This weekend, my family and I ventured out in to the winter wonderland of Luminaria. It was like a dream. Lights and snow as far as the eye could see. The lights danced on the building in the Aga Khan Garden as music played. “Princesses” (as my 2 year old called them) walked through gardens, cloaked in twinkling lights. It was my daughter’s sole mission to find them all lol. There was also an ice bar with frosty beverages for the adults, and hanging lights for the kids to play in. At the end of the trail, laid a restaurant of igloos for the Northern Lights Dining Experience. If you don’t already have tickets for this, it is now sold out, which is no surprise based on how beautiful it appears.
On the other side of the garden lies the Kurimoto Japanese garden. On your way, make a wish upon a star, and hang it on a tree. The path inside the garden is lined with candles in paper bags, giving the path a twinkling glow to lead your way. Grab a candle yourself and add it to the memory lane for a departed love one. Listen to the singers on the patio overlooking the garden, singing a cappella.
End, or begin, your night at the patio cafe for a hot chocolate or coffee to warm you up, or on that note, a beer or wine to warm you up as well lol. There are sweet treats like cookies and cotton candy to sooth your sweet tooth, or savoury treats like zwick’s pretzels or an Italian Center Sausage roll. The entire event (with exception of the washrooms) is outside, so dress warm, but there are also fire pits scattered along the path to warm your fingers and toes. This event it perfect for the whole family, or a romantic date night away.
In the darkest nights of winter, let the beauty of a snowy wonderland warm your heart.
Winter dreams of warmth and togetherness.
Winter is a time to dream and reflect.
Winter dreams of celebration
Celebrating 50 years of friendship.
2021 marks a significant milestone year for the Friends of the University of Alberta Botanic and as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations, the Friends are co-hosting Luminaria.
Luminaria runs every evening November 27, 2021 through January 9, 2022 (except December 25), from 5 to 10 pm. Tickets need to be purchased online with a date and entry time selected.
Adult | $21.00
Senior (65+) | $17.00
Student | $16.00
Child 3-12 | $11.00
Child 2 and under FREE
Friends of the Garden Members and Garden Annual Passholders | $16.00
Entry times are staggered every half hour, starting at 5 pm, with last entry at 8:30 pm. Capacities are limited to allow for physical distancing. You will be asked to select an entry time while completing the registration for your ticket.
– there are no shuttles for the event this year – a vehicle is required to get to the Garden. Parking is free.
– the University of Alberta has a mandatory proof of vaccination policy in place – all visitors (except children under 12) are required to show proof of vaccination at the Gate. Read the policy here.
Nov. 27 – Jan. 9 – Northern Light Dining Experience. (SOLD OUT) Indulge in a gourmet three-course fondue dinner in a private dining dome nestled in the snow, with views to the stars and just a short walk from the lights, candles and displays of Luminaria – admission to Luminaria is included with your dinner package.
Dec. 16, 17 & 18 – Indigenous Dark Sky Storytelling. Come join Mackenzie Brown for a truly unique and personal experience through drumming, singing and interactive star creation storytelling. Bring your camping chair and blanket and sit by the fire. $5 per person. Pre-registration is required, when you book your Luminaria ticket. 45-minute performances start at 6, 7:15 and 8:15 pm.
Dec. 21 & 31 – Friends’ “Light Up in the Dark” Nights – The Friends of the Garden encourage visitors who plan to come on these nights to “light up” and add to the festive atmosphere. It’s as simple as adding a string of battery pack lights to your hat or scarf before you come, and contributing to the sparkle of Luminaria! On these nights, in the spirit of 50 years of friendship and support from the Friends, we encourage you to write a message to one of your friends and hang it on the Wish Trees.