First Light in Sainte Marie should be an Ontario holiday tradition

By Ontario Family Travel north of Toronto on November 27, 2012

Enchanted evening at First Light

First Light has been one our family traditions for years and each year, the event gets even better!

A Top 100 Event in Ontario, Sainte-Marie's spectacular First Light event returns for its 13th year during the evenings of November 29, 30 and December 1.

The signature feature of First Light is the illumination of the historic site by candlelight. The First Light event began at Sainte-Marie 13 years ago with 1,000 candles; this year the number of candles has been grown to 5,000, creating a magical ambience. Attendance at the event has grown from 1,000 visitors since its inception to over 6,000 visitors in 2012.

Lantern-lit paths lead to a variety of family activities. Upon entering the historic site, visitors will encounter the popular Survival In The Bush historical encampment at the main gates. In the Jesuit Residence, children can write with quill pens as they prepare their own seasonal messages and fun take-home bracelets can be made in Sainte-Marie's carpenter shop. In the Cookhouse, 15,000 gingerbread and lavender treats using historic recipes made by high school students from St. Theresa's High School in Midland will be available for sampling. Festival du Loup and La Clé d'la Baie will offer a Fleur de lys keyring craft in the En Colombage building.

The sounds of musket drills will punctuate the night, courtesy of re-enactor group, La Compagnie Franche de la Marine, who will also be serving hot chocolate. In the Sainte-Marie foyer, little folks will love making a seasonal craft offered by The Métis Nation of Ontario, fashioning delightful corn husk dolls and creating a special Angel ornament at the Discovery Harbour table.

Music has always been a crowd pleaser at First Light and this year's event will provide a wonderful mix of performers. This year there will be the four-part a cappella troupe, The Rhyming Couplets, that will wander through the historic site filling the air with seasonal melodies. Vince Therrien will present historic French and English music and local artist Michel Payment will share his inspiring songs in the Sainte-Marie Chapel. Amidst the lively atmosphere of a French Café at Restaurant Sainte-Marie, toe-tapping entertainment will be provided by La Famille Lefaive and Jill et les Bucherons. In Sainte-Marie's famous longhouses, the Christian Island Drum Group and John Somosi will thrill audiences with their First Nations drumming, chanting and singing. A total of 13 choirs, including eight school groups, will also perform at the event over three evenings, including the return of The Children's Community Choir from Penetanguishene and the OPP Chorus. 

Be a part of the First Light experience

For anyone interested in some early Christmas shopping, 20 artisans will be in the Sainte-Marie Museum and the Sainte-Marie gift shop will be open each night.

First Light will run from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Admission is just $8 per person with a non-perishable food item that will be donated to the local Salvation Army food bank. Children ages 5 and under are free. For information call (705) 526-7838 or visit www.hhp.on.ca.

Free shuttle buses will run to Sainte-Marie throughout the evening. Overflow parking will be available at Doral Industries, 100 Wye Valley Road.

Overnight packages are available from the Midland Super 8 Hotel starting at $125 per night based on double occupancy. Package includes one night accommodation, entrance to the First Light event and a complimentary breakfast. Persons must be 19 years of age or older.

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Spend the weekend in lovely Southern Georgian Bay. It's snowy and filled with kids excitement at the start of winter fun! Don't forget the toboggan!

Here are Midland and area family accommodation options:

Comfort Inn, Midland
*directly down the highway from Sainte Marie

Best Western Highland Inn and Conference Centre, Midland
*directly down the highway from Sainte Marie

Little Lake Inn B&B, Midland
*conveniently located in town, about a 5 minute drive from Sainte Marie. It is located in Little Pake Park in central Midland. Also in the area are the Huronia Museum and the Midland Sports and Recreation Centre. 

See more Ontario family winter getaways


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