One-Tank Trip for Dec. 2-17
(c) By Jim FoxFor Postmedia Network/Sun Media newspapers/websites
’Tis the season as cities and towns are decking the halls with their holiday finery.
The “Festival City” is aglow as Stratford is helping to celebrate the holidays with its popular Christmas Trail and other special events.
“We’re beginning to look a lot like Christmas as shop keepers dress their windows in fresh cedar garland and twinkling lights tied with big red bows,” said Cathy Rehberg of the Stratford Tourism Alliance.
|Stratford City Hall is alight with a festive glow at this time of year.|
The Christmas Trail helps to “capture the spirit of giving and the joy of checking off that list,” she added.
Trail participants can discover those hard-to-find individual gifts as they stroll the festive streets in the city known for its “funky finds, eclectic shops and edgy boutiques.”
Twenty-seven shops are participating in the trail that runs until Dec. 20, offering “fabulous stocking stuffers.”
Trail passports cost $30 and provide a map and six vouchers that can be exchanged for gifts from among the participating shops.
|Shoppers stroll along the Christmas Trail in Stratford.|
And because it’s Stratford, Rehberg says to be “on the lookout for seven swans a swimming.” Details: visitstratford.ca/ChristmasTrail; 1-800-561-7926.
Bigger, better, brighter
That’s how they describe Bingemans’ Gift of Lights that returns to Kitchener-Waterloo after a successful launch last year.
This luminous spectacle is a drive through, family-friendly winter wonderland that is a gift of lights, said publicist Stephen Murdoch.
Stretching over a course of more than two kilometres through Bingemans ’family entertainment complex, this year’s brilliant spectacle features some 30 static and animated displays including reindeers, sleighs, elves and Santa.
|A tunnel of lights illuminates the night at Bingemans in Kitchener.|
There’s also the iconic light tunnel that was a big hit last year and is an “even more awe-inspiring animated experience.”
Mark Bingeman, company president, said that “all together, this extraordinary drive-thru will have more than one-million sparkling lights for visitors to marvel at.”
It runs daily through Jan. 6 with online tickets at $18 for cars and speed passes for $15. bingemans.com; (519) 744-1555
Reliving festive markets
The Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery Historic District runs until Dec. 23 and “recreates the romance and magic of traditional European markets from the early 1400s,” organizers say.
|Crowds fill Toronto’s Distillery District for the Christmas market. (Jim Fox photo)|
In its eighth year, the market features diverse entertainment, European food delicacies, gift items from around the world and outdoor heated beer and mulled wine gardens.
There’s also a huge Christmas tree decorated with more than 40,000 lights and, of course, Santa and the elves.
It’s open Tuesday to Sunday, with admission free on weekdays and $6 on weekends from Friday at 5 p.m. TorontoChristmasMarket.com
Join Santa for a ride through Elgin County on the Port Stanley Terminal Rail.
This “Santa Treats” train chugs along as anticipation grows nearing the destination and meeting Santa, said rail president Dan Vernackt.
|All aboard the Port Stanley Santa Treats’ train.|
The fun happens weekends through Dec. 17, leaving at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
It departs and returns to the Port Stanley station (309 Bridge St.) by the King George Lift Bridge.
Fares are $15 for adults and $9, for children ages two to 14. pstr.on.ca; 1-877-244-4478
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com
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