Une homme métis qui démontre la méthode traditionelle autochtones de commencer un feu. Il souffle sur un braise dans un morceau d'écorce de bouleau. C'est la nuit et il en entouré de chandelles en crocs.

First Light

Activities for families, an extensive craft show, live musical performances – all by the glow of thousands of candles

Icon of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons

Welcome to Sainte-Marie among the Hurons

Ontario’s first European Community, Sainte-Marie was the headquarters for the French Jesuit Mission to the Huron-Wendat people. In 1639, the Jesuits, along with French lay workers, began construction of a palisaded community that included barracks, a church, workshops, residences, and a sheltered area for Indigenous visitors. By 1648, Sainte-Marie was home to 66 French men — one-fifth of the entire population of New France. Sainte-Marie’s history ended in 1649, when members of the mission community were forced to abandon and burn their home of ten years.

Une femme qui joue la harpe pendant les premières lueurs à Sainte-Marie. Elle est sur une estrade dans l'église Saint-Joseph, illuminée par des douzaines de bougies

First Light

Nov. 16 to Dec. 2

Now in its 23rd year, First Light is an award-winning, must-see holiday event with a great lineup of family activities and live musical performances, all amidst the spectacular glow of thousands of candles. Explore our vendor market, enjoy crafts and historical demonstrations, and wander through candlelit historical buildings and pathways dressed in beautiful seasonal greenery.

What's happening at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons this fall - screenshot of Mikaela speaking on this topic on Rogers TV

Fall activities at Sainte-Marie

Until Dec. 2

Learn about historic Sainte-Marie among the Hurons and what we have planned for the fall season including the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Hometown Harvest Festival and of course First Light! Find out about our impact on the regional economy, as well as our educational programs for school and travel groups.

Trois interprètes historiques costumés à marcher ensemble le long de la route qui longe Sainte-Marie

Hours of operation

Closed for the season – reopening May 2024

This impressive reconstructed 17th-century mission – staffed by knowledgeable and friendly costumed interpreters – will be open daily starting early May 2024. Allocate approximately 1.5 hours for your visit. We recommend you download the Huronia Historical Parks app for a full audio tour. Dogs welcome!

Un mur de bois

Plan Your Visit

Come and experience First Light – everyone’s favourite Candlelit holiday event! Sainte-Marie will reopen daily in early May. Educational programs and group tours are available most of the year.

Season passes

Valid April 1 to March 31

For just $35 tax included, season pass holders gain unlimited admission to both Sainte-Marie and Discovery Harbour, whenever the historic attractions are open, from April 1 to March 31! This includes admission to special events (except specialized activities) like First Light and Pumpkinferno.

Deux interprètes historiques, habillés en costumes de donné, à enseigner l'écriture avec des plumes et de l'encre

Sign up for our newsletter

Monthly updates

Sign up for our newsletter and be in the know! Get early notice about your favourite events at Sainte-Marie and Discovery Harbour. Pick up interesting historical facts. Hear about deals and discounts. Find out about career opportunities at Huronia Historical Parks. Learn about new activities at both historic sites.

Three girls playing Indigenous games in the longhouse at Sainte-Marie

Education programs

Booking for Winter & Spring

We’re now booking 2024 learning programs! This nationally-significant historic attraction has been offering students curriculum-rich, engaging, hands-on learning opportunities for more than 50 years. Help bring history to life for your students in-person, online, and even in your classroom!

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Four images of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons: two men playing lacrosse, the blacksmith at work, some resin and birchbark, a smiling interpreter in costume