The Municipality of Port Hope is ready to kick off the holiday season with a variety of modified festive events and activities that can be done safely. COVID-19 guidelines in place for all listed events and activities.

Candlelight Festival

The annual Candlelight Festival is a holiday experience that invites everyone to explore the seasonal transformation of downtown Port Hope.

The 2021 Candlelight Festival has been modified again this year to include a selection of virtual, self-guided, and in-person activities. However, the Candlelight Walk and park lighting ceremony components have been postponed for another year.

On the schedule, residents and visitors can expect to see:

  • It's all right here in Port Hope – The festivities kick off in downtown Port Hope on Friday, November 26 at 5:00 p.m. At night, there will be a vendor market (say hello to Port Hope Council as they distribute free hot chocolate), carriage rides, magical light displays and live music at the bandshell.
  • Enhanced holiday decor and light displays in the downtown core – Enjoy the beautiful and festive holiday light displays in Memorial and Rotary Parks. During the dark winter nights, the illuminated park features bring a sense of joy and enchantment to our downtown. There will also be music at the park, on select days this winter, as you stroll through the holiday light display.
  • Illuminated public spaces – The 2021 Holiday Light Display will feature four new illumination enhancements at Jacob's Ladder, Oliver's Ladder, Farley Mowat Park and in three Memorial Park maple trees. These light installations were designed by artist Dian Carlo.
  • Interactive art installations in Lent Lane and Memorial Park – On November 26, Critical Mass Art will host a nocturnal spectacle outside the Little Station in Lent Lane, on an 8' by 8' screen, featuring projected and live-typed word play by local writers, poets and artists. You can also leave a message of Hope, Love, Peace and Joy on the new 4 paneled chalkboard in Memorial Park. This new installation was created by the local FBC Port Hope and will be available throughout the duration of the holiday light display from November 26 until January 2.
  • Pop up holiday markets – There will be five occurrences of an outdoor marketplace in Lent Lane. On the select dates and times, discover the unique offerings of many one-of-a-kind vendors. Visit downtown Port Hope for all your holiday shopping needs.
  • 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 26 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
    • Saturday, December 4 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
    • Saturday, December 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
    • Saturday, December 18 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The pick-up location is Walton Street Bridge, just east of Queenies Bake Shop. Carriage rides are free and will run in a loop through downtown Port Hope. The carriage can hold up to 4 people at a time. COVID-safe protocols are in place.

For a full list of Candlelight Festival offerings, visit

Santa Claus Parade

The 85th annual Santa Claus Parade is coming to town on November 27 at 1:00 p.m. The parade returns this year with the traditional format and route, starting at Ridout Street along Walton Street to Queen Street, and then south to Augusta Street.

The Provincial government has removed capacity limits at outdoor, organized public events and the parade has been organized within the provincial guidelines.

Parade participants and spectators are encouraged to stay on Santa’s “Nice List” by following the mandated provincial protocols:

  • Avoid gathering where possible – the parade route is long, and spectators are encouraged to spread out where possible
  • Maintain physical distancing of 2 metres from those not in your household
  • Wear a mask – even though this event is outdoors, please wear a mask along the parade route

Free ROLLS Transit

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 to December 31.

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

Tammie’s Jammies

The Port Hope Police Service pajama drive “Tammie’s Jammies” is back for 2021. Last year, 425 pairs of pajamas were collected for children at the Highland Shores Children's Aid. If you would like to donate, new pajamas (for a child aged newborn to 18) can be dropped off at the Port Hope Police Station, Giant Tiger, Independent Grocer, Queenies Bake Shop, the Candlelight Festival vendor market, and on any Port Hope transit bus until December 20.

Holiday Activities with Parks, Recreation and Culture

Parks, Recreation and Culture staff are generating some holiday spirit with some festive activities for all to enjoy. Including:

  • Festive Fun Day – Get active with your family this holiday season and join us for a variety of FREE activities. There will be swimming, skating, holiday crafts and visits with Santa at the Jack Burger Sports Complex on Sunday, December 5 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Masks are mandatory, except when swimming or while skating.
  • Free swim, skate and gym drop-ins – The whole family can enjoy a variety of free drop-in experiences generously sponsored by Dr. Alban Merepeza, Elliott Insurance and Acme Electric Port Hope. Visit the events calendar for the full schedule. 
  • Holiday workshops – Children ages 6 to 12 will work on an instructional craft that could be brought home or be given as a gift to family or friends. There will also be more advanced workshops for ages 16+. Registration is required.
  • Free Film Series – Enjoy a free holiday film at the Capitol Theatre. This boxing day (December 26) at 1:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m., you can view the 1992 Muppets Christmas Carol. This film series is free but please reserve your seats on the Capitol Theatre website.

Visit for the full list of activities and detailed schedules being offered by the Parks, Recreation and Culture staff.

There is plenty more holiday programming being offered throughout the community to help you find that festive feeling this season. Follow the Candlelight Festival Facebook event for regular updates and check the events calendar for a full list of local activities.