Lumina Borealis at Kingston


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Festival highlights

Ready for a winter wonderland that will make your heart skip a beat? Lumina Borealis in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, usually turns the icy months into a festival of lights straight out of a fairy tale. However, it’s important to note that the festival is not taking place this year. Be sure to keep an eye on announcements for its much-anticipated return, as this is one sparkling spectacle you won’t want to miss.


Lumina Borealis at Kingston

About the Festival

Lumina Borealis is far from your average holiday lights event. This festival celebrates the symphony of light, innovation, and the holiday season in an experience that captures the imagination and tugs at the heartstrings. When you step into the mesmerizing world of Lumina Borealis, you’re not just observing light displays—you’re becoming part of a vibrant narrative told through luminosity and art.

Featured Lighting Displays:

  • Animation and Projection Mapping: Watch as walls and surfaces come alive with intricate animated stories.
  • Glowing Christmas Trees: Not just your ordinary twinkle lights trees, but radiant arboreal spectacles that stand as glowing guardians of the festival.
  • Light Art Installations: Walk through tunnels and fields of radiant art that offer a unique visual treat.
  • Lanterns: Delicate and dreamy, these lanterns fill the air with a soft, ethereal glow.
  • Interactive Light Wall: Get hands-on with a wall where your touch changes the colors and patterns of the lights.

Activities to Explore:

  • Warming Up at the Fire Pit: Cold? The communal fire pit offers warmth and an inviting place for social interaction.
  • Taking Photos: The festival is a photographer’s paradise, with endless opportunities to capture the enchantment.
  • Interacting with Immersive Light Exhibitions: Step into installations where your movements and choices shape the light around you.

With so much to see and do, Lumina Borealis isn’t just a light festival—it’s a place where the wonders of technology, art, and the holiday spirit converge to create an unforgettable winter experience.

Festival Dates

Before you mark your calendar or start planning your frosty adventures, it’s essential to note that Lumina Borealis will not be illuminating our lives this year. Yes, you read that right—unfortunately, this enchanting festival of lights is taking a hiatus. Light enthusiasts should remain on high alert for an announcement from the organizers about its much-anticipated return. 

However, if you’re wondering about the festival’s typical schedule, it usually lights up the winter skies from December to February, based on previous years. So, keep your eyes peeled for updates, and your scarves and mittens at the ready for the festival’s return.

Please check out the Toronto festival of lights

Where It’s Located and How to Get There

When Lumina Borealis is in season, the historic Fort Henry becomes more than just a landmark—it transforms into a canvas for the festival’s mesmerizing light displays. Nestled in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, this storied setting adds depth to the festival’s innovative installations. The fort’s aged stone walls and vintage architecture juxtaposed against the modern light art create an unforgettable ambiance.

Address: Fort Henry, 1 Fort Henry Drive, Kingston, ON K7K 5G8, Canada

Being at Fort Henry offers the rare experience of stepping back in time while being firmly rooted in the present, all thanks to the festival’s magical outdoor lighting. So, when the festival makes its much-awaited return, you’ll know exactly where to find this unparalleled blend of history and illumination.

The nearest airport to Fort Henry is Kingston Norman Rogers Airport, located approximately 11 miles away from the festival’s iconic venue. Visitors have multiple options to get to Fort Henry from the airport, including taxis, ride-sharing services like Uber, or even car rentals for those who prefer a more private mode of transportation. If you’re looking to blend convenience with comfort, hiring a taxi or using a ride-sharing service is often the most straightforward way to reach the festival grounds.

Getting to Kingston, Ontario by Train from Other Cities:

  • From Toronto: The VIA Rail offers a Toronto to Kingston route that takes approximately 2-3 hours. Trains depart from Toronto’s Union Station.
  • From Ottawa: A 2-hour train ride from Ottawa via VIA Rail will bring you to Kingston. The trains often leave from Ottawa Train Station.
  • From Montreal: You can board a VIA Rail train from Montreal’s Central Station. The ride typically takes 2.5 to 3 hours.
  • From Quebec City: First, take a train to Montreal, then connect to Kingston. The whole journey could take up to 5 hours.
  • From Vancouver: For long-haul adventurers, there’s a cross-country train from Vancouver to Kingston, but it’s a lengthy journey, taking upwards of 4 days.

Remember to check the respective train company’s official website for up-to-date information on train schedules and ticket prices.

Where to Sleep – Hotels Nearby

When the lights go out at the festival, you’ll want a cozy spot nearby to continue your dreamy Kingston experience. Here are some top hotel recommendations:

The Rosemount Inn

  • Location: 46 Sydenham St South, Kingston, ON K7L 3H1, Canada
  • Description: This cozy Victorian hotel mirrors the magical ambiance of Lumina Borealis, offering guests a historical charm coupled with modern comfort.
  • Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, on-site spa services, and a complimentary gourmet breakfast are just some of the perks that make staying here a treat.

Four Points by Sheraton

  • Location: 285 King St E, Kingston, ON K7L 3B1, Canada
  • Description: Situated in downtown Kingston, Four Points by Sheraton offers a blend of modern amenities and warm hospitality that will make your stay enjoyable.
  • Amenities: Expect free Wi-Fi, an indoor pool, fitness center, and an on-site restaurant that serves both local and international cuisine.

Green Acres Inn

  • Location: 2480 Princess St, Kingston, ON K7M 3G4, Canada
  • Description: Green Acres Inn offers a homely spot for travelers, making it a perfect place to unwind after your dreamlike journey at the festival.
  • Amenities: Enjoy free Wi-Fi, an outdoor pool, and kitchenettes in select rooms, allowing for a more extended, comfortable stay.

Festival Hours

During its active seasons, Lumina Borealis knows precisely when to spread its magic. The festival lights up the historic Fort Henry from 5:15 PM to 9:00 PM. These hours are carefully selected to ensure that visitors get to experience the full impact of the outdoor lighting as it stands in stark, beautiful contrast to the winter’s evening sky. The timing also allows for a cozy yet thrilling night out, long enough to explore all the displays and activities but early enough to keep the younger visitors in good spirits. 

So, when the festival returns, plan your evening to immerse yourself fully in this luminescent wonderland.

Cost to Visit

As we all wait with bated breath for the announcement of the festival’s return, the ticket pricing remains a question mark for this year. However, to give you an idea of what to budget for when the time comes, here are the ticket prices based on previous festivals:

  • Adults: $16
  • Children (6 to 12 years): $12
  • Children (Under 6 years): Free

These prices offer a fairly economical way to engage with stunning light installations, interactive exhibitions, and all the other magical features Lumina Borealis has to offer. Make sure to stay updated on the official website or social media channels for the most current information on ticketing when the festival makes its eagerly awaited comeback.

Weather and What to Wear

The festival’s previous run from December to February coincides with the coldest months in Kingston, Ontario. The temperatures during this period can range from a low of 15°F (-9°C) to a high of 30°F (-1°C). Snowfall is common, and the air often has a crisp, wintry chill. The nights, in particular, can get quite cold, so it’s essential to be prepared if you’re planning to enjoy the full breadth of the festival’s outdoor lighting wonders.

Recommended Clothing:

  • Thermal Layers: Start with a thermal shirt and leggings to trap heat close to your body.
  • Waterproof Outerwear: A waterproof jacket will keep you dry during snowfall.
  • Insulated Boots: Opt for waterproof, insulated boots to keep your feet warm and dry.
  • Gloves: Choose insulated, waterproof gloves for hand warmth.
  • Scarves and Neck Gaiters: To protect against wind chill around your neck and face.
  • Beanie or Winter Hat: A lot of body heat is lost through the head, so a warm hat is a must.
  • Thick Socks: Wool or thermal socks add an extra layer of warmth.

What to Eat

After a night of wandering through a glowing wonderland, you’ll likely have worked up an appetite; here’s where you can satiate it.

Dianne’s Fish Shack & Smokehouse

  • Location: 195 Ontario St, Kingston, ON K7L 2Y7, Canada
  • Description: A haven for seafood lovers, Dianne’s offers a laid-back atmosphere with a maritime vibe that will make you feel as though you’ve set sail.
  • Foods They Serve: From freshly shucked oysters to sumptuous lobster rolls and smoked fish, there’s something to tickle every pescatarian’s palate.

Atomica Pizza & Wine Bar

  • Location: 71 Brock St, Kingston, ON K7L 1R8, Canada
  • Description: This stylish yet cozy spot caters to pizza enthusiasts with a flair for the gourmet.
  • Foods They Serve: Apart from an array of mouth-watering pizzas, they also offer pasta, risotto, and a generous selection of wines to complement your meal.

Toucan Pub

  • Location: 76 Princess St, Kingston, ON K7L 1A5, Canada
  • Description: The Toucan Pub offers a warm, casual setting where local flavors meet an extensive beverage menu.
  • Foods They Serve: From classic pub fare like fish and chips to more adventurous dishes featuring local ingredients, this pub has it all—paired, of course, with an array of beers and cocktails.

More Things To Do In The Area

While the festival of lights is undoubtedly the star of the show, Kingston offers a variety of other attractions to make your visit truly memorable.

Kingston Waterfront

  • Location: Ontario St, Kingston, ON K7L 2Y7, Canada
  • Description: The Kingston Waterfront serves as a peaceful getaway right in the heart of the city, offering panoramic views of Lake Ontario.
  • Activities: Enjoy a leisurely stroll, engage in watersports, or simply sit and watch the sunset; this spot is perfect for unwinding and taking in natural beauty.

Bellevue House National Historic Site

  • Location: 35 Centre St, Kingston, ON K7L 4E5, Canada
  • Description: Step back in time at this meticulously preserved site, which once served as the home of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister.
  • Activities: Take guided tours to learn about Canadian history, explore the Victorian garden, and participate in interactive exhibitions that bring the past to life.

Agnes Etherington Art Centre

  • Location: 36 University Ave, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada
  • Description: This art center is a cultural feast for art enthusiasts, offering an array of exhibitions that span various art forms and eras.
  • Activities: Wander through multiple galleries featuring everything from contemporary art to historical collections, attend art talks, or participate in hands-on workshops.

A Final Sparkle: Wrapping Up the Unforgettable Experience at Lumina Borealis at Kingston

As we await the return of Lumina Borealis, the anticipation only adds to its allure. This festival has not only illuminated the historic Fort Henry but also the hearts of countless visitors who have experienced its unique blend of light, art, and wintry magic. While the lights may be temporarily dimmed, the memories and the hope for its grand comeback continue to shine brightly in our hearts.


Is there parking available near Lumina Borealis?

While the festival is not taking place this year, in previous years, ample parking was available near Fort Henry. It’s always best to check the official Lumina Borealis website for the most current information on parking facilities.

Is the festival a smoking-free zone?

Yes, in past events, Lumina Borealis has been a smoke-free zone. Be sure to keep an eye on the festival’s official website for any updated policies for future editions.

Are pets allowed?

Pets have not been allowed at Lumina Borealis in previous years, so it’s advised to make other arrangements for your furry friends. As always, consult the festival’s official website for the most recent guidelines.

What’s the refund policy for tickets?

Since Lumina Borealis is not happening this year, no tickets are currently available for purchase. Historically, the festival has had a no-refund policy, but for the most accurate and up-to-date information, visit their official website.

Is the festival wheelchair accessible?

In previous years, the festival has been wheelchair accessible. However, it’s crucial to keep updated with the latest information on their website for any changes.

Are there any age restrictions?

Lumina Borealis is a family-friendly event. Children under the age of 6 have usually entered for free, but again, always refer to the official website for the most current information.

Can I bring my own food and beverages?

The festival has had various food vendors in the past, and bringing your own food and beverages has generally not been allowed. Be sure to check the festival’s official website for any updated guidelines on this matter.

Is photography allowed?

Photography has usually been permitted, and it’s one of the best ways to capture the magic of the light displays. But remember, for the most up-to-date information, it’s always best to check the festival’s official website.

We all eagerly await the return of Lumina Borealis, and in the meantime, we recommend staying updated by visiting their official website for the most current information.


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