This winter, I pulled up my stockings, literally, and went to Toronto for Christmas celebrations. Had always heard that though summers is the best time to visit Toronto but winters with Christmas and Holiday festivities is equally charming and delightful. And I was not disappointed.

First by the grace of Mother Nature, it was cold but not that. I just transformed myself into a penguin – covered in red, green white caps, gloves, mufflers. And I survived it, not to forget steaming hot teas of Tim Horton’s.

Second, my visit to Niagara Falls made my entire trip a much cherished one.

I do not need to describe the beauty of the falls but what made my visit to the falls extra special was, I got to experience Winter Festival of Lights.

Niagara Falls was so beautifully lit and decorated. On the Lundy’s Lane, there were stunning white Christmas tree displays paired with massive lit up Christmas ornaments and gold wrapped gifts.

Santa’s sleigh on the Victoria Avenue, Grandview Christmas tree, Angels display; iconic Zimmerman Fountain, Ducks Pond display on the Niagara Parkway was simply mind-blowing. Some 50+ trees were wrapped with lightings. Everything was glittery, bright and full of joyous spirit.zimmerman_lights

The Winter Festival of Lights had installed 72 programmable DMX lights onto Toronto Power Generating Station transforming the structure into a spectacular sound and light show, dancing in time to holiday music. Visitors had to tune their car-radio to 100.5FM and could watch this historic structure come to life during the Festival Season!

With light in my eyes, I decided to head back to Toronto, when accidentally; I joined a long queue of cars in Niagara Falls. Thinking I was on my way out, I was blindly following the car in front of me. And moment I took the right turn, I was treated to- a LIGHTENING GEM!!

I had entered Dufferin Island, home to the Festival’s Canadian Wildlife displays including three dimensional Moose, Deer, Polar Bears, Fox, Bison and Geese.

Dufferin Island is not very far from the falls. As I steered my car through the island, I saw two dimensional displays of kissing swans, bears climbing a tree and wolves howling at the moon. A fountain on the island pond was illuminated and spraying water. All the trees were covered with LED lights. At the exit of the island, there was a gigantic mammoth and illuminated bridge. An incredible display of lights!!

I felt like ‘Alice in the wonderland – Dufferin Island’.

Drive or walk through to enjoy all kind of light exhibits. There is free parking inside the island.

There is no fee to view the illuminations but donations are gratefully accepted by Festival Ambassadors at the exit of Dufferin Islands (suggested contribution $5 – $10 per car; bus groups $1/person), with proceeds used to enhance the Festival’s lights and displays.

Just outside of Dufferin Islands visitors can see the world’s largest illuminated Canadian-American Flag, at three-stories tall this displays morphs between the Canadian and American flags.

Schedule: From Nov 19, 2016- Jan 31, 2017, 8km long illumination Route Lights every night from dusk to midnight.