Discover Village Noel Temiskaming in 2023

This 17th-century Christmas village offers visitors the chance to shop, meet St. Nick, learn local history, and sample hearty Canadian cuisine!
Temiskaming Noel Village

I delight in finding new ways to add to the anticipation of Christmas. So, I was thrilled to discover Village Noel Temiskaming (Temiskaming Christmas Village) that runs from November 23rd-25th 2023 and is free to attend. There are few things more satisfying at Christmas than a holiday market, and it turns out the City of Temiskaming Shores markets in style. 

Temiskaming Noel Village

When you kick off the season by visiting Village Noel you’re transported hundreds of years back in time to a New France-style community dressed up with festive flourish, a reflection of the region’s Francophone roots.

What is Village Noel Temiskaming

“The idea began in 2012 when one of our executives visited the Marché de Noel Baie-Saint-Paul Christmas market in Charlevoix, Quebec, with its wooden cabins set up in the church square and festive atmosphere,” says organizer Rejeanne Massie. “She came back convinced that something similar would work in New Liskeard and would become a signature Christmas event for the community and a tourism driver.”

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. With 2015 marking the 400th anniversary of Francophones coming to Ontario, the community was looking to make a celebratory splash. Planning began in earnest, with the inaugural Village Noel, a New France-style Christmas community inhabited by costumed residents, unveiled in November 2014. It was a hit and, as envisioned, quickly became a beloved communal event and a significant attraction.

Village Noel has only become bigger and better since. Today, it’s the premier holiday attraction in northeastern Ontario, luring visitors with its special blend of yule magic from as far afield as Quebec and southern Ontario.

A Winter Wonderland With Activities for the Whole Family

Village Noel transforms the New Liskeard Fairgrounds into a wintery wonderland, a snow globe of holiday cheer and warm nostalgia, that transports you back in time to another era. Perhaps a simpler era. More than thirty chalet-style booths are arranged to form a village of sorts, through which visitors stroll, hand-in-hand, humming carols, as they enjoy the many sights and attractions. Download the Village Noel event schedule here.

Shop + Eat

Temiskaming Noel Village

Shop for stocking stuffers among the two dozen vendors selling wares ranging from handmade soap and artisanal cheese to gourmet popcorn and handicrafts. You’re sure to find something unique. Indulge in the delights of the numerous onsite food vendors — the sin of a beaver tail (it doesn’t get more Canadian), poutine (ok, maybe it does get more Canadian), locally sourced bison burgers, and more. Participate in workshops — make a candle or design a festive table centrepiece.

Enjoy Live Entertainment 

Temiskaming Noel Village

Enjoy a range of live entertainment, including musicians and folk dancers in traditional garb, and sculptors who wield chainsaws like paintbrushes to craft stunning works of art from logs. Children can try their hand at any number of old-fashioned games or channel their inner elf at craft workshops. And, on the evening of Friday Nov. 24, there is a firework show at 7:45 to kick off the event.

“Our community has always been multicultural- a fusion of Francophone, English, First Nations and Métis- so we are proud to showcase all of our cultures,” Rejeanne explains.

Learn Local History 

Visit the voyageurs’ encampment, where these legendary fur traders and backwoodsmen will regale you with tall tales and share details of their lifestyle and exploits. Find a partner and try your hand at log-sawing, a vital skill for settlers as the early economy rested upon the foundations built by the logging industry. Drop in on the First Nations kiosk for beautiful Indigenous handicrafts made with methods passed down through countless generations and to learn aspects of their culture. The Métis fur tent explores their contribution to local history and the importance of the fur trade. 

Relax By the Fire—and Meet St. Nick!

Temiskaming Noel Village

Warm your feet by one of the many firepits, each one designed with a theme reflecting aspects of New Liskeard’s heritage — logging, Samuel de Champlain, Indigenous people, the maple harvest, and local wildlife.

And it wouldn’t be a Christmas festival without a visit from Saint Nicolas. Kids can meet the jolly old elf, sit on his knee, make last minute requests, and perhaps plead their case for being put on the Nice List.

Best of all, the enchanting event is completely free, save for food or purchases. It’s the volunteers’ gift to the community and its visitors.

“The reward for all the hard work is seeing the smiles on the faces of families and the laughter of children,” says Rejeann, “La joie de Vivre, as we say in French. Joy of Life. Christmas spirit.”

More Noelling in New Liskeard

Extend the festivities by making merry at other community events. New Liskeard holds its Tree Lighting Ceremony on Thursday Nov 25, 5:30-6:30. Then, after a day spent at Village Noel, join the eager crowds lining the streets to watch the New Liskeard Santa Claus Parade (Saturday Nov. 25, 4 :30-6 :30). For more details: Events And Attractions - City of Temiskaming Shores

About Andrew Hind

Andrew Hind is an author and a local history columnist. He has written on history and travel for a number of regional and international publications and lives in Bradford, Ontario.

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