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Winter fun starts this weekend in Calgary’s East Village

Calgarians will get to take in an early visit from Santa Claus, as he flips the switch on the Christmas lights for the East Village this weekend.

The 8th annual Light Up the Square is one of a number of outdoor winter activities that start with at beginning of December and run to the end of snow next spring.

Visitors will be able to take in the annual tradition of Santa Claus, carollers singing Christmas classics, baked treats and hot chocolate on December 3 starting at 3:00 pm at the 5 Street Square. The lights are turned on at 5:30 pm.

“It’s part of our mandate to activate and program all of our public spaces, both for the people who live in East Village and also for the people who are just passing through,” said Calgary Municipal Land Corporation Director of Communications, Emma Stevens.

“[CMLC] is creating exciting, interesting program opportunities for all of those people.”

Stevens said that the organization has been working to increase the number of year round opportunities for engagement with the East Village’s public spaces.

“And in the last two years, we’ve really tried to increase the number of winter programs that we do, partly because Calgary has this renewed focus on being a winter city,” she said .

“We’re really trying to embrace that, and also just because of the pandemic, we needed to look for outdoor opportunities for people to gather and connect.”

Local event programming is also returning to C-Square starting on Sunday, Dec. 4, and every Sunday thereafter. This weekend’s theme is an augmented reality adventure that is one part science experience, one part treasure hunt with Lilly Monster using the Lilly in the Lab app. Participation is free, and no registration is required.

“At C-Square in particular, we try to do things that you wouldn’t expect seasonally,” Stevens said.

“My colleague calls it seasonally unexpected – things like outdoor arts and crafts, or mini golf in the winter are some of those fun activities that are kind of unexpected.”

And for fans of the Danish concept of Hygge, which is all about quiet comfort, the Hygee Hut is returning, albeit in a different location than in 2022.

The cozy gathering place for visitors and residents will be located on the RiverWalk east of the Simmons Building. Fire pits at the hut will be lit throughout the weekends up until March. And for those Calgarians looking to embrace their love of the East Village even further, the Hygge Hut will once again be featuring exclusive East Village branded and locally created merchandise.

This year’s Hygee Hut Instagramable backdrop will include Canmore’s Three Sisters mountains, mountable sleds, and vintage ski poles.

“And then we will have the Nordic loop back this year as well just as soon as we get a little bit more snow,” Stevens said.

For more details on winter programming in the East Village, see www.evexperience.com.