Holiday light displays: 8 bright spots in and around Edmonton

As the pandemic drags on and the winter darkness closes in, who couldn’t use more light in their life? We’re hooking you up with eight suggestions that are, well, lit!

Downtown Edmonton

“I’m super excited about it!”

Indigenous artist Jason Carter looks up at his work Winter Solstice on display in Churchill Square. 

“The piece itself lights up at night time. It is that symbolism, which is very literal of the orb, Grandfather Sun, Mother Earth and Grandmother Moon, passing the light back to one another,” Carter says. 

Carter and co-creator Bridget Ryan installed the three, five-metre sculptures as part of the Downtown Holiday Light Up. They’re not far from the 20-metre tree and a gateway arch by mixed-media artist Rebecca Eckard through The Works International Visual Arts Society.

Puneeta McBryan, executive director of the Edmonton Downtown Business Association, checks out some of the work by mixed-media artist Rebecca Eckard in Sir Winston Churchill Square. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC)

Today, Dec. 3, and again on Dec. 18 there will also be live music, maple taffy, an Edmonton Short Film Festival screening and more.

“This is probably our most ambitious holiday light-up ever,” says Puneeta McBryan, executive director of the Edmonton Downtown Business Association.

With business suffering during the pandemic, McBryan says, it’s important to bring “moments of delight” to the space. 

“We can add some light, we can add moments of joy, we can give reasons for people to come together,” she says. “It makes it much easier to get people down and support small businesses.” 

Downtown Edmonton isn’t the only space using bright lights to lift spirits.

‘It’s about bringing light’

2 days ago

Check out the latest work by Indigenous artist Jason Carter now on display as part of the Downtown Holiday Light Up in Edmonton, Alta. 1:45

You can see more holiday lights and outdoor spots to explore outdoors on this week’s edition of Our Edmonton on Sunday at noon and 11 a.m. Monday on CBC TV and the CBC Gem. 

Candy Cane Lane

Homeowners in the Crestwood neighbourhood along 148th Street between 99th and 92nd avenues are again providing some serious Christmas curb appeal.

This year, Edmonton’s Candy Cane Lane is open to stroll or drive on Dec. 10 with activities like sleigh rides returning but no food trucks or fire pits. Edmonton’s Food Bank will have bins in place for donations. 

Luminaria

Always a winter time draw to the University of Alberta Botanic Garden in Parkland County, this year’s event is on until Jan. 9. 

Stroll through serene candle-lit pathways, enjoy hot apple cider by a fire and new this year is a choreographed display of light and music in the dramatic Aga Khan Garden. 

Len Chambers, a senior horticulturist and curator of the Kurimoto Japanese Garden at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden, shows off the lights of Luminaria. (Rick Bremness/CBC)

Zoominescence

The Edmonton Valley Zoo’s illuminated adventure runs on certain nights from 4:30 to 9 p.m. until Jan. 2. Tickets for the animal-inspired Zoominescence can be purchased online in advance.

Alberta Legislature Grounds

For more than 35 years this light display has been a bright spot on the grounds of the Alberta Legislature

On Saturday, Dec. 4, 11 and 18 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. there will be free hot chocolate and festive performances at the north amphitheatre.

The festive lights are part of a long-standing sparkling tradition at the Alberta Legislature. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC)

Winter Wonder Forest

Held last year at the Rainbow Valley Campground, the Winter Wonder Forest has relocated to Longriders RV Park in Gibbons.

You can stroll through the forest done up in decorations in two-hour time slots and take part in activities like sleigh rides and Santa’s workshop until Jan. 9.

Glow

Boasting a million lights this indoor event is on at the Edmonton Expo Centre until Jan. 2. You’ll want to book your tickets online for Glow in advance and be aware of all the indoor COVID-19 protocols in place. 

A million lights are featured in Glow Christmas at the Edmonton Expo Centre until Jan. 2. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC)

Magic of Lights

Not to be outshone there are 1.5 million lights out at the RAD torque Racetway, formerly known as Castrol Raceway, in Leduc County this year as part of the Magic of Lights event on until Jan. 8. This is a 2.5-kilometre drive-thru experience.

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