Falls Tour Pass booklet that includes tour information, venue addresses and tear-off vouchers that attendees hand in at each location to participate in an activity. This runs December 1,2,8,9,15 & 16 from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm. For a full list of participating venues, or to purchase tickets, please visit the www.WFOL.com website.
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 the Forest of Trees at Queen Victoria Park.
Thrilling Laser Light Shows return!
The Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights is adding once more for its 35th season, the Laser Light Shows at the top of Clifton Hill and Victoria Avenue.
The Clifton Hill District Laser Light Shows happen across from Louis Tussaud’s Wax Works nightly from December 22nd to January 7th.
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
“The Laser Light Shows are a fun experience that can be enjoyed by the whole family while they are out touring the Festival’s illuminations,” said Tina Myers, Executive Director of the Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights. “With the support of our sponsors, we are proud to be able to offer this free programming that attendees can enjoy.”
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 18th 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 fire and pyrotechnic artists from NorthFIRE, Laser Lights, plus fireworks over the Niagara Falls.
The event will take place rain, snow, or shine, so dress for the weather. There is no admission fee to attend the Opening Ceremonies, however voluntary donations are accepted by WFOL Ambassadors at Dufferin Islands.
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 18th, 2017.
Fireworks will be 4 minutes long.
- Saturday, November 18, 2017: TWO Fireworks Shows (Opening Day): 6:40 pm and 7:40 pm
- Friday, November 24, 2017: 9:00 pm
- Friday, December 1, 2017: 9:00 pm
- Friday, December 8, 2017: 9:00 pm
- Friday, December 15, 2017: 9:00 pm
- Friday, December 22, 2017: 9:00 pm
- Saturday, December 23, 2017: 9:00 pm
- Sunday, December 24, 2017: 9:00 pm
- Monday, December 25, 2017: 9:00 pm
- Tuesday, December 26, 2017: 9:00 pm
- Wednesday, December 27, 2017: 9:00 pm
- Thursday, December 28, 2017: 9:00 pm
- Friday, December 29, 2017: 9:00 pm
- NEW YEARS EVE: Sunday, December 31st at Midnight
- Friday, January 5, 2018: 9:00 pm
- Friday, January 12, 2018: 9:00 pm
- Friday, January 19, 2018: 9:00 pm
- Friday, January 26, 2018: 9:00 pm
*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 13th, 2017 from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm. The deadline to enter is on Friday, December 8th, 2017.
*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 parking lot, click the image below: