Discover Burlington Ontario

Lakeside Festival of Lights Nov 27 – Jan 8

by Pam Belgrade

Celebrating 25 Years of Holiday Magic

I know it’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again when winter coats line the closets, Christmas music plays in the stores, Santa comes to town, and most importantly the holiday spirit is in the air. Accompanied by this wonderful time is a beloved community tradition: Burlington’s Lakeside Festival of Lights: Nov 27-Jan 8 now in it’s 25th year!

Festival of Lights display of mooseFestival Overview

Our static display will be modified this year to keep our community safe and healthy during the pandemic! Safety measures include centralizing the displays to allow for better drive-by viewing, placing physical distancing reminder signs through out park and cancelling the opening ceremony.

For those of you who don’t know, the festival consists of magical holiday lighting displays which are all LED lights and are set up on Burlington’s lakeshore at Spencer Smith Park. This year’s festival runs from November 27, 2020 to January 8, 2021, from 4pm – midnight covering important holiday dates such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Orthodox Christmas.

The Lakeside Festival of Lights brings the citizens of Burlington safely together to reimagine Spencer Smith Park as a holiday lighting extravaganza. Groups of volunteers from local businesses, such as Burlington Taxi and King Paving, along with community volunteers come out to set-up the displays in the park. A fun fact about the festival displays is that the local high school T.A. Blakelock created the hockey display, “He Shoots, He Scores,” and are hard at work on new ones for future years.

But community involvement doesn’t stop there; local businesses help finance the cost of installing, removing, and maintaining the lights by sponsoring the Lakeside Festival of Lights. Some of our generous contributors include Burlington Taxi, TD Bank Group, Burlington Electricity Services Inc, BUNZL(Canada and the City of Burlington.

Sleigh trees display festival of lightsWays to experience the Festival

  1. Take a Stroll through the Festival: Enjoy a breath taking walk through the lighting displays at Spencer Smith Park with family, friends, or even by yourself. The bright lights and beautiful scenery of the lake will ease your mind and put you into the holiday spirit instantly!(Remember to physical distance)
  2. Cruise by the Festival: Want to appreciate the lights without feeling cold? Drive by Spencer Smith Park on Lakeshore Road for the perks of the spectacular sight without the frosty winter evening
  3. Join our Volunteer Team: What better way to experience the festival than by helping to make it happen. You can give back to the community, get volunteer hours, and of course, enjoy the lights! For 2020 set up there are plenty of positions:
    1. Festival Set-up Crew Member: set-up the lighting displays at Spencer Smith Park.
    2. Festival Take-down Crew Member: take-down the lighting displays at Spencer Smith Park.
    3. Festival Photographer: Take pictures of this year’s festival, includes the perk of making your own schedule.
    4. Festival Videographer: Similar to the Festival Photographer but take video footage instead.
    5. Twinkle Patrol and Site Safety: Patrol Spencer Smith Park to check for any obvious lighting malfunctions and to report any suspicious activity.
    6. Volunteer Coordinator: Help manage the volunteer list and training sessions.

Most of these positions run the entirety of the festival, so it’s never too late to volunteer! Also remember that you can always do more than one position! If you see a position you’re interested in contact me or apply through the Volunteer Halton website.

  1. Become a Sponsor: If you own a business and are looking to get involved in the Festival of Lights, sponsorship is a great way to do that. Reach out to me for more details!

Festival History

Lakeside Festival of Lights Nov 29 - Jan 8 colour logoIn 1995, the Burlington Downtown Business Association (BDBA) launched the first Lakeside Festival of Lights. It began with 12 displays and grew each year as new displays were developed and constructed by the BDBA and its group of community volunteers. The Festival of Lights was built on a foundation of community spirit and tradition thanks to the efforts of the BDBA.  The BDBA continued to oversee the Festival of Lights until 2012 when Burlington Electricity Services Inc. (BESI) took over as its coordinating body.

Since 2012, substantial effort has gone into rebuilding/upgrading displays to ensure the displays are safe (as per Electrical Safety Authority – ESA requirements). Additionally, inefficient lighting strands have now been replaced with highly efficient LED lighting on all of the displays. The 5-year improvement program has been extensive and has resulted in a standard of safety and efficiency that allows us now to move forward with growing the festival.

    The great thing about the festival is that it has something to offer for everyone in community, just choose one of the ways to experience it! For more details on the festival, visit our website!

    Lakeside Festival of Lights Nov 27 – Jan 8

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