Every year on Christmas Eve, we’d have dinner and then out to the Christmas Eve church services. After church, we’d take the long way home, looking for the best Christmas light displays in the city. It was magical.
I think Christmas lights are one of the best parts of Christmas magic. There’s something so calming and yet exciting about them all at once. Whether it’s a white lights making everything shine like the stars, brightly colored flashing lights to make you smile and laugh, or huge lit-up holiday figures, I think there’s a Christmas light display for everyone.
Years ago, here in London, Ontario, the London Transit Commission used to run bus tours of the best lights in the city. Volunteer drivers would take us around, pausing for oohhhs and ahhhs along the way. Sometimes the big man in the red suit even joined us at the end for hot cocoa and candy canes!
Unfortunately, the London Transit Commission no longer offers the bus tours of the local Christmas lights as described below.
However, I’ve gathered together a list for you of recommended light displays in the city. Scroll down to the end of the post for a printable list. I will continue updating the printable if I hear about any other noteworthy displays! Leave me a comment if you know of something missing.
LTC Tours of Christmas Lights in London Ontario
A few years ago, I went on a bus tour of the city to see the various Christmas light displays in London Ontario. It took us to see the lights downtown and through some London neighborhoods. These tours have been operated by the London Transit Commission on city buses throughout the month of December since 1995.
However, I had never actually heard of it before my local women’s group posted this as a meetup. Apparently the LTC doesn’t actively advertise these tours so it’s just spread through word of mouth by LTC drivers and those on the tour route!
Volunteers Make It Happen
Volunteer drivers help to keep the costs down. All you need to do is to get together a group of a minimum 25 participants. It’s only $2 a person. We were able to choose our desired pickup/drop off location, making it very convenient! The tour was roughly 2 hours long and began with circling around Victoria Park to see the gorgeous light displays there.
As an aside, did you know that the promenade deck at City Hall is open every night 7-11 pm from now until Christmas Eve? You can go there for an amazing overview of the park!
Then it was on to some East London neighborhoods! This included streets such as Duluth Crescent, Jena Crescent, Speight Boulevard, Martinet Place, Mountbatten Place, and Vancouver Street. I have to be honest – about halfway into the tour, we were all a bit disappointed.
In fact, my planned blog post at that time was going to be all about whether Christmas light displays were becoming extinct as we saw very few decorated houses. Oh, there was one house that rivalled the Griswold’s house in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation but the majority of the houses we saw were a letdown.
Christmas Lights Everywhere!
Then we got to Martinet Place and Jena Crescent and things began to turn around. There were Christmas lights everywhere! The bus driver even stopped a few times and let us get out to get a closer look and take pictures. One of the houses even had music coordinated with the flashing lights!
But, the piece de resistance was on Mountbatten Place. The bus pulled up in front of a very colourfully decorated house and stopped. Next thing we knew, we had a visitor join us on the bus. That’s right – Santa Claus himself! We all turned into little kids, excited and giggling as Santa walked down the aisle, handing out candy canes to each of us.
It was the perfect end to what ended up being a really fun outing for all ages!
Click on the image below for a printable copy of this year’s list. You can find more at the interactive Google map linked below.best-christmas-light-displays-london-ontario-2019-1
You can find the interactive Google map of London Christmas lights displays here!
I love the second house withe the reindeer flying off the roof! So festive Cyn!
Paula Schuck says
Hi! How much fun is that? I love it! Noting this so I can drive by these houses with my family. Thanks!
Annie @ It's just my life... says
so very cool!
My Mom went on the tour, second year for her and said it was amazing. She was totally impressed.
Can you please list all the streets you went to see on the tour?? I am trying to create a list….thanks so much
HI Jacklyn – Could you ever get a list of the roue to take for showing the best Christmas lights to family . I am trying to find a show my family the best decorated houses in the city so asking
Called up the bus service and they said you have to book a tour of 25 people
Cyn Gagen says
The only streets I know of are the ones listed in the blog post here. I didn’t go this year as we didn’t have a large enough group for it and this post was from last year. Sorry I can’t help any more than that!
Cyn Gagen says
The only streets I know of are the ones listed in the blog post. That was from last year and I can’t remember any more details than that now. Will the LTC give you a list if you call them?
Thank you for this. We went this year but I had no idea of the streets. That’s for the info. Merry Christmas!
Is anyone interested in forming a group to go on this tour?
Lori L. says
I think they do a similar tour in Winnipeg! We also have the Festival of Lights at the Assiniboia Downs and you pay per vehicle to drive through and see thousands of lights set up in colourful holiday displays. I love Christmas!