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Inside Toronto’s new winter festival, with thousands of lights, a skating pond and a 180-foot-long tube slide

By Skyler Ash| Photography by Gabby Frank
Inside Toronto's new winter festival, with thousands of lights, a skating pond and a 180-foot-long tube slide

For the month of December, Ontario Place is being transformed into a winter wonderland straight out of your favourite Christmas movie. The Aurora Winter Festival features an entire light-filled holiday village with a maze of booths, food trucks, rides, music and photo-ops. Here’s a look inside the festival.

Yetis, Ice Queens and other winter-themed characters can be spotted roaming around the park. These mystic elves guard the festival entranceway leading to the Main Street Market:

Inside Toronto's new winter festival, with thousands of lights, a skating pond and a 180-foot-long tube slide

Main Street is lined with booths for local vendors. There are 30 vendors total, including fashion socks company Philosockphy, loungewear retailer Polar Piece and Holy Cannoli Toronto:

Inside Toronto's new winter festival, with thousands of lights, a skating pond and a 180-foot-long tube slide

There’s a mini midway with a merry-go-round, a ferris wheel and a Polar Express-style mini-train:

Inside Toronto's new winter festival, with thousands of lights, a skating pond and a 180-foot-long tube slide

Here’s the 180-foot-long tube side:

Inside Toronto's new winter festival, with thousands of lights, a skating pond and a 180-foot-long tube slide

The 10,000-square-foot skating pond is illuminated by a giant narwhal diving through the ice. There are nine giant light sculptures on site:

Inside Toronto's new winter festival, with thousands of lights, a skating pond and a 180-foot-long tube slide

Here’s the winter campfire pit. Instead of roasting marshmallows in T-shirts, visitors can take in the skyline over hot chocolate or mulled wine and Christmas music:

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Inside Toronto's new winter festival, with thousands of lights, a skating pond and a 180-foot-long tube slide

One section of the park has been turned into a whimsical, light-filled forest. Inside, there’s a ginger bread hut and a gnome village. Rumour has it that visitors who spot the Canadian gnome and touch his toque will have good luck for the holidays:

Inside Toronto's new winter festival, with thousands of lights, a skating pond and a 180-foot-long tube slide

Here’s the Disco Den. There’s a live Ice Elf DJ and a Dance Dance Revolution-style LED dance floor:

Inside Toronto's new winter festival, with thousands of lights, a skating pond and a 180-foot-long tube slide

This 20-meter-long light tunnel is ideally suited for photo-ops:

Inside Toronto's new winter festival, with thousands of lights, a skating pond and a 180-foot-long tube slide

Santa and his elves are on site for a story hour inside this snow globe-shaped workshop. There’s also holiday crafting and a letter writing station, so you can hand over your wish-list to the real deal instead of popping it in the mail:

Inside Toronto's new winter festival, with thousands of lights, a skating pond and a 180-foot-long tube slide

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