For Immediate Release: November 24, 2023
Event Dates: Friday December 1st and Saturday December 2nd
Location: Downtown Guelph
On Friday, December 1st, and Saturday, December 2nd, historic Downtown Guelph will be aglow with the Spirit of the Season, uniting our community in a joyous celebration of the approaching winter season.
This extraordinary two-day festival combines the Guelph Community Santa Parade, the Mayor and Council Tree Lighting ceremony, and introduces two delightful holiday shopping markets. The heart of Downtown will come alive with a splendid display of entertainment, luminous decorations, and an added touch of magic to enhance this special time of year. Proceeds generated from this year's festival will contribute to the Home for Good campaign.
St. George's Square will be transformed by bespoke wooden chalets, mirroring the enchanting atmosphere of a European-style outdoor market. Here, you can indulge in delectable treats like fondu, apple cider and crepes while perusing unique, seasonal gifts. Buy your festive decor from Royal City Nursery as they transform the family fountain with their yuletide adornments.
Get a sneak peek of Santa as he takes a break from the North Pole and joins us in a magnificent snow globe in front of Buon Gusto on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. Be dazzled by a Fire Circus on Friday night set against the backdrop of Old Quebec Street Shoppes, and enjoy traditional songs from carollers and a choir on Saturday afternoon.
As Saturday evening approaches, don your coziest attire and prepare for an illuminating experience. Thousands of glow sticks will be handed out to spectators on the parade route starting from 4:45 pm, setting the stage for the grand spectacle of hundreds of runners dressed in red and white Santa suits participating in The Santa Road Race. All proceeds from this race will go towards supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guelph, and registration remains open until race day. Arrive early, grab a steaming beverage from a Downtown business, cheer on the runners, and savour the entertainment.
At 5:15 pm, have your letters to Santa and non-perishable items at the ready, as Canada Post and the Guelph Food Bank head down the parade route. The parade commences at 5:30pm, embarking from Woolwich Street at Powell Street and concluding at Wyndham Street, near the railway bridge. You can find the parade route map here. Expect to be delighted by the presence of the Grinch, dancing unicorns, and some festive cows eager to serve chocolate milk.
As the parade winds down, be sure to wave to Santa Claus as he passes by, marking the culmination of the parade and the beginning of the Mayor and Council Tree Lighting event at City Hall on Carden Street. Acting Mayor Dan Gibson, his guests and Santa will take to the stage to illuminate the tree before enjoying a performance by the Guelph Community Band.
“This two-day event is a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday season. By combining the Santa Claus Parade, tree lighting, and night markets we’re transforming Downtown Guelph into an interactive destination for all ages and tastes,”
says Mayor Cam Guthrie.
“This is a great opportunity to come downtown with family or friends, donate to the Home for Good campaign, get in the spirit of the season, do some shopping, and try out a local restaurant or cafe.”
Spirit of the Season is hosted by the Downtown Guelph Business Association, the Guelph Community Foundation and the City of Guelph, and presented by Co-operators. The Home for Good Campaign is a partnership between The Guelph Community Foundation and United Way of Guelph Wellington Dufferin.
The Campaign will raise $5 million to invest in permanent supportive housing projects to help people experiencing homelessness in Guelph and Wellington.