The Municipality of Port Hope is set to kick off the holiday season with modified festive events and activities that can be done safely, with mandated COVID-19 restrictions in place.

Candlelight Festival - Beginning November 27

This year’s modified Candlelight Festival is a promotion that invites the public to explore the seasonal transformation of downtown Port Hope, beginning on November 27.

Aligning with the Government’s mandate to maintain physical distancing, the 2020 Candlelight Festival has been modified to include both virtual and self-guided activities. Unfortunately, the Candlelight Walk and park lighting ceremony have been cancelled.

Despite the changes made to the event, residents and visitors can expect to see and enjoy:

  • Enhanced holiday decor in the downtown core. The Heritage Business Improvement Area has been busy installing lights in Lent Lane, and hand-painted ornaments (painted by Trinity College School students) on parking meters. Wreaths are up on light standards; shop windows are getting festive and the Port Hope Garden Club has once again decorated planters throughout the downtown that bring local greenery to our heritage streets.

  • A new art installation in Lent Lane. Critical Mass Art has designed an art installation in Lent Lane that intends to bring you inspiration to colour the floara and fauna of Port Hope. You can colour your own version of free postcards created by Critical Mass and send it to a friend or loved one. Critical Mass will display copies of your coloured postcards in a digital gallery and at the Little Station in Lent Lane. Residents and visitors will also be invited to pose in front of the ‘Colour Me, Port Hope’ illustrated selfie panels on display. Visit the Critical Mass Art webpage for details.

  • Carriage rides. Take a ride on a horse-drawn carriage throughout the downtown this holiday season. The rides are being provided by Top Notch Carriage Service on four different dates:
    • Friday, November 27 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
    • Saturday, December 5 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
    • Saturday, December 12 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
    • Saturday, December 19 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The pick-up location is Rotary Park, on Queen Street, right across the road from Memorial Park.

COVID-safe protocols are in place, limiting riders to the same family or social bubble; the carriage can hold up to four people at a time. Riders are encouraged to wear a mask (or face-covering) while waiting to board and while on the carriage. Please practice patience and safe physical distancing while in the line-up. One member from each family must sign-in before boarding; hand sanitizer will be made available. Remember to dress warm. 

  • The annual light display in Memorial Park. Holiday lights will adorn the trees and bandshell in Memorial Park again this year. While the park lighting ceremony and the annual candlelight walk have been cancelled, residents are encouraged to visit Memorial Park from November 27 through until January 2 to soak up the sights of thousands of lights.

Santa Claus Parade - November 28 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The Santa Claus Parade is coming to Town on November 28, with a new, modified format. This year, the parade will be a reverse or “drive-by” parade in which spectators will be able to drive past a stationary display of festive floats, sights, and merriment.

The parade aligns with the government’s mandate to maintain physical distancing measures, and spectators will always remain in their own cars while enjoying the reverse parade.

The parade will be staged on the Access Road just off Baulch Road and spectators will drive along the Access Road, past the parade display, and exit at the end of the Access Road onto Toronto Road.

Note to Drivers:

  • Cars are to line up on Baulch Road (facing north) to enter the reverse parade route via the Access Road. Baulch Road can be accessed via Lakeshore Road.
  • Additionally, cars can line up on Marsh Road (facing east towards Baulch Road) to approach the main spectator lineup. Marsh Road can be accessed via Dickinson Road.
  • Please stay to the right-hand lane and do not block driveways.

Additional details, including a traffic flow map, can be found at the Port Hope Santa Claus Parade site.

Please be aware:

Due to the new reverse parade format, there will be a limit to the number of vehicles that are able to travel through the reverse parade route. Your patience and understanding is appreciated as the event organizers work through the logistics of the modified parade and safely offer this altered parade experience to our community.

Dog Park users are advised that there will be traffic delays along Baulch Road as a result of the spectator lineup between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Please plan accordingly to avoid any inconvenience.

Letters to Santa and Donations on Parade Route

In keeping with our annual tradition, letters to Santa will be collected by Canada Post on the reverse parade route to be mailed to the North Pole for Santa. Additionally, new, unwrapped toys will be collected for donation by the Municipality of Port Hope Firefighters and food donations will be collected by Northumberland Fare Share Food Bank. Each collection spot will be working within the guidelines outlined by the Provincial Government and has been approved as part of the reverse parade event plan.

Free ROLLS Transit December 1 – December 31

The Rotary Club of Port Hope has generously covered the cost of our ROLLS transit service for the month of December. Residents who are already enrolled as ROLLS members can enjoy the service without fees, beginning December 1 until December 31, 2020.

The usual ROLLS Transit standards apply, and COVID measures for riding Transit are in effect, including mandatory face-coverings while on the bus.

For details, contact the Transit Coordinator at 905-885-9891.

Holiday Activities with Parks, Recreation, and Culture

Parks, Recreation, and Culture Staff are drumming up some holiday spirit with COVID-Friendly activities for all to enjoy, including:

  • Holiday Kits: Holiday kits are being offered for purchase. These kits include a craft themed for Candlelight Festival, activities, games, and treats. The holiday kits will be $5 each and are for children ages 12 and under. The kits will be available for purchase beginning November 30 until December 11 and the kits will be available for Pick up on December 18 and 19. There are only 100 bags available, so order your kit early to avoid disappointment.

  • Festive Activities: Stay active this holiday season with a fun and festive list of activities prepared by our Parks, Recreation and Culture staff. The suggestions are for individuals and families to do on their own schedule both at-home and around town. 

Visit our Candlelight Festival page for more details about the holiday fun happening in Port Hope.

Other fun and festive youth events and programs can be found on our event calendar