Edmonton’s downtown has come alive with bright lights and art installations as part of the Holiday Light Up, where Edmontonians can grab a cup of coffee or hot chocolate while strolling the streets along Rice Howard Way and take in the festive spirit of the season.
On Friday, December 16, head to Sir Winston Churchill Square and the City Hall Plaza from 6 to 9 p.m. for Bright Light Skate Night. This free family-friendly event features skating, a DJ, free hot chocolate, a fire pit and roving performers. See the new temporary art installations from Canadian artist Ken Hacke and Edmonton lantern creator Dylan Toymaker.
Also making a return appearance in Churchill Square on December 16 is the popular Happy Wall installation. Created by Copenhagen artist Thomas Dambo, Happy Wall first made its home in the Square from 2018 to 2019. The interactive public art installation is 17 metres long and covered with 1,040 coloured panels of reclaimed wood that can be flipped to create images or phrases.
Brush up on your skating skills and check out the skating rink at the ICE District plaza from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The City Hall ice skating rink will be open (weather and ice conditions permitting too). Free skate rentals will be available each Friday from 4 to 9 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The new Downtown Gift Card supports over 40 participating businesses. Shop local at the Downtown Farmers Market’s Christmas Market too, on every weekend until December 23.
#YegWinterPatios are also back! Celebrate the beginning of the winter patio season and support local by checking out participating patios at local restaurants, cafes and bars across the city.
Enjoy the sights and sounds of Candy Cane Lane, a celebration of holiday lights along 148 Street from 92 to 100 Avenue. YEG Candy Cane Lane runs 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. nightly until January 2. During Open Streets Nights on December 10, 17, and 23 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., YEG Candy Cane Lane will be closed to traffic and only accessible by foot.
If you can’t walk the whole length of Candy Cane Lane, you can book a ticket on Dedicated Accessible Transit Service’s (DATS) ElfMobile to ride along with the sleigh convoy! Tickets prices are the same as for the sleighs, and seats will be available on a first-come first-served basis. See the YEG Candy Cane Lane ticketing details on their website.
Residents can also lace up their skates and experience Edmonton's river valley ice rinks now that Victoria Oval and IceWay, Hawrelak Park shelter 2 ice, and the Rundle Park IceWay have officially opened for the season. For more information about the City’s outdoor skating surfaces, pavilion hours and ice conditions, visit edmonton.ca/skating.
If tobogganing is more your style, there are a number of City-managed toboggan hills in the river valley. To find the hill closest to you, and for current hill conditions and safety tips, visit edmonton.ca/tobogganing.
Edmonton’s river valley is also home to a large number of cross-country ski trails that are open to everyone, regularly groomed and varied to accommodate all different levels of skiers. The ski trails in Gold Bar, Goldstick and Capilano Parks are ready for you to enjoy! City crews are out in force, packing and grooming trails, so residents are encouraged to check trail options and conditions at edmonton.ca/skitrails.
Events like these are a reminder from the City that residents should get out in the cold and snow and celebrate the WinterCity identity through the arts, recreation, events, storytelling and design.