a peek inside the fishbowl

19 Dec, 2017

A peek inside Magic of Lights in Ottawa

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - Ottawa for kids|Ottawa

Last night was my first time visiting the Magic of Lights at Wesley Clover Parks in Kanata (Ottawa)! I wasn’t sure what to expect, but you know what, I can see why people have been swept away by it.

Magic of Lights is a winding 2km stretch of road at Wesley Clover that has been decked out with a crazy amount of Christmas lights and displays. Some are simple (think, strands of lights strung around trees and along fences) and others are big, animated, or both. There’s a charitable component as well. Last year, Magic of Lights raised more than $47,000 for the Ottawa Senators Foundation and they’re partnering with them again this year too.

The idea is to pack up a car of people and drive the route, but I actually had the opportunity to walk it (!) because I was accompanying someone who was shooting video footage. This means I had a LOT of time to watch cars go by and think about what I was looking at. What I saw was happy faces of all ages. It wasn’t just cars full of families either, like I expected. There were young couples and old, parents with babies, senior doubles (a double date?), people with their pets, families with their teenagers hanging out the window, small buses with people from hospitals and care facilities (ROAD TRIIIIIP!) and even a ParaTranspo bus. Some people were singing Christmas carols, others were blasting music. I got waved at A LOT while on the side of the road there. I waved back. It did my heart good.

Magic of Lights is divided into different zones with different themes, which is fun to observe. Some of these themed areas include: holidays from around the world, sports, fairy tales, Candyland, Three Little Pigs, what appeared to be Northern animals, and construction crew (? diggers and such, for realz). I really liked the “Twelve days of Christmas” zone as it was particularly clever and beautiful. And yes, the displays included each verse of the song, including 12 drummers drumming!

This is what it looks like as you drive into that area:

Magic of Lights, Ottawa

Can you guess what this light display represents?

Magic of Lights, Ottawa

(It’s swans a’swimming!) Here are some maids a’ milking:

Magic of Lights, Ottawa

And some lords a’leaping. Watch ’em leap! They are LARGE. This little video clip doesn’t quite do it justice:

The snow fell gently, and the blanket of white made everything glow so beautifully.

Magic of Lights, Ottawa

Some of the displays are animated, which is pretty neat: LED-Santa on a motorcycle doing a stunt, a fire-breathing dragon, or an elf playing with a basketball. At the very end there’s an animated tunnel of lights, which is pretty cool.

I’m told that the displays are bigger and better than last year, and that there are more of them, but I can’t comment on that because I didn’t see it last year. Some people online have complained that the route is too short so I recommend you take it slow and savour that twinkle as long as you can (because I don’t think you can go through twice)!

Next time I’ll definitely bring the kids, as well as a thermos of hot chocolate or two, and make sure the Christmas tunes are playing in the car! I think if you’re looking for something festive, easy, and gentle to do for the whole family, this is a great option for folks in the Ottawa area. I do kind of wish that visitors had the option of walking through instead of driving. The parking lot there is big enough to accommodate the handful of families who might want to do it this way. We walked the route once and drove through it as well, and it was pretty amazing to see it on foot (even though my toes were froze by the time we were done).

Magic of Lights is at the Wesley Clover Parks Campground (411 Corkstown Road in Kanata) and is open from dusk until 10 p.m. until January 6, 2018. Corkstown Road can be accessed from Moodie Drive or the March Road exits from the 417, west of the junction of the 416 and 417 highways. If you buy your tickets online at magicoflights.com/ottawa it’s a little cheaper (and also more convenient in my books).

Have you been yet? I’d love to hear your review.

4 Responses to "A peek inside Magic of Lights in Ottawa"

1 | KristaR

December 19th, 2017 at 2:22 pm


My family and I went for the first time ever last Friday evening. We Loved it! My kids are 11, 13, and 14 and they thought it was really great. So beautiful and creative. Definitely worth it.

2 | andrea tomkins

December 21st, 2017 at 9:11 am


I didn’t know what to expect but was really impressed. Glad you and your brood had a good time Krista! Happy holidays!

3 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Christmas 2017 recap - a peek inside the fishbowl

December 30th, 2017 at 9:02 am


[…] also went to the Magic of Lights as a family last week (second time seeing it for Mark and I). We also had some lovely visits with […]

4 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive (re)Visiting Colony VR - Virtual Reality fun in Ottawa

January 11th, 2018 at 4:00 pm


[…] on Parliament Hill, but alas, that did not happen because we are wimps. We did, however, visit Magic of Lights and an escape room (as mentioned here) but another highlight for me was a visit to Colony VR, just […]

comment form:


Me and my pet projects

Ottawa Bucket list

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Jenn Jilks: That is really exciting! Break a leg!
  • fun88: I was excited to discover this page. I want to to thank you for your time for this fantastic read!! I definitely liked every part of it and i also
  • Gretchen Humphrey: I had a beautiful bee& birdbath filled with a solar fountain and dozens of antique marbles that were suddenly disappearing. At first I thought my
  • Jinjer: I am sobbing reading this post. And you're right, companion is not enough. Little furry treasured gifts that they are. Thanks for sharing cutie-pi
  • Karen: Dear Andrea, Mark and your daughters I am so very sad for your family xxx Piper was/is my favourite Instagram post. You shared with us so intimately
  • Christina Banuelos: Thank you for sharing Pipers life with us. Your posts of Piper brought me joy. Every time I see your post and see what kind of mischief Piper was gett
  • Carla Slocum: I am sitting here yet again crying at your loss. We have known that loss with Asta the WFT our first pup but now have the enormous gift of Stryker the

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (24) and Sarah (22). During the day I work as a writer at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


Connect with me at these places too!

Still calling it Twitter