The holiday season is upon us and while festivities will look different this year, Londoners can enjoy the season with safe, family-friendly events happening in London’s downtown core this month.
“As with many celebrations this year, the holiday season is going to look different,” says Mayor Ed Holder. “With COVID-19 present and spreading in our community we need to do everything we can to keep ourselves, our families, and our community safe this year. With the holiday season upon us, I encourage Londoners to find new ways to safely enjoy past traditions and consider safe and outdoor festive activities this year.”
Celebrate the holiday season by visiting some of these free, outdoor festive activities over the next few weeks.
Take in the sounds of the season with live outdoor festive music
Local musicians are bringing festive music to Dundas Place for the next two weekends. Take in the sounds of the season every Friday and Saturday between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Library Terrace (alcove just east of the Central Library) or visit the Grace Hygge: Holiday Market for live music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Step back in time with a historic holiday photo display
Ever wonder what downtown London looked like over the holidays in the past? Grab a warm drink and take a stroll along Dundas Place revisiting downtown London though the years with a historic photo display. Historic photos are displayed in windows of Budweiser Gardens, Fanshawe Collage Downtown Campus, City of London Planning Office (206 Dundas), London Public Library Central Branch, and the J. Allen Taylor building.
Photos are from the London Free Press Collection of Photographic Negatives, Archives and Special Collections at Western Libraries, Western University. Historic photo display runs until January 11.
Take a stroll and enjoy the sights of the season
The holiday spirit has come to life in downtown with Downtown London’s Holiday Window Walk. Bundle up, grab your smartphone and go for a stroll following the window walk route. Along your way you will find eight storefront windows that come alive through whimsical audio experiences.
Visit Downtown London for more information and the Holiday Window Walk route.
Lace up your skates and visit an outdoor rink
Looking to stay active outdoors this winter? Grab your skates and hit the ice. The Rotary Rink at Covent Garden Market and the outdoor rink at Victoria Park are now open daily. Victoria Park ice rink is open until 10 p.m. if you want to enjoy a skate under the holiday lights.
Visit london.ca/skating for hours and more skating details.
Enjoy Victoria Park Winter Wonderland
Victoria Park has transformed into a Winter Wonderland with over 75,000 holiday lights and festive displays illuminating the park for the holiday season. Lights are on nightly from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. over the holiday season. The City Hall Promenade Deck is not open for viewing this year.
For information on visiting Santa in Santa’s House, please visit operationholidayspirit.com.
Staying healthy this holiday season
While enjoying festive activities this holiday season, the City of London is reminding Londoners to continue to follow all precautions set out by the Province of Ontario and the Middlesex-London Health Unit to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community. This includes maintaining six feet of physical distance from others, practicing good hand hygiene, coughing or sneezing into your sleeve, and staying home if you feel unwell.
In keeping with physical distancing measures, if you arrive at a festive activity that is too busy or crowded, we ask that you wait until there is enough space to properly practice physical distancing or return at another time.
Free parking in London’s core
If you’re planning to drive downtown, don’t forget to take advantage of two-hour free parking in the downtown core. Until December 31, get two hours of free parking daily at municipal on-street parking meters and lots in London’s core, including Downtown and Old East Village. Use promotional code ‘B2B20’ on the HonkMobile app on your phone or visit honkmobile.com to book your spot before leaving home.
Looking for more ideas to celebrate the holiday season? Visit Tourism London for more local activities and experiences.