Big changes for Yellowknife’s holiday lights contest and parade

The City of Yellowknife’s annual holiday lights contest begins at noon on Friday – the closest thing you’ll get to an official declaration that the city’s Christmas season has begun.

This year’s holiday lights contest has some significant changes since last year’s competition. For a start, homes and businesses taking part need to sign up this time around.

Registering is not difficult. Email your address and a photo of your decorations to (or call 920-5676) before midnight on December 8.


From December 9, residents will get to vote for their favourite online.

This year an online map of all the entrants will be made available for a longer period of time, providing an opportunity to take the family out on your own guided tour of Yellowknife’s lights.

Best of 2018: Check out last year’s Cabin Radio tour of YK lights

The last big change is the absence of categories. Whereas there were all kinds of categories listed in 2018, this time, all the entrants go into one big contest.

“It was far too complicated with these categories. We want people to vote freely,” said Dave Zethof, the City’s special event coordinator.


After voting concludes, the top 20 chosen by the public will be narrowed down by sponsors Northland Utilities to five winners of $150 each.

Everyone who registers is also entered into a separate, random draw for $100.

Meanwhile, Zethof said this year’s Santa Claus parade – on Saturday, November 23 – will also see some changes.

The parade starts at 5pm, earlier than it has in the past, to allow local businesses to remain open while the parade takes place. Zethof said a list of businesses remaining opening until 7pm would be shared online ahead of the parade.


There will also be live music inside the Centre Square and YK Centre malls.

“Ten of the big floats will loop back up and park on Franklin for half an hour” after the parade completes its route, Zethof added, “so the little ones can come up close and get photos.”