Oh, Christmas tree …

Real or fake? It’s a question often asked as the holidays approach.

Do you believe an artificial tree is less mess, more convenient and less harmful to the environment (it’s not necessarily, but never mind)? Or are you a diehard it’s-gotta-be-real-or-nothing advocate?

If you like ’em real, there’s something to be said for choosing the perfect tree and cutting it down yourself. Here are some tree farm options in the Ottawa area. Happy chopping!

Thomas Tree Farm

Offering balsam fir, spruce or scotch pine, Thomas Tree Farm is set on 50 acres of forest near North Gower. Wander through the maple bush, ride the tractor-drawn hay wagon or take the horse-drawn sleigh to choose your perfect Christmas tree, then warm up by the fire with hot chocolate and homemade cookies. Check the website for before-you-go tips.

When: Daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: 6421 McCordick Rd., North Gower

Prices: From $46.90

Info: thomastreefarm.ca; 613-489-2314

Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park and Tree Farm

Turn your tree hunt into a veritable theme park outing with Santa’s workshop, rope mazes, wagon rides and more at Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park and Tree Farm near Carleton Place. The farm offers a variety of tree types, including pine, spruce, balsam fir, white cedar and Fraser fir. Check the website for before-you-go tips.

When: Weekends 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Monday to Friday 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Where: 804 Richmond Rd., Beckwith

Prices: From $35.40

Info: iansevergreen.on.ca; 613-253-0086

MacGowan’s Christmas Tree Farm

In business since 2002, MacGowan’s Christmas Tree Farm in Kinburn offers a low-key family tradition experience with thousands of balsam and white spruce to choose from. Take a wagon ride, enjoy a hot chocolate and tour the barn for unique handmade wreathes and ornaments. Plus, enter for a chance to win a free tree next year.

When: Weekends 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: 4611 Mohrs Road

Prices: All trees are $50, including taxes. Price also includes rides and treats. “It’s about the experience,” says Mark MacGowan.

Info: macgowanschristmastreefarm.com; 613-623-4312

Cedar Hill Christmas Tree Farm


Horse-drawn sleigh rides, visits with Santa, tobogganing and shopping are just some of the activities at the Cedar Hill Christmas Tree Farm near Pakenham. Tree varieties include balsam and Fraser fir, white spruce and scotch pine. When you’re done, enjoy a meal at the Café Claus.

When: Daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: 951 Concession 8 South, Pakenham

Prices: From $38 (or $20 for pre-cut)

Info: cedarhillchristmastreefarm.com; 613-256-3029

Hillcrest Tree Farm

As with many tree farms, sleigh rides, bonfires, hot drinks and wreaths are among the staples at the Hillcrest Tree Farm near North Gower. There are a variety of trees available, including balsam fir, Colorado blue spruce, white spruce, Norway spruce, and white pine. 

When: Weekends 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Monday to Friday noon to 7 p.m.

Where: 7357 Fourth Line Rd., North Gower

Prices: From $44.25

Info: hillcresttreefarm.com; 613-489-2994

Wait, there’s more…

There are other cut-your-own tree farms in the area. For a list and for tips on choosing and caring for your tree, visit the Christmas Tree Farmers of Ontario.