I Braved The Cold & Visited The Illumi Village Of Lights, Here's What It's Like (Video)
- Laval's Illumi Village of Lights is now open to the public, with eight distinct worlds all created with LED lights.
- There's also a Christmas market and a Christmas tree made of lights that is taller than the Statue of Liberty!
- Get a sneak peek at some of my personal highlights via video and photos below!
Yesterday, I braved the cold to visit Illumi Laval, the village of lights that has been crafted by Cavalia alongside an outdoor Christmas market, complete with a Christmas tree of lights that is as tall as the Statue of Liberty.
Albeit they mean the statue itself and not the base of the statue, so when I first laid eyes on it I couldn't help but say... the Statue of Liberty is bigger than that, right?
I've never been to New York City and my boyfriend confirmed that no, it was probably the height of the copper statue alone. Smart boy.
Still, the 47-metre statue is impressive, and apparently the largest of its kind. It was easy to spot as we walked from Station Montmorency.
It is an absolutely terrible walk, so I highly recommend you catch the free shuttle that travels between the station and the Illumi site every 20 minutes. I was an idiot and didn't know about it, so the walk over there was the absolute worst. On a nice sunny day, it would've been fine I'm sure, but at 7 p.m. in minus 21 C weather... no, thank you.
I was quickly warmed by the sight of the massive Christmas tree that had people standing within it. There were swings and firepits and interactive light installations — paired with the cold, I couldn't help but be reminded of Igloofest in the very best way.
The Christmas market seemed to only be half-open, with mainly food vendors open by the time I got there, which was around 7 p.m. The market provides a nice little segue into the full experience, with the promise of a return to hot chocolate, poutine, or churros.
The entrance to the village of lights is pretty exciting... There really seems to be a little 1950s neighbourhood, with many of the other worlds visible in the distance.
I don't want to give too much away in photos, for those that are hoping to go explore Illumi, but I will share some personal highlights.
Some of the light structures are simply massive... there's a whole section that is literally just spiders of varying sizes, one of which was easily the size of a moving van. It was awesome... I hated it (snakes are not my thing).
Part of the magic is not really knowing exactly what you're going to see around each corner.
The world of Magic Lanterns features Imperial-style structures and creatures like dragons and koi fish. There are also armies of soldiers and women dressed in traditional gowns, standing among an array of tulips.
The Feliz Navidad realm is festive and exotic and definitely made me want to take a vacation to escape from the reality of the snow and below-zero temperatures. (Nice work, Sunwing.)
If you do plan to visit Illumi, dress warm and wear waterproof shoes as you will be walking through snow. If you've been to Igloofest... you get it.
Each section also has its own soundtrack, which really adds to the experience and sets the tone for that world. Another thing that was really fun and world-specific was the trees.
There were several different kinds of trees made of light throughout Illumi and each was created and lit differently. I loved this attention to detail.
If you've got kids, this is a super magical way to spend some time outdoors.
If you're not a kid but don't mind walking around in the wintertime, this experience is pretty one-of-a-kind. It can feel kind of busy in certain sections, but luckily, the traffic is managed with scheduled visit times set by your ticket purchase.
I really do recommend this experience. With a free shuttle from the metro and tickets less than $20, this is an awesome date idea.
What: An immersive village of lights and s Christmas market
When: From 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. most days from now until January 5, 2019. For exact times of admission, consult the calendar of available visiting times.
Where: 2805 Boulevard du Souvenir, Laval, a 15-minute walk from metro station Montmorency
Cost: $18.50 general admission / $16.50 for those 65+ / $15.50 for students ages 13 to 21 / kids under 2 visit for free.
Note: They also have packages for families. VIP packages are also available.
Head to the Illumi website here to purchase tickets.