Before everyone jumps all over me, know that I am not anti-mall. I happen to be a big mall supporter, just ask my ex-husband. It’s just that when it comes to Santa Claus, I think mall visits tend to be a little tedious. Santa Claus to me, has always been magical, the embodiment of the Christmas season, and so meeting him should be magical too. That’s why I’ve put together this list of the best places to see Santa in Ontario this season. If I’ve missed one, be sure to add it in the comments, and I’ll update the list!
Best Places to See Santa in Ontario
Every year, Upper Canada Village is transformed into Alight at Night, a magical holiday village that is not to be missed. It’s also a great place for kids to get their requests into the big guy. Visit Saint Nick’s Merry Mansion inside Crysler Hall. Take your own photo or purchase one for your mantle. Either way, lists and Christmas wishes are graciously accepted.
December 1-23, 2022 from 5pm-9pm on a nightly basis in St. Nick’s Winter Workshop.
After the North Pole, there’s probably no better place to get some face time with the Jolly Old Elf than Santa’s Village. While this happy place is usually closed in the winter, it opens for a short period of time at Christmas. Let’s remember after all, it’s Santa’s busy time of year.
During SantaFest kids and kids-at-heart are able to enjoy some of Santa’s favourite activities—gingerbread cookie decorating, a petting farm, marshmallow roasting and of course a visit with Santa himself!
Nov. 19 – Dec. 24, 2022
As a child, I remember watching the Santa Claus Parade in Toronto and being totally envious of all the kids lining the streets. So, if you live in Toronto make sure you get your kids out to this iconic and memorable parade. While kids won’t get to sit on his knee, and pass on their list, it’s sure to get everyone in your family in the spirit of the season.
December 3, 2022
The Cumberland Heritage Museum Village located just outside of Ottawa is the perfect place to go meet Santa and roll in a little history lesson at the same time; this village represents life during the 1920s and 1930s. During the holiday season, guests can take a horse-drawn carriage ride, decorate cookies, sip on hot chocolate and of course, meet the Big Guy.
Dec 2-4, December 9-11, December 16-18, 2022.
Every year, the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario in Smiths Falls, hosts the North Pole Express. This year the North Pole Express departs on November 23rd and 24th, so if you want tickets book through RMEO today! This year, one of the boxcars is being transformed into Santa’s workshop, so kids will be able to build a toy of their own. Of course Santa makes an appearance for a chat with the kids and a photo op.
November 23rd and 24th, 2019
This family event serves two purposes—meeting with Santa and feeding your family for the whole day. Take a look at their amazing brunch menu to see for yourself. Kids will love the selfies with Santa contest, as well as the colouring contest. Don’t forget to bring your list with you! Santa Claus has requested it!
December 18, 2022
Located in London, Ontario, Fanshawe Pioneer Village is another way to slyly educate your kids about history, while slipping in a visit with Santa. Guests enjoy a pancake breakfast, gingerbread decorating and a wagon ride through the village before meeting with Santa.
Saturday, December 10th, 2022
Santa makes a wicked entry on November 25th (I hear it’s via helicopter) to light the Christmas tree and kick off the annual Snowland celebration at Great Wolf Lodge. There’s a life-size gingerbread house inside the property and kids that stay overnight with their parents can attend North Pole University to get their snow-ploma. Santa also makes regular appearances throughout the season.
Snowland runs November 27 to December 23, 2022.
I’ve heard from a reliable source that Santa arrives on a tug boat for this annual parade! After the parade, kids can meet with Santa at the lighthouse to hand over their list and say hello.
November 19, 2022
Santa at The Kissing Bridge
There’s no official link for this, it’s an in-the-know annual event in West Montrose in Woolwich Township near Waterloo. Every Christmas Eve at 7pm, Santa Claus comes through the village on a decorated flatbed pulled by a trailer before heading off to deliver presents. Since it’s also home to the Kissing Bridge, a historic covered bridge, you can also expect some great Instagram shots.
December 24, 2022
No need to let me know in the comments that this incredible resort is not in Ontario. However, I’m giving it an honourable mention here because a) it’s close enough and b) next to the North Pole, it’s the perfect place to meet Santa.
If the thought of leaving all the Christmas chores to someone else (the cooking, the cleaning) and simply slipping into Yuletide bliss at a rustic, yet luxurious log cabin sounds like heaven to you, then book your Christmas stay at the Montebello now! Santa makes a special stop here, and who could blame him?