A magical Christmas on the Hill

Published on December 12 2016

When I was a kid, one of the undeniable signs that Christmas was coming was Dad took us in his Pontiac 6000 and we’d head to Ottawa to see the Christmas lights on Parliament Hill. It was a tradition that my sister and I adored, our faces stuck to the car’s passenger door window with our pupils as big as $2 coins (even though the brown bills were still in circulation back then) as we gazed at the colours of the shining light bulbs.

Christmas Lights across Canada


Though there’ve been changes in format over the years, I headed to the Hill to witness December 7 Illumination Ceremony with the eyes of my inner child. I was not disappointed! There was a musical performance and the premiers of all the provinces gave their best wishes on a giant screen, followed by fireworks and the illumination itself. A magical moment of nostalgia where the bushes in front of the Parliament started glowing red, white, blue… From there a short walk would lead me to Confederation Park, all lit in red and white for Canada’s upcoming 150th, and the blue, purple and green lights around the War Memorial. It’s beautiful! The lights are on every night from 4:30 to 2:00, until January 7.

Winter Landscapes projection show

Before heading out to the other sites though, I stayed on the Hill a little longer to enjoy the winter landscapes projection show on the Centre block. Now I’m a big softy and seeing a snowman, a fox and a bear living a magical moment in their enchanted winter paradise definitely brought the feels. It’s a 13 minute projection that’s guaranteed to please kids of all ages (that means you too, parents!) It’s on a loop from 5:30 to 11:00 every night until December 25 so bring a blanket to wrap yourselves together, warm clothes and a thermos of hot chocolate and let the magic do its thing!


Speking of lights and amazement, you might catch a glimpse of moving, colour-changing lights as you watch the show. That’s because on both sides of the Hill is Prismatica, a public art installation shown for the first time outside of Montreal. It’s captivating, hypnotizing and really just quite awesome.

You'll have a memorable night on the Hill. That's a promise! Check out www.outaouaistourism.com for more ideas of winter fun in the region!

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