This November and December, head to Hamilton Halton Brant to shop handmade, celebrate the season, and be entertained. When you’re ready to ditch the mall there are plenty of options on the agenda, making it the perfect place to escape the stress of the holidays.
Celebrate the Season
As Christmas approaches, spark your seasonal spirit with unique holiday activities and events for the whole family.
Drive, walk or stroll at festive light shows at various bright and brilliant venues: Winter Lights at the Rock at Royal Botanical Gardens Rock Garden in Burlington (Fridays to Sundays, starting December 6); Brantford Lights at Glenhyrst in Brantford (Glenhyrst Art Gallery, starting November 29); and the Lakeside Festival of Lights in Burlington (Spencer Smith Park, starting November 29).
Bring the kids to Holiday Traditions at Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington for Santa experiences, to ride the RBG Holiday Express through beautiful Hendrie Park, and to marvel at the Escarpment Train and Botanical Train displays. The latter is constructed from over seven tons of cedar slabs, 3,000 pounds of rock and 250 feet of track, and features working model trains and famous Canadian landmarks from coast to coast.
Grown-up celebrations are also “on tap”, with the Fest-of-Ales (November 29 & 30, Royal Botanical Gardens’ RBG Centre, Burlington), the 5th annual celebration of Ontario’s independent craft breweries. Over two nights, guests are welcomed into the stunning surroundings of the RBG Centre to enjoy the best beer the region has to offer. Entrance to the event includes a mug, six 5oz samples, and access to vendors and experts. After enjoying the vibes of the house DJ, make sure to take the opportunity to experience train and greenhouse tours while on site.
If you’re looking for a break from the holiday stress, ditch the mall and be entertained by live music and fun diversions in Hamilton Halton Brant. The Oakville Performing Arts Centre, First Ontario Arts Centre in Milton, Burlington Performing Arts Centre and Sanderson Centre in Brantford all have jam-packed schedules including crooner Matt Dusk, homegrown favourites Cowboy Junkies, kid approved Sesame Street Live and holiday favourites like The Nutcracker, Andy Kim and the Barra MacNeils. Classical music aficionados won’t want to miss the Brott Music Festival, the largest orchestral music festival in Canada featuring an eclectic mix of orchestral, chamber, jazz, pops, opera and education concerts at various venues. Its 2019 Music Education concerts will take place in November at the First Ontario Concert Hall and the performance of Messiah (December 2, Hamilton) is sure to be a holiday highlight.
Music fans will be intrigued by the Part of the Machine: Rock & Pinball exhibit, a Canadian premiere from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, at the Joseph Brant Museum. The interactive exhibition features rock-themed, playable pinball machines alongside merchandise and artefacts related to artists and bands. The exhibition runs through January 12.
Shop Beyond the Mall
Hamilton Halton Brant is the perfect place to check off your holiday shopping list with unique and one-of-a-kind items available at handmade and art events. In Burlington, Burlington Made (McMaster Ron Joyce Centre, November 29 & 30) offers a holiday market with a highly curated selection of 60 makers and artists. The Artisan Bazaar offers unique handmade wares directly from makers at Royal Botanical Gardens with an early bird (November 17) and night owl show (December 13).
Head to Hamilton for Craftadian Made in Hamilton (McMaster Innovation Park, December 7) and browse 60+ local makers from the Hamilton Wentworth Region. The Makers’ Market (Christ’s Church Cathedral, December 6 & 7) features original merchandise that supports the local arts community at its indoor holiday market, and Handmade Hamilton (Staircase Theatre, December 7 & 8) brings together the best creative makers in beautiful vintage buildings.