The tradition returns home, as Bright Lights Windsor is back at Jackson Park to dazzle and inspire visitors from December 2, 2021, to January 9, 2022. The City adapted to a “citywide” format last year in response to public health guidelines for gatherings during the pandemic. This year, with improving pandemic conditions, the annual event returns to its traditional central location.
On November 4, 2021, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit advised as follows:
“O.Reg 364/20 under the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020 has been further amended to remove capacity limits for outdoor organized public events (such as outdoor parades, outdoor memorial services and other similar events), and requires a mask be worn if physical distancing of two metres is not possible. In addition, to align with the proposed lifted capacity for outdoor organized public events, outdoor capacity limits in most other sectors where they remain are now lifted.”
At Bright Lights Windsor 2021, COVID-19 safety precautions will be top of mind. Enhanced measures are subject to change but will include the following:
Directional signage to manage the one-way flow of people;
Properly spaced attractions to avoid traffic jams and gatherings;
WE Made It: Holiday Market to have increased spacing between vendors to allow for physical distancing; and
Masks required to be worn when physical distancing of two metres is not possible.
Here are a few highlights of what’s in store for this year’s festival:
Following this year’s theme, “Walking in a Windsor Wonderland,” the event pathway will guide you through a series of festive and seasonally themed displays: Wish Upon a Star, Winter Wonderland, Candy Cane Lane, Santa’s Stable, Peace & Love Around the World, and W.E. the North. Opportunities to be wowed at every turn and excellent settings for the perfect picture – including some fun new selfie stations – will be abundant.
The WE Made It: Holiday Market returns, sponsored by Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island in partnership with the Urban Art Market, Rose City Etsy Team and WindsorEats. The full holiday market will be open Fridays and Saturdays, with a partial market for food and beverages operating during the week. Along with the market, several excellent local food and beverage options will be available.
Sensory friendly “Silent Nights” are offered on Tuesday evenings. The lights will be on, but sound will be muted and strobe elements paused so the display can be enjoyed in a peaceful environment that is accommodating to sensory sensitivities.
We have a number of gracious partners and sponsors, including Tim Hortons, University of Windsor, Libro Credit Union, WindsorEssex Community Foundation, St. Clair College, WFCU Credit Union, AM800 CKLW, CTV, windsoriteDOTca, YourTV, Windsor Star, Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County, and Tourism Windsor-Essex Pelee Island.
Sparking Windsor’s well-known charitable spirit will be a priority again this year, and we’ll be hosting a number local charities, including Operation Keep Windsor Warm, Windsor Essex Care for Kids Foundation (W.E. Care for Kids), UHC – Hub of Opportunities, and The Salvation Army.
New this year, we have partnered with Windsor Regional Hospital Foundation and Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare Foundation to launch The “YQG Hearts for Hope” campaign. This exciting display will include four magnetic walls that will be placed near the word HOPE under a large tent. Guests will be able to purchase a heart for a $5 donation, decorate it with a message of hope, and display it on the wall. These walls will be placed in our local hospitals for staff to see when this year’s event concludes. Funds raised from the campaign will benefit Transition to Betterness, UHC – Hub of Opportunities, and The Salvation Army. Practicing safety first, we will be using a new contactless device to collect donations on site.
Opening ceremonies take place this year at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 2, after which the event runs every night from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. until January 9, 2022.
“We altered the Bright Lights Windsor program and spread the light across the community to encourage social distancing with our citywide variation last year. It was the right thing to do at that time. Now, with the pandemic situation improving and additional safety measures in place, folks have the chance to go walking in a Windsor Wonderland once again this year.”
– City of Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens
“As we enter the second consecutive holiday season under the shadow of the ongoing pandemic, Hearts for Hope is a reminder that in Windsor-Essex, community, support, and hope are alive and strong. Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare is very excited to be a part of this campaign that will bring joy, warmth, and happiness to those in our community who need it the most this season.”
– Bill Marra, Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare Vice President of People, Mission, Communications and Corporate Affairs
“Windsor Regional Hospital Foundation is thrilled to be part of Bright Lights Windsor – Hearts for Hope Campaign. It is a wonderful opportunity for our community to come together and celebrate the holidays. We applaud the City of Windsor for this initiative and are thrilled at the opportunity to support local charitable organizations such as UHC – Hub of Opportunities, The Salvation Army and Transition to Betterness.”
– Gisèle Séguin, Windsor Regional Hospital Foundation Director, Philanthropy