A magical Christmas in Old Aylmer
It’s getting to be a tradition! Every year around this time, people start heading for the west end of the city and Christmas in Old Aylmer. The neighbourhood is already well known for its heritage charm, but you have to see it all dressed up for the holidays, with wreaths, bows and Santa hats adorning the houses and businesses along Principale Street. It’s gorgeous!
This year, on the first two weekends in December, the farmers’ market is setting up its cute little stalls in Memorial Park at the corner of Principale and Eardley. More than a dozen vendors will be there with local products to delight every palate, original gift ideas for everyone on your list, and wide smiles that will coax even the most determined Grinch into the Christmas spirit.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help you get the most out of this festive experience!
Old Aylmer Christmas Market
Think of it as Christmas HQ! Seasonal music plays on the loudspeakers, and several booths sell hot drinks to warm you up. After dusk, twinkling lights in the trees transform the park into a winter wonderland. This is where Santa Claus comes to rest up after the traditional parade!
The market is also the starting point for horse-drawn calèche rides, a great way to discover the area, especially if there’s a light dusting of snow …
Shout out to the artisan who makes little wooden Christmas trees, each one unique.
GOOD TO KNOW:
- : Bring some cash, as not all vendors are set up to accept debit and credit cards.
- : You can park on nearby streets or in the municipal lot beside the Aydelu Recreation Centre at the end of Park Street.
- : The market is open from December 8 to December 10, Friday from 4pm to 9pm, Saturday from 10am to 8pm and Sunday from 10am to 4pm.
Santa Claus Parade
As in past years, the parade was a wonderful, colourful event with lots of families in attendance! The floats departed from the Aylmer Marina parking lot at 6 p.m. and proceeded down Principale Street, greeted by throngs of enthusiastic children and parents lining both sides of the parade route. Of course, everyone was eager to welcome a certain jolly, bearded fellow in a red fur-trimmed suit … and about an hour later, there he was, on his float, waving and “ho ho ho”-ing to the crowd. There was a smile on every face!
The parade is usually held the first Saturday in December. If you plan to go next year, there are a few things to be aware of. Here are some tips to ensure you get a good view of Santa as he makes his way along Principale Street.
GOOD TO KNOW:
- : Where there’s a parade, there are road closures, so plan to arrive a little early to find a parking spot. If you’re coming from the east, Des Allumettières and Lucerne Boulevards are your best bets for getting within carolling distance of Old Aylmer without running into any closures.
- : The parade lasts about an hour, but again, it’s wise to arrive early to get a good spot. There are good vantage points pretty much all the way along Principale, but keep in mind that some businesses along the route (and the Christmas Market) serve hot drinks, so you may want to position yourself strategically!
- : You’ll be outdoors for a little while, so warm clothing (especially for the younger set) is recommended. And it might be a good idea to bring along a Thermos of a comforting hot beverage, especially if you’re planning to go and see Santa at the market after the parade!
Principale Street dresses up for the holidays!
Principale is always beautiful, but it’s particularly lovely under the hundreds of twinkling lights in the trees lining the street. Christmas in Old Aylmer also means sweet treats at Béatrice et chocolat, a hearty meal at L’Aubergiste or Antonyme, a beer at the new Bistro l’Autre Œil, a European sandwich from master sausage maker William J. Walter … all this, and historic and heritage charm to boot!
Take a stroll along Principale Street and fall in love all over again with Old Aylmer—and (for the Grinches among you) with Christmas! But don't take our word for it and see what blogger and Instagrammer Little Miss Ottawa had to say about it all!
I had such a great night in Aylmer yesterday! I explored rue Principale and went to the Christmas Market at Parc Commémoratif. I love the French style cabins that the vendors are in. I picked up some ornaments from Lind Art. Scroll through and you’ll see them. I picked up some of the clear ornaments that come with messages inside ☺️ The market has everything from crafts, jams, body care and more! After the market we went to @cafemulligan to warm up. It was super cute and cozy 😍 Next up was the Santa Clause parade! I felt like a kid again as I lined up on the street and watched as the floats went by, including Santa 🎅! If you scroll through the photos you’ll see people lined up to watch in front of The British, a historic building in Aylmer. It was built in 1834! Right after the parade I went to L’Aubergiste for dinner! It was so good 😍 They made an incredible 3 squash dish that was seriously the best squash I’ve ever had in my life! All the dishes were so delicious and had great presentation! This restaurant has won Aylmer’s readers choice for best date spot, wine list and poutine! I had a great night exploring Aylmer! You can easily hop over to visit via STO buses (that’s what I did) or a 20 minute drive from downtown Ottawa! If you’re interested in the Aylmer Christmas market, check out the link in bio for more details and other Christmas activities this month 🎄😊