What to do over the holidays? Here are a few good ideas

If you need any pointers on how to spend the next couple of weeks around Ottawa, the team at Lagois Design-Build-Renovate has all kinds of ideas.

Each has holiday traditions they enjoy each year.

For Lagois Site Supervisor Gordon Shaw, the best family tradition is simply getting together and catching up. His family is spread out all over Canada, so these moments are extra special for him. He also loves to spend lots of “hockey” time with his son.

Lagois President Jacob Kirst’s family enjoys lights, skating, snowshoeing and Christmas markets.

Here are some of his favourites:

Magic of Lights

Wesley Clover Parks, west end Ottawa

to January 6, 2024

A dazzling drive-through light show benefitting children, youth and families at CHEO.

Winter Lights Across Canada

Ottawa and Gatineau

To January 7, 2024

Thousands of lights that brighten Canada’s Capital (Pathway of Lights map available)

Ottawa Christmas Market

Lansdowne in Glebe neighbourhood, a free family event.

To Dec. 23

European-style Christmas market—great food, warm drinks, traditional kiosks, live performances, local goods, glittering displays and a festive atmosphere at the outdoor plaza.

Snowshoe under the Stars

Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 5:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.

Starlight-guided snowshoeing adventure in the Gatineau Park on trail that takes you to a warm dinner prepared on a wood stove in the Lake Brown shelter.

Patinage en forêt

Monday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to sunset.

Skating through the forest in the heart of Lac des Loups


Lagois Lead Designer Jeff Hurdis is also a fan of beautiful lights. He likes these:

Alight at Night, Upper Canada Village, Morrisburg

Dec. 21 to 23; Dec. 26 to Jan. 6 (closed Dec. 24 and 25.) Note: tickets sell out quickly.

An enchantment of lights in an old-fashioned village.

Christmas Vacation house 18 Cypress Gardens, Stittsville, Ont.

Donations for the Stittsville food bank.

The Turcotte family of Stittsville has lit up their front yard with 5,000 lights in the theme of their favourite holiday movie, Christmas Vacation.


Thomas Tree Farm, North Gower, Ont. (very close to the Lagois office)

Cut or choose your own Christmas tree. Trees are shaken and baled for you.

Daytime: Thursday to Sunday, 9 am to 5 pm. Complimentary hot chocolate, multiple firepit areas, cut-your-own tree fields, wagon rides

Evenings: Thursday to Saturday, 5 pm to 8: 30 pm. Lights and pre-cut trees

Saunders farm, 7893 Bleeks Rd A, Ottawa

Christmas Country days to Dec. 23

Saturdays and Sundays 10 am – 4 pm

Thursday – Sunday 5 pm – 9 pm

A Country Christmas and whimsical winter wonderland


Jeff also suggests a visit to The Town of Almonte, which is beautiful at any time, but extra-special during the holidays. It’s no wonder it’s featured in several Hallmark movies. A stroll around town would be a perfect day trip.


Lagois Site Supervisor Tom Felts says a few things he and his family enjoy over the holidays have included:

Winterlude – “Outdoor snow slides with the kids at the Snowflake Kingdom, usually a fun day,” he says, “and we like all the ice sculptures.”

His family also enjoys the Mer Bleue conservation area where they can ski and feed the chickadees. “It’s cool,” he says, “because they’ll land on your hand to pick up a seed.”

Other activities Tom suggests:

Going for an ice skate at the canal (and getting Beaver Tails, of course) or at the Rink of Dreams at City Hall.

RiverOak skating trail in Kenmore.

Cross country skiing in the area

Larose Forest for skiing and snowshoeing.

Tobogganing at local hills

Project Development Coordinator Greg Fabris likes the Christmas market at Lansdowne, in particular the series of music shows and concerts. He suggests checking out shows at the National Arts Centre starting in January. “And of course, there’s skating on the canal and getting a Beaver Tail” – unless the weather doesn’t cooperate.


Production Manager Darren Vander Meer likes cross-country skiing at Ferguson Forest Centre that manages a network of beautiful nature trails. All marked trails are open to the public in all seasons, but at this time of year, they’re wonderful for snowshoeing and skiing.

Darren also enjoys snowboarding at Calabogie, Ont. At the base of Dickson Mountain on the shores of Calabogie Lake.


Here’s to a snowy season with lots of sunshine. But if it doesn’t happen like that this year, the whole Lagois team hopes you’ll enjoy family traditions (even if only indoors) with food, comfort, togetherness, and joy.