It’s the smell of a woodfire and fresh-baked bread; it’s the sound of a child’s laughter and the singing of rosy-cheeked carolers. It’s all of your senses delighting in Christmas traditions that have stood the test of time! Once Upon a Christmas at Heritage Park is one of Calgary’s most beloved holiday experiences. It invokes a powerful sense of nostalgia as it allows families to reminisce and participate in charming and old-fashioned Christmas customs and traditions.
For ten days from December 4 – 23, 2021, come spend a magical day at the Heritage Park Historical Village and Gasoline Alley, indulging in the Christmas heritage of the past while you forge your own family’s traditions.
There’s so much to do during Once Upon a Christmas – dress for the weather and come ready to play! Enjoy carol singing and a visit with Old Saint Nick, topped off with crackling fires, fresh baking, and hot chocolate. Grab a children’s craft to take home and watch a holiday performance or learn about Hannukah traditions at Heritage Park’s Little Synagogue, with storytime every day. Many of the Historical Village’s family homes will open their doors to welcome you in from the cold so you can see how families spent Christmas during pioneer times.
Make a plan to visit each one of these special houses and you can celebrate Christmas traditions from around the world. In the Prince House, you’ll uncover a French-Canadian connection and learn about the “Réveillon En Famille,” a traditional dinner after the Christmas Eve Mass and the “crèche.” The main event at the Sandstone House is Hogmanay – a Scottish New Year’s celebration, while the Thorpe house is beginning their celebrations with Yule and traditions brought from Norway. You can enjoy a simple Canadian Prairie Christmas at the Ranch House, complete with a poplar branch Christmas tree and handmade gifts. Learn about the simple ways early immigrants managed to celebrate when money was scarce and breathe in the tantalizing aroma of historic Christmas baking on a wood-fired stove.
The shops in the Haskayne Mercantile Block, as well as those inside the village, are open for some special holiday shopping and you can find those one-of-a-kind gifts not found in other stores. You can also check out the return of Heritage Park’s Christmas Market, open on event days and located in the Roundhouse this year. They have moved out the trains to make room for 30 vendors and artisans, each with one-of-a-kind treasures for sale.
Once Upon A Christmas tickets include admission to the Christmas Market. Then, take a break while kids shop under the supervision of helpful volunteers at the Kids Only Store. They’ll be so excited to surprise you with something special under the tree!
Make your day out even more special by starting with a holiday meal! Book reservations for the Once Upon a Christmas Breakfast Buffet by calling 403-268-8500 and you’ll also enjoy a reduced rate on admission to Once Upon a Christmas.
Our family loves Once Upon a Christmas, as it takes us away from the rush and bustle of today, and helps us enjoy the best of Christmas, past and present. Slow down this Christmas and add the traditions of yesterday to today.
Insider Tips from Heritage Park:
The popularity of Once Upon a Christmas can result in line-ups at favourite locations, especially on nice days during the afternoon. Keep reading for insider tips on key spots to visit in the morning, for a shorter wait time:
- Stop at Gasoline Alley first. You’ll find a 1950’s Storybook Christmas, with characters (like Rudolph!), and games here, and see the 1940’s miniature village. Take a nighttime journey through a twinkling wonderland amid the glowing gas pumps in the Lower Showroom and admire a 1940s miniature village.
- The Famous 5 Centre of Canadian Women on your way into the park celebrates a 1920s Christmas. You can take part in a radio play based on one of Nellie McClung’s Christmas stories as you help create the sound effects.
- Kids, go shopping early! Get your special packages at the Kids’ Only Store before it gets busy. Mom and Dad can just sit back and relax!
- The candy store and bakery are always popular. Stock up in the morning to avoid lineups, or break the rules with candy for breakfast!
- Find unique gifts at places like the Strathmore Standard, the Blacksmith Shop, and Atlas Lumber, all while you learn about life on the prairies.
Once Upon A Christmas at Heritage Park:
When: December 4 – 5, 11 – 12, 18 – 19, and 20 – 23, 2021
Time: 10 am – 4 pm
Where: Heritage Park
Address: 1900 Heritage Dr. SW, Calgary, AB