Winter Festival of Lights of Niagara Falls Image by Kimb0leneA true winter tradition for people visiting Niagara Falls, the CAA Winter Festival of Lights is expected to attract over 1.3 million people to experience North America’s premier illumination festival from Nov. 5 to Jan. 31, 2012.

The Festival’s heart and soul is the 120 stunning displays located along the world-famous Niagara Parkway – known throughout the Festival as the Niagara Parks Winter Wonderland. Consisting of over 3 million individual lights, they depict famous animated characters, religious displays, wildlife depictions and scenes from local historic events like the War of 1812. An extension to the illumination route takes visitors into the heart of historic downtown Niagara Falls. Known as Santa’s Village on Queen Street, it features illuminated street-archways, storefronts and decorated store windows.

The Religions of the World illumination area is located south of Clifton Hill and features an illumination depicting Mary and Joseph’s trek to Bethlehem to represent Christian faiths, a giant menorah in honour of Judaism, and an illuminated representation of the Pilgrimage to Mecca in honour of the Islamic faith. The Festival also has an angelic Nativity Scene located at Christ Church on the Niagara Parkway north of the Rainbow Bridge, and a Noah’s Ark display within Dufferin Islands. Home to the Festival’s homage to Canada’s wilderness heritage, Dufferin Islands’ illuminations depict moose, buffalo, wolves, bears, beavers, deer and Canada geese, which can be found amongst the many illuminated trees. While enjoying them is free, donations are gratefully accepted at Dufferin Islands. Every penny collected is used to add displays and to provide maintenance and refurbishment of existing displays.

The TD RINK at the Brink invokes that quintessentially Canadian pastime of ice skating under an open sky. Visitors will enjoy the wonderful experience of ice skating just a snowball’s throw away from the Falls from Dec. 1 to Feb. 29, 2012.

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Winter Festival of Lights of Niagara Falls is free