It’s the time of year again when the elves are busy making toys in the North Pole and Santa is planning to visit with children across the city in advance of the big day. Visiting Old Saint Nick and getting a photo with Santa at your local mall is just fine. But you can also take the kids to one of these other local events for a truly unique experience.
Whether you want to enjoy breakfast with Santa, explore an outdoor adventure park before you meet him, or experience Christmas with a vintage feel, this list will pull you out of the line at the mall and help you create a new holiday tradition that everyone will love.
Unique Santa Photo Opportunities in Ottawa
Ian’s Adventure Park
It will be impossible to go to Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park and not leave feeling festive. Give yourself enough time to experience everything they have to offer like the campfire and hot chocolate, the hay barn or wagon ride. Bring your skates and toboggan for added adventuring. Of course, you’ll also have the chance to meet Santa but only at certain times. Catch Santa on weekends, from 12 pm to 7 pm. The park begins its festive celebrations on November 23rd.
Village of Lights in Cumberland
On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until December 22nd (and beginning November 29th), the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum Vintage Village of Lights will shine up the night and warm your holiday spirit. Take a leisurely stroll through the village or hop in the horse-drawn wagon for a ride around before stepping into the old schoolhouse to decorate gingerbread cookies, or warm up by the fire. Bring a few dollars to get some hot chocolate. When you’re done, Santa will be waiting to greet the kids at his workshop and if they stop by the post office first, they can send even send him a telegraph in advance.
Breakfast with Santa in Old Ottawa South
At the Old Ottawa South Community Centre (the Firehall), Santa is making a breakfast stop to see families on December 8 from 10:30 am until 12:30 pm. Delicious pancakes will be served for the first 150 people. The kids can make a craft, decorate cookies and see Santa himself. Space is limited and while admission is free, a donation for the Ottawa Food Bank is requested.
Breakfast with Santa at Carlingwood Shopping Centre
This breakfast experience at Carlingwood Shopping Centre is happening on November 17th from 8:30-10:30 am (perfect start time for those little ones who are up and ready to go!) All the magic happens in the Food Court and tickets are $15 (available for purchase at guest services). Your ticket includes breakfast, crafts, meeting Santa, face painting and a train ride! There’s also a prize for those who arrive in pyjamas. The event is also accepting donations to Pyjama Patrol, a local organization giving pjs to kids in need. Tickets are limited and parents and kids require tickets. More information is on their website.
Skip the Mall Photo Session with Santa at Head Office
If you don’t want to tie in a special event with your meet and greet, and want to ensure a Santa photo your family will love, check out the photo sessions by Resonate Photography happening at Head Office on November 23rd from 10 am until 4 pm. Book your time slot early to secure your photo session during a Santa meet and greet. There will be a hot chocolate bar for after the session, Christmas movie playing and colouring pages your kids can fill out. This event is also sensory-friendly with a quiet room for those who may need it and no flash photography for sensitive eyes.
Visit a Vintage Santa at Upper Canada Village
Alight at Night returns to brighten up our holidays at Upper Canada Village. Stroll the historic 1860s village and enjoy the buildings as they twinkle with thousands of colourful lights. Enjoy a wagon ride, bakery treat and carolling, plus, meet Santa himself (only until December 23rd!) Alight at night begins on November 29th and ends on January 4th. Tickets can be purchased online and this is highly recommended to avoid long waits when you arrive.