DEC 15 2023 - JAN 13 2024
    Thursdays - Sundays
  • 2023/24 THEME: EMERGENCE

    Just as something comes to light or shows up where there was darkness or nothing before, an emergence happens.
  • Come see Stratford in a different light!

    Stratford, Ontario, Canada
  • #LightsOnStratford
  • #LoveStratford

Lights On Stratford

TIAO Ontario Tourism Resiliency Award 2021 & 2022 for Innovation

Free to the public, Lights On Stratford will light up this winter starting December 15th, 2023 through to January 13th, 2024, Thursdays – Sundays from 5:00pm-10:00pm.

First launched in 2020 during the pandemic, the award-winning Lights On Stratford annual winter festival, brought to you by Destination Stratford, will once again transform Stratford’s heritage downtown core and park system with luminous art and interactive light installations.

The Lights On Stratford 2023/24 theme is EMERGENCE – Emergence is a noun that goes back to the Latin root emergere, meaning “bring to light.” Just as something comes to light or shows up where there was darkness or nothing before, an emergence happens.


Dandelion by Amigo & Amigo
Image courtesy of Amigo & Amigo

Announcing “Dandelion” Light Art Installation in Market Square this Winter!

“Dandelion” was launched to acclaim earlier this year at Vivid Sydney, one of the world’s preeminent light festivals. It is now journeying over 15,000 kms from Australia to Canada for its North American premiere at Lights On Stratford.

I’m thrilled to be returning for our second year at Lights On Stratford and to introduce ‘Dandelion’ for its North American debut. Originally commissioned for Vivid Sydney with an astounding 3.5 million visitors in front of the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge, our studio, Amigo & Amigo, has been fortunate to see our work travel across North America, Asia, and the Middle East,” said Simone Chua, Director of Amigo & Amigo.

Image courtesy of Amigo & Amigo

Inspired by the wind-swept petals (pappus) of the dandelion, an international symbol of playfulness, and in some cultures even believed to have medicinal properties, audience members are transported by the interactive Dandelion into the world of the fanciful and hopeful. Every 10 minutes, Dandelion boasts its natural talents to the audience, by spilling out into an eclectic and modern sound and light animation, inspired by wind, and the natural properties of the dandelion. Make a wish, take a deep breath, and come watch Dandelion blow!

Thank you Downtown Stratford BIA for being the Gold Sponsor of Dandelion and Market Square this winter.


Tom Patterson Island will once again be out of this world with the introduction of Lunar Lamp Posts and welcoming back the Solar System.

Space exploration will be a lot closer to home this winter. As one of the most popular light installations ever hosted at Lights On Stratford, we are excited to bring back the sun and planets to Tom Patterson Island, but this time we’re adding the spectacular Lunar Lamp Posts interactive light display, coming all the way from Australia.

With the overhead and bridge lighting added to the mix, these elements will all combine to create SPACE ISLAND. We can’t wait to welcome all travellers on the interstellar journey!



We are proud to announce that our interactive LightWall installation on the west façade of 70 Ontario Street will remain in place throughout the year. It is comprised of a series of 25’ tall LED pixel banners that project out from the heritage building with a stunning display of colour and movement, but also incorporates the ability for people to speak into the flower talk-tube sculpture to impact the light display in real-time. Now open year-round from 5:00pm to 10:00pm. Thank you to co-operators for being the Gold Sponsor for LightWall.



As in previous years, storefronts and locations throughout the City will be lit up with unique light displays and experiences, including HEART at the bandshell and the Perth County Courthouse Tower of Light.


Perth County Courthouse Tower of Light


Whether as a couple, family, with friends, or skating solo, come join the fun at our free public skating sessions under the lights! Bring your ice skates and glide under the lights at William Allman Memorial Arena, located along the Light Trail and widely considered one of the finest old arenas in Canada! Maximum capacity permitted on the ice is 170 people. First come first serve. Dates and times:

  • Friday Dec 15 3pm – 5pm (sponsored by Magest)
  • Friday Dec 22 3pm – 7pm (sponsored by Magest)
  • Saturday Dec 23 3pm – 5pm
  • Thursday Dec 28 6:30pm – 8:30pm
  • Saturday Dec 30 4pm – 6pm
  • Thursday Jan 4 6:30pm – 8:30pm
  • Friday Jan 12 3pm – 5pm
  • Saturday Jan 13 3pm – 6pm


Lights On Stratford Shuttle Buses

Building on the success of last year’s shuttle bus, we’re thrilled to announce that we’re partnering up with Stratford Transit to double the FREE hop-on-hop-off shuttle buses. These accessible (and heated!) shuttle buses are roving light displays that start at 5:00pm from the Downie Street Transit Terminal to main Lights on Stratford locations including Market Square (DANDELION), Tom Patterson Island (SPACE ISLAND), Veterans Drive Bandshell (HEART), Veterans Drive by York Street LIGHTWALL, and return. Shuttle service every 15 minutes between 5:00pm until 9:30pm (last bus leaves the terminal at 9:00pm). NOTE: No bus service on December 24th or 31st.


Lights On Stratford is brought to you by Destination Stratford, and our visitor welcome centre at 47 Downie St. across from City Hall will be open throughout the lights festival. Pop by to warm up, check out our office light displays, pick up maps, ask our staff any questions and use the accessible washroom.


Lights On Stratford is about making our community better, and each year we focus our fundraising efforts on a local charitable organization. This year we are proud to benefit the local Wellspring Cancer Support Centre and help support the incredibly meaningful work being done there for our community.

Festival patrons are encouraged to consider donating at any of the tap-to-pay stations located at each of the main Lights On Stratford locations. The first 200 donations of $10 or more made at the Destination Stratford office will receive a Rhéo Thompson Candies Chocolate Mint Smoothie!


  • We bring light and joy to Stratford’s public spaces.
  • We are free to the public and accessible for everyone to participate.
  • We are a cultural anchor tenant that enables additional events and experiences.
  • We celebrate and embrace winter.
  • We help grow a vibrant year-round visitor economy for the region.
  • We improve the quality of life within our community.

Stratford is home to some of the world’s best artists, lighting designers, props builders and creative minds. Lights On Stratford harnesses this precious resource of local talent, crafting a truly unique experience that can’t be found anywhere else.

Come see Stratford in a different light!

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram or X for stories, contests and more videos and photos.


Click or tap on the interactive map below to open up a new page where you can explore all the festival locations, and even track where you are along the Light Trail!

Interactive Map


The 4th annual Lights On Stratford is free to the public and launches on December 15th, 2023 through to January 13th, 2024 on Thursdays – Sundays from 5:00pm-10:00pm nightly including New Years Eve.

Stratford is a renowned cultural destination, including in the winter! While enjoying our lights, be sure to also check out some of this winter’s incredible events and experiences:

  • Stratford Chocolate Trail | It’s a good thing that exploring the Stratford Chocolate Trail Burns Calories!
  • Stratford Bacon & Ale Trail | The Bacon & Ale Trail is a well-rounded meal if you count barley as a vegetable
  • Stratford Self-Guided Audio Tours | Over 236 stops across 10 themed tours
  • Stratford Perth Museum will be offering complementary programming as part of the Lights On Stratford event. Unique seasonal events showcasing “The Power of Light” at the museum with feature special guests sharing Nightlight Stories and Young @ Art & Science activities available for all guests and families. For the duration of Lights On Stratford our Historic trails will be illuminated with free access to snowshoes for the walking trail. Visit the Stratford Perth Museum site for more details.
  • Gallery Stratford | One of Ontario’s longest-running public art galleries!
  • The Bunker Performance Lounge & Cafe
  • For a complete list of events, see visitstratford.ca/calendar

Best Western Plus The Arden Park Hotel

Package Includes:

  • One nights accommodation
  • Rheo Thompson chocolates
  • Two souvenir thermoses filled with hot beverage of your choice to enjoy while exploring the lights
  • Breakfast for 2 in our dining room

$239.00 Standard room
$259.00 Suite

Pricing is based on double occupancy, includes tax and gratuity.
Add a second night for $199 (standard), $219 (suite) breakfast included.
*OFFER VALID DEC 15 2023 – JAN 13 2024

The Bruce Hotel

Lights On Stratford special: book during the time of December 15th-January 15th and use the coupon code LIGHTSON23 to recieve a welcome cocktail and a complimentary item from our fireside menu to enjoy in the lobby or outdoors by our propane firepit tables!

Mercer Hotel

Lights On Stratford Mercer Hotel Special: $50 restaurant voucher, two mercer branded mugs, 2 mercer toques, Rheo Thompson hot chocolate, complementary parking and king room for $259!

Call (519)271-1888 or check our website mercer.ca to book

The Parlour Inn

Only $199 + taxes! Along with cozy overnight accommodations with a waiting welcome treat, you’ll also enjoy a $50 food credit to use towards a delicious dinner in the Parlour Inn Restaurant. Plus every day from 4-6 p.m., we’re hosting a hot beverage station in the lobby complete with apple cider or hot chocolate to help keep you toasty while you walk around downtown. theparlour.ca/getaways.htm

Black Swan Brewing

Details coming soon!

Visit blackswanbrewing.ca for more info and hours of operation.


A special Lights On Stratford wine flight that changes every week during the festival! $35 with 4 glasses at 3oz each.

Visit brchandwyn.ca for more info and hours of operation.

Bluebird Restaurant & Bar

Bluebird Restaurant & Bar is featuring an incredible Lights On-tini with Empress Gin, fresh lemon juice, egg white and elderflower liqueur. Yum! Visit bluebirdrestaurant.ca for more info and hours of operation.

El Cactus Taco Shop

Grab one of our margaritas bundles to go for $40!
This bundle is a perfect opportunity to try four of our signature flavours:
Coconut Lime.
Smoky Pineapple.
el Cactus Classic.

Visit elcactus.ca for more info and hours of operation.


Details coming soon!

Visit fellinisstratford.com for more info and hours of operation.

Illume Wellness Spa

Purchase $100 gift card, receive $115 in value, or
Purchase $150 gift card, receive $170 in value!

Visit illumespa.ca for more info and hours of operation.

The Livery Yard

The Glow Up
12 oz malted white hot chocolate with whip cream & sparkles! Visit The Livery Yard’s Instagram page for more info and hours of operation.

Matilda Gallery Art Bar

Details coming soon! Visit matildagalleryartbar.com for more info and hours of operation.

Mercer Kitchen + Beer Hall

Dress Your Own Hot Chocolate Bar

Velvety hot chocolate topped with your choice of sweet and salty treats.
Feel like celebrating? Add a shot of your favourite liqueur.
Dine in or Takeout
5pm – 10pm
Thursday – Sunday

Lights on Bento Box

Enjoy our popular sampling of some of Mercer’s favourite dishes in our Bento box. Karaage chicken pieces, peanut crunch salad, vegetable dumplings, steamed rice and a cup of miso soup.
Available during regular restaurant hours
7 days a week

Lights On Warm Cocktails

Warm Apple Pie Sangria
Mercer Boozy Coffee: Kahlua, Frangelico, Grand Marnier, Whipped Cream
11:30am – 10pm
7 days a week

Visit mercer.ca for more details!

Pazzo Pizzeria

Details coming soon!

Visit pazzo.ca for more info and hours of operation.

Poppin Kettle Corn

Cinnamon DeLIGHTS: A Lights On special feature of Cinnamon Sugar popcorn. 10 cups for only $6.99! Visit poppinkettlecorn.ca for more info and hours of operation.

Relic Lobby Bar

Details coming soon!

Visit therelicbar.ca for more info and hours of operation.

Sirkel Foods

Stop by Sirkel Foods for their delicious Lights-On-wich!

Red peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles, cheddar, mango mayo, alfalfa sprouts and lettuce. Yum!

Visit sirkelfoods.com for more info and hours of operation.

The Starlight

Details coming soon!

Visit thestarlightstratford.com for more info and hours of operation.

Whether you’re coming from Toronto or further afield, here’s how to get to Stratford and around town.

By Car

Approximate Driving Times to Stratford:

Toronto: 2 Hours  (Route Options)
Ottawa: 6 Hours  (Route Options)
Detroit: 3 Hours  (Route Options)
Buffalo: 3 Hours  (Route Options)
Chicago: 8 Hours  (Route Options)

U.S. Visitors to Stratford should also allow extra time for delays at border crossings. For requirements, including vaccination requirements, and wait times, visit Canada Border Services online. Please see our U.S. Visitor FAQ page for further information.

By Rail

PC Connect intercommunity bus service (Perth County, Stratford, St. Marys, Kitchener/Waterloo and London) | 1.888.465.0783
VIA Rail | 1.888.842.7245
U.S.A. Rail, Amtrak | 1.800.USA.RAIL (Connect in Toronto for Via Rail to Stratford)

By Air

Stratford Municipal Airport
Region of Waterloo International Airport  | 1.866.648.2256

Toronto Pearson International Airport | 1.866.603.4495
London International Airport  | 519.452.4015

Were you not able to attend the 2020, 2021 or 2022 winter festivals? Here are some highlight videos:


This festival is not possible without Stratford’s amazing community support. THANK YOU! Interested in sponsorship opportunities for the 2023/24 4th annual festival? Visit the Become A Sponsor page for more details.


Destination Stratford
City of Stratford
Downtown Stratford BIA


Stratford Festival
The Rutherford Group
Stratford Crane Rental Ltd
Bespoke Audio Visual




Downtown Stratford BIA


Orr Insurance


Perth County


Queen's inn


GA Equipment Rentals Inc.


The Arden Park Hotel
Rheo Thompson Candies
Cafe Bouffon
Neumeister Motors
Stratford Orthodontics
Festival Hydro
Pazzo Pizzeria


Uniac Insurance
A.J. Braun
Mornington Communications
Stratford Motor Products
Little Big Creative


Arden Park Dental
White Balmer Shoes
Stratford KIA
Home & Company
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada
Famme & Co.
MacLeods Scottish Shop
Excalibur Insurance
Core Fuels
Georgian Bay Fire & Safety
Mosaic Outfitters
Akins Brewer
Nix Snow
Stratford Home Hardware Building Centre
Century Design Build LTD.
Black Angus Bakery & Catering
The Image Factory


This event has been financially assisted by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund a program of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation


Festival Director

Zac Gribble

Email Zac for media enquiries, tourism and festival-related questions.

General Manager

Kaileigh Krysztofiak

Email Kaileigh for operational questions.

Sponsorship Manager

Lindsey Martchenko

Email Lindsey for corporate sponsor opportunities.