Hamilton Highlights Blog


It’s the most wonderful time of the year…in Hamilton!

With less than one month until Christmas, holiday celebrations in the city are well underway. Here are some ways the city is spreading holiday cheer this season – join in! For a full list of Holiday Events happening in Hamilton click here.


Local Holiday Experiences

Free Pre-Christmas Parking
Shop, dine, do business or play in areas across Hamilton with free parking before Christmas. Look for the message on parking meters. Find out more about dates and locations for free parking at www.hamilton.ca/freeparking

Gore Park Winter-Christmas

Gore Park Christmas Tree of Hope

The annual Christmas Tree of Hope festivities include live music, Santa Selfies, and warm apple cider and hot chocolate courtesy of The Salvation Army. The free miniature train rides around the park are a definite highlight (they will also run daily from 2-7pm until December 17) as well as The Downtown Christmas Market in Gore Park featuring local vendors (after Friday evening, shopping will also be available from 12-6 p.m.  December 2 & 3).

When: December 1, 5-7pm (with rides daily from 2 to 7pm) until Dec. 17
Where: Gore Park, 1 Hughson Street South, Hamilton
Admission: Free. Unwrapped toys or cash donations to support the CHML/Y108/95.3 Fresh Radio Children’s Fund are appreciated.


A Victorian Night in the Village

Experience downtown Hamilton dressed up for the season at this three-hour holiday event presented by International Village. Highlights include free horse and carriage rides, hot apple cider at Ferguson Station, Victorian Carollers and special sales at shops and restaurants.

When: December 1, 6 – 9 p.m.
Where: International Village
Admission: Free


Westdale Village Winter Wander

Get into the holiday spirit in Westdale Village for live music and entertainment, horse drawn carriage rides, a vendor market at the Library, live ice carvings, pictures with Santa, storytime with Santa at Bryan Prince Bookseller, hot chocolate, and more. Shops will have extended hours and specials.

When: December 1, 5-10 p.m.
Where: Westdale Village
Admission: Free


Stoney Creek Sparkles

Visit downtown Stoney Creek to kick off the holiday season with a tree lighting in the town parkette (Jones and King St). Enjoy live music, pop up markets, free horse drawn carriage rides, and strolling carollers. Shops are open late.

When: December 1, 6-10 p.m.
Where: Olde Downtown Stoney Creek
Admission: Free


Christmas on Locke Street

Fun, food, shopping and festive sights like window displays and the Locke Street Christmas tree await you on Locke Street — plus a variety of holiday activities.

Lights of Locke Street on December 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. includes programming like Christmas crafts at Stanley Avenue Baptist Church organized by the Kirkendall Neighbourhood Association, Christmas music recitals at Picks & Sticks Music, and family storytime at the Hamilton Public Library. Plus, kids can write a letter to Santa at Quills and find some furry friends at My Dog’s Cafe & Bar Little Tracks Petting Zoo. Don’t forget to visit the Locke Street Christmas tree for visits with Santa, face painting and balloons.

Enjoy a screening of The Polar Express at Family Christmas Movie Night on December 8 at 7 p.m. at Stanley Avenue Baptist Church (please bring an unwrapped toy or nonperishable food item).

When: November 24-December 17, various event dates
Where: Locke Street BIA
Admission: Free


Dickens of a Christmas in Dundas

Dickens of a Christmas takes place Saturdays (11 a.m to 3 p.m.) and Sundays (12 – 3 p.m.) along King Street West in historic downtown Dundas, featuring Santa, carollers, free hot apple cider, ginger bread cookies and trolley rides.

Enjoy the Carnegie Christmas Market open house (various days) and Victoria Hall Christmas Market (December 10), and various Breakfasts with Santa: The Collins Brewhouse (December 3), The Winchester Arms (December 10), and Taylor’s Tea Room (December 17).

The fourth annual Christmas, Antiques and Bazaar Bonanza hosted by Mizeners Antiques and More Market is December 2 and 3 with a combination of artisans, crafters and antique vendors.

When: throughout December
Where: Dundas
Admission: Varies




Holidays at Hamilton Museums


Battlefield House & Museum at Christmas welcoming visitors

Battlefield House Museum

Battlefield House Museum and Park invites you to round up the family and experience Christmas in the Pioneer Spirit at the 19th century Gage family home, decorated with evergreen boughs and filled with holiday aromas.

On December 9, take part in Eat, Drink and Be “Mary” to celebrate Mary and James Gage with a guided tour of their home, visits with St. Nick, holiday gifts, carolling, children’s activities, baked treats and mulled cider.

When: November 25-December 31, special holiday programming December 9 from 12-4 p.m.
Where: Battlefield House Museum and Park, 77 King Street West, Stoney Creek
Admission: Adults: $7, Seniors/Youth: $6, Children: $5, Infants: Free, Family: $20



Dundurn National Historic Site

Experience a Victorian Christmas at Dundurn Castle, where cedar boughs, ribbons, and dried flowers will adorn the 40 room villa.

Christmas Evening Tours are available December 8-22 from 7-9 p.m. and include carolling in the front hall, an extended tour of the Castle, and samples of traditional Christmas foods in the historic kitchen. Ring in the New Year: Holiday Evening Tours are available December 28 and 29 from 7-9 p.m.

When: November 28-December 31 (excluding Mondays), 12- 4 p.m.
Where: Dundurn National Historic Site, 610 York Boulevard, Hamilton
Admission: Adults: $11.50, Seniors/Youth: $9.50, Children: $6, Infants: Free, Family: $30. Evening Tours are $30 per person. Advance registration required.


Whitehern - Christmas tree and toys

Whitehern Historic House & Garden

See the McQuesten family’s holiday decor like the 12-foot high tree decorated with tinsel and glass ornaments, the family’s original toys, and a beautifully set table with original China during The McQuesten’s Childhood Christmas.

On Saturday, December 9 from 6-10 p.m., discover Whitehern in the evening at Won’t It Be Jolly, with an exciting itinerary: Start with parlour games, hot drinks and sweet treats before enjoying carols and music, and finally, storytelling throughout the home by costumed interpreters.

When: November 18-December 31, 12- 4 p.m.
Where: Whitehern Historic House & Garden, 41 Jackson Street West, Hamilton
Admission:  The McQuesten’s Childhood Christmas: Adults: $7, Seniors/Youth: $6, Children: $5, Infants: Free, Family: $20. Won’t It Be Jolly: Adults: $10, Seniors/Students: $9, Children: $8, Family: $30. Advance registration required.


Hamilton Children’s Museum

Hamilton Children’s Museum provides a perfect getaway right in the city while school’s out for the holiday. Check out their Winter Whimsy event for crafts and activities December 27-30, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Families can celebrate Blue Year’s Eve on December 31 from 9 a.m to 3:30 p.m. and visit three hands-on galleries and join in on a New Year’s count down, six times throughout the day.

When: December 27-31
Where: Hamilton Children’s Museum, 1072 Main Street East, Hamilton
Admission: Adults: $2, Seniors/Youth: $2, Children: $4, Infants (under 1yr) Free, Family: $9



Signature Holiday Attractions in Hamilton

Photo of Winter Lights at RBG's Rock Garden

Royal Botanical Gardens

Royal Botanical Gardens is set to host their biggest Christmas celebrations yet to celebrate Canada 150. Canada’s largest botanical gardens have a jam-packed calendar of North Pole Experiences including visits with Santa (included in general admission prices), brunch with Mr and Mrs Claus, rides to Santa’s cabin on the RGB Express, storytelling and crafting with Santa’s helpers, and more.

Bundle up and let the lights guide you through an evening stroll at the Rock Garden for Winter Lights at the Rock. In addition, The RGB Centre is hosting weekly holiday entertainment on Wednesdays and weekends (including the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra Brass Quintet and The Second City Holiday Show).

When: All season long
Where: Royal Botanical Gardens, 680 Plains Road West, Burlington
Admission: Prices vary


Puddicombe Estate’s Polar Express

Treat the kids to an enchanted two-hour holiday experience. Start off the pyjama party with a story told by Mrs. Clause while indulging in hot chocolate and cookies. Take the train to the Magical North Pole where you can write letters to Santa as you ride. Then, as the little ones visit with Santa, parents can enjoy food and wine pairings before taking a family photo.

When: December 3, 10, 17 at pre-set times
Where: Puddicombe Farms, 1468 #8 Highway, Winona
Admission: $20. Advance registration required.


Westfield Heritage Village - Christmas in the Woods

Westfield Heritage Village

Let twinkling lanterns guide your stroll through the Village while you soak up the scent of pine, cinnamon and freshly-baked Christmas treats for the full Christmas in the Woods experience.

The Twas the Night Before Christmas program includes fireworks, carol sing-a-longs, sweet and savoury offerings in the Ironwood Hall, chestnuts roasting on an open fire at the D’Aubigny Inn, and visits with Father Christmas. Kids will love the chance to send a telegraph to the North Pole at Rail Station and make crafts at the one-room log schoolhouse.

When: Saturdays in December: 2, 9 and 16 from 5-9 p.m.
Where: Westfield Heritage Village, 1049 Kirkwall Road, Rockton
Admission: $11.00 for adults, $10.00 for seniors and people with disabilities, and $6.50 for youth ages 6-17. Children 5 and under are admitted free. Parking is free. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online.



Festive Concerts & Performances

Redeemer’s Christmas Concert

The Redeemer Concert Choir will perform Christmas Concert: Magnify along with a professional orchestra and soloists.

When: December 1, 7:30-9 p.m.
Where: Redeemer University College, 777 Garner Road East, Ancaster
Admission: $20

Second city at the Zoetic

Join in on the laughs as The Second City Holiday Show makes fun of the holiday traditions that make us dread (and love) the season in The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Sweater.

When: December 9, 8-10:30 p.m.
Where: The Zoetic Theatre & Creative Arts Company, 526 Concession Street, Hamilton
Admission: $25-$35

McIntyre Arts

McIntyre Performing Arts Centre Concerts

Concert-goers can hear some of the season’s most popular tunes at Rock This Town’s Christmas Spectacular.

When: December 9, 7-8:30 p.m.
Where: The McIntyre Performing Arts Centre, 135 Fennell Avenue West, Hamilton
Admission: Adults: $25 – Kids (under 12): $12

Also at The McIntyre Performing Arts Centre is Holiday Extravaganza featuring performances by Zacada Circus, Bumbling Bert the comedic magician, a Contortionist, Image Party Place and their special characters, Junior Ticats Cheerleaders, Pure Energy Dancers – and a special visit from Santa.

When: December 19, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: The McIntyre Performing Arts Centre, 135 Fennell Avenue West, Hamilton
Admission: $10


Handel’s Messiah at St. Patrick’s

A holiday must-see, Handel’s Messiah features The National Academy Orchestra, Soprano Nathalie Paulin, and The Arcady Singers.

When: December 11, 7:30-10 p.m.
Where: St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, 440 King St E, Hamilton
Admission:  $29 (Reg) | $25 (Sr) | $25 (Brott35) | $15 (Stu)


The Big Sing

The Big Sing at Ancaster Old Town Hall presents live music, hot cider, treats and the Christmas Tree Awards — plus the Strata Vocal Ensemble will treat guests to a concert and carol sing-along.

When: December 15, 7-9 p.m.
Where: Ancaster Old Town Hall, 310 Wilson St. E, Ancaster
Admission: $10 per person, $20 per family

HPO performers on stage

The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra

The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra performs Home for the Holidays, a festive program that includes holiday favourites like White Christmas, Suite from The Polar Express, Overture to Miracle on 34th Street and many more. More highlights include the shimmering sounds of the handbell choir and jazz vocalist Heather Bambrick.

When: Dec. 16
Where: FirstOntario Concert Hall (formerly Hamilton Place)
Admission: $10 – $67


Holiday Craft-time in Hamilton

Holiday DIY event graphic poster

For those who want to enjoy some hands-on adult craft time, EMERGE: Holiday DIY includes workshops by Made by Madeleine bakery, Girl on the Wing, and the Art Gallery. Enjoy decorating cookies, making ornaments, and sipping on a drink to kick off a month of celebrations.

When: December 1, 7-9:30 p.m.
Where: Art Gallery of Hamilton, 123 King St West, Hamilton
Admission: Emerge members $10, non-members $20


Families can drop in the Holiday Craft Drop-in Centre at the Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology to spark their creativity.

When: December 27-30, 12-4 p.m.
Where: Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology, 900 Woodward Avenue, Hamilton
Admission: Adults: $7, Seniors/Youth: $6, Children: $5, Infants: Free, Family: $20




Amanda StancatiAmanda blogs about her hometown of Hamilton for publications like People of Hamilton and Daily Hive Toronto. Follow her on Twitter @peopleofhamont and @amandastancati.

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