A magical Christmas in Old Aylmer

Published on December 4 2017 - Updated on November 5 2018

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!


* Bring some cash, as not all vendors are set up to accept debit and credit cards. Note that there will be a banking machine that will be on site.

* 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 November 30 to December 2, and December 7 to December 9. Friday from 4pm to 9pm, Saturday from 10am to 8pm and Sunday from 10am to 4pm.

Santa Claus Parade

A wonderful, colourful event with lots of families! The parade is usually held the first Saturday in December. Here are some tips to ensure you get a good view of Santa as he makes his way along Principale Street.


*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! Food trucks and ready-to-eat meals will be on hand to feed you.

*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!

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On Principale Street

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!

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