Vacation Gentle Shows: 7 spots to spy on them in and round Edmonton

The province’s latest health restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 will make the holidays very different this year. But watching light shows is a tradition that you can carry on.

Alberta Legislative Grounds

This light show has been a ray of light on the grounds of the Alberta legislature for 35 years. If you hike down this year, you can see about 200,000 lights on about 2,900 strings that adorn more than 500 trees.

There are some changes this year. COVID-19 means that the annual Celebrate the Season with local music groups does not take place. There are also no tours of the Legislature or Federal Building, but there is plenty of space to roam and photograph this iconic Edmonton landmark, which is illuminated for the season ending January 31st.

Share some festive facts about this 35 year old tradition on the Alberta Legislature grounds. 0:54

You can see more of the Alberta Legislature Grounds on Our Edmonton at 10 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Monday on CBC TV and CBC GEM.

New this year, you can also watch the Legislative Decorations on Alberta Assembly TV, which loops videos of indoor and outdoor presentations. Check your cable lists. For Telus customers, it is channel 843 and Shaw users are channel 930.

Winter wonder forest

The newest offering from the Drive-Thru-Light Circuit was launched this year at Rainbow Valley Campground, next to Snow Valley Ski Hill at Rainbow Valley Road 13204.

Rainbow Valley Campground has turned into a winter wonder forest with a quarter of a million lights. (Craig Ryan / CBC)

Around 250,000 lights decorate the campsite. Vehicle passes are pre-purchased online for $ 30, which supports the True Start Foundation, an anti-poverty charity. The Winter Wonder Forest is a contactless drive through experience until January 3rd.


The Edmonton Valley Zoo Zoominesence runs through January 3rd on certain evenings. Tickets for the animal-inspired light creations must be purchased online in advance. All indoor areas are closed, with the exception of access to the washrooms. Zoo visitors are asked to mask themselves and stay with their household members.

Candy Cane Lane

For more than 50 years, homeowners in the Crestwood neighborhood along 148th Street between 99th and 92nd Avenues have had a serious Christmas roll call to the curb.

This year, COVID-19 means there are no sleigh rides, fire pits, food trucks or volunteers. The other big change is that the organizers are asking you to drive the lane instead of walking.

There is light, sound and Candy Cane Lane in support of Edmonton’s Food Bank. (CBC)

Edmonton Candy Cane Lane is a fundraiser for Edmonton’s Food Bank, but this year they are encouraging people to donate online instead of bringing groceries in person. However, there are drop-off points at the north and south ends of the lane.

Downtown Edmonton

A giant tree has stood in Sir Winston Churchill Square for more than 20 years and this year is no exception. It’s a 24-meter-long white spruce that is adorned with more than 22,000 twinkling LED lights.

Tracy Hyatt of Edmonton’s Downtown Business Association encourages people to take a photo of the tree and post it with the hashtag #YEGLightUp. For every label used, the association will donate $ 5 to Edmonton’s Food Bank, up to a maximum of $ 5,000.

New this year are six outdoor light installations designed by local artists, which will be rolled out at various locations in the city center and illuminated every evening until January 8th.

An exhibition called Transformation: Promise and Wisdom, designed by artists Sharon Rose Kootenay and Jason Symington for the Works Art & Design Festival, is located in Sir Winston Churchill Square. (Scott Neufeld / CBC)


For the past few years, Luminaria has only sold out a few days a year and sold out quickly, but this year the University of Alberta Botanical Garden is offering the experience all December.

You can look forward to candlelit walks, snow elves and creative winter sculptures. You should go online to check out COVID-19 requirements like masking and purchasing your season tickets before heading to Parkland County.

Snow White Madison Bessette cheers at the University of Alberta Botanical Gardens in Parkland County in December. (Rick Bremness / CBC)

Magic of lights

A steady stream of cars has lined up on Castrol Raceway in Leduc County. This 2.5 kilometer drive-thru experience features over a million lights.

Vehicle passes start at $ 25 and must be purchased in advance. The lights will be on until January 2nd. You can expect digital animations that showcase Christmas scenes like 12 Days of Christmas and Twas the Night Before Christmas.

The spokeswoman Kimberly Reeves warns that the weekends are “crazy” with waiting times of sometimes more than 90 minutes.

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