Finding seasonal fun that permits you to bring your dog along is becoming less and less challenging as more and more people demand to bring their pups along. Fortunately, most drive-through holiday light shows have always allowed you to bring your dog on the bright light adventure with you, thanks to the simple fact you don’t leave your car.
Time to climb in the car with Fido and check out some drive-through holiday light events.
Drive Through Holiday Light Shows Fascinate Dogs
Cruise through a dazzling display of twinkling lights with your pup in tow, all from the comfort of your car. Start at glittering tunnels then coast along past sparkling vignettes of rainbows, reindeer, and rocking horses – these drive-through light events might capture your dog’s attention or lull them into a comfortable snooze. Either way, they’re happy to not be left behind.
My bird dog is remarkably taken by anything that moves, rustles, or twinkles, so light shows are mental stimulation for her. (She loved a similar Halloween walk-through attraction: Pumpkins After Dark). But this time in the car, there’s no contending with leash pulling (at least for me). Although I strongly recommend leaving the windows up, especially if, like my dog, your pup will fly after the first bird-like flutter she sees.
- Admission is one price per carload.
- Cars creep slowly along a designated drive past clusters of themed illuminated LED animations.
- Getting out of the car or stopping is often prohibited, so take a pup potty break somewhere outside the entrance before you start.
- Starting times are after dark and range in duration but usually end about 9 or 10 pm.
- The duration of the drive is usually about 30 minutes to one hour.
Where can you take your dog to a glittering winter festival or two?
Here’s a list of dog-friendly drive-through holiday light shows across Canada:
Ontario – Dog-friendly Holiday Light Events
Niagara: Niagara Winter Festival of Lights, Niagara Falls, Ontario from November 12, 2023, to February 20, 2024.
This winter festival is the spectacular granddaddy of them all because it stretches throughout most of this popular tourist destination, including along the Niagara Parkway and Dufferin Islands. (Note: there is the option to park and walk a bit at Dufferin Islands if your dog needs a pee break). Free admission.
Niagara: Safari Lights at Safari Niagara, Stevensville, Ontario, from November 17, 2023, to January 7, 2024.
Safari Niagara turns the zoo (most animals are away for the winter) into a 3 km trail of twinkling Christmas landscape accented by more than one million lights. Dogs must remain in the car at all times.
Ottawa: Magic of Lights, Ottawa (Nepean), Ontario from November 17, 2023, to January 2, 2024.
Magic of Lights, Ottawa is in its sixth season, and like most, admission is by the carload. Every ticket benefits the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Wesley Clover Parks, 411 Corkstown Road, Nepean, Ontario.
Kitchener: Gift of Lights & Jingle Bell Rock at Bingemans Park in Kitchener, Ontario from November 17, 2023, to January 7, 2024.
Gift of Lights & Jingle Bell Rock is the first light experience I went to with my previous dog, and he loved it, though his attention drifted toward the end. My current pup, Victoria, however, is younger and attentive to every sparkle and jingle.
Pickering: Journey into Enchantment Drive-thru, Pickering, Ontario from December 1, 2023, to January 7, 2024.
Journey into Enchantment is a 2 km drive starting with a tunnel of lights and includes 3D animations, strobe lights and synced holiday music. So, it might be sensory overload from some pets. Dogs must remain in the car. 1389 Brock Road, Pickering.
British Columbia – Dog-friendly Holiday Light Events
Langley: Thanks to the efforts of volunteers and city council, The Langley Christmas in Williams Park returns from December 1 to 20, 2023, 5 to 9 pm.
The Langley Christmas in Williams Park is a free experience now in its 33rd year. It has visitors driving through the park light show – twice if it’s not busy. Total drive time is about 30 minutes. Williams Park, Langley.
Alberta – Dog-friendly Holiday Light Events
Calgary: Spruce Meadows Christmas Light Drive Through in Calgary, Alberta every weekend (only) from December 8 to 31, 2023 (closed December 25).
Enter the Spruce Meadows Christmas Light Drive-Through Show through the main gate. Note that Spruce Meadows also has a walk-through options for those who want to spend more time in the park. Leashed dogs are welcome outdoors, but not in the indoor market. Spruce Meadows, 18011 Spruce Meadows Way SW, Calgary.
Manitoba – Dog-friendly Holiday Light Events
Winnipeg: The Canad Inns Winter Wonderland in Winnipeg, Manitoba from December 1, 2023, to January 6, 2024.
The Canad Inns Winter Wonderland is a 2.5 km light show with more than 30 light displays is part of a larger winter festival that includes a skating rink and horse-drawn sleigh rides. Exhibition Park from 6 to 10 pm.
Saskatchewan – Dog-friendly Holiday Light Events
Saskatoon: The Enchanted Forest at the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and Zoo in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan from November 18, 2023, to January 7, 2024.
The Enchanted Forest is one of the longest drive-through holiday light shows in the country and features a 70-foot-high Noah’s Ark display. This year marks its 25th anniversary, so expect something extra special.
Quebec – Dog-friendly Holiday Light Events
Thanks to the creative team at Cavalia (best known for horse shows), illumi: A Magical Holiday is back this year from November 16, 2023, to January 7, 2024, at its Laval location.
At illumi, you have the option to drive or walk through the event, depending on which option you pre-book. But note that only dates marked ‘Doggie Night’ on the schedule allow leashed dogs to walk along. At the time of publishing, only November 19 was designated a dog-friendly walk-through illumi. Otherwise, you can drive through the dazzling array of lights, including the tree of lights that stands as tall as the Statue of Liberty. 2805 Boulevard du Souvenier, Laval, Quebec.
Nova Scotia – Dog-friendly Light Events
Halifax: Evergreen Bright at the Evergreen Festival from November 24, 2023, to December 17, 2023.
Evergreen Bright is NOT a drive-through light event, but a walk-through light event (part of the Evergreen Festival) that’s dog-friendly everywhere outdoors. Light installations line the Halifax waterfront, parts of downtown, and the city of Dartmouth across the water at this city-wide holiday event. When at the waterfront, check out the dog-friendly Garrison Brewery.
Writer bio: Sherri Telenko has been a professional writer for decades and a travel writer for the last two. She’s a member of TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) and Dog Writers Association of America and travels almost weekly with her canine companion, Victoria. Contact Sherri at dogtrotting.net here. All written content is original, written by a person, and based on experience and research. Please subscribe!