By: Sara Wong, SFU Student
Whenever I’m buying a gift for someone, I want it to be special. Christmas is fast approaching, and one of my favourite holiday activities is attending local markets to find the perfect present. The great thing about a local market is that you get to meet the artisans who create the things you’re looking at. Since they’re local, you can easily find them and purchase more of their products later in the year.
The Metro Vancouver area has a plethora of holiday and Christmas markets to choose from and, being a craft market enthusiast, I’ve been to just about all of them. Here’s a breakdown of the four that I frequent around this time of year.
Good for the entire family: Candytown – A Yaletown Holiday Festival
When: November 30 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Mainland Street, Yaletown, Vancouver
Candytown is not so much a market as it is a festival. Yaletown is transforming for one magical night only, and it’s one event you definitely won’t want to miss. While there will be a market of various local artisans (many of which you will find at the other markets mentioned in this article), this event will also feature food and entertainment, as well as a self-guided cocktail tour (if you’re 19 or older). I would also recommend going on a carriage ride, which are by donation. Candytown is an outdoor festival, so be sure to dress warmly — unfortunately, hot chocolate can’t solve all weather-related problems.
Good for eclectics: Refresh Market
When: December 6 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and December 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Audain Art Museum, Whistler
Cost: $3 market only/$15 market and museum (advance tickets); $5 market only/$18 market and museum (at the door)
Looking for an adventure? How about a road trip to Whistler! The Refresh Market is a spectacular change of scenery. This year, the market is hosting a pop-up at the Audain Art Museum in Whistler during the first weekend of December. You can easily spend the entire day admiring the view, but I promise that the numerous booths selling ceramics, facial products, and bohemian-style clothing will be equally as alluring.
Good for finding something unexpected: Got Craft? Holiday Edition
When: December 7 and 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Croatian Cultural Centre, 3250 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
Cost: $3.93 (online, service fees included)/$5 at the door
This year, the Got Craft? holiday market promises to be bigger, better, and livelier at their new location: the Croatian Cultural Centre on Commercial Drive. The market boasts a long list of diverse vendors as well as food and drink options. What’s great about this market compared to the rest is the possibility to discover vendors you likely will not see elsewhere. If you’re looking for some cheeky Christmas cards or an artisanal fortune cookie, Got Craft? is the right place to be!
Good for shopaholics: Make It Vancouver
When: December 11 to 15, starting and ending at different times each day
Where: PNE Forum, Vancouver
Cost: $5 early bird tickets online (discounts available)/$10 at the door
There is a lot at Make It so be prepared to spend at least two hours here — partly because the market gets crowded, fast. A large group of talented artists results in a large variety of products to peruse, including artwork, candles, and clothing. My personal favourite part of the market is the food section. When I get there, I buy more gifts for myself than for my friends and family; just because you’re doing Christmas shopping doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself! The event is quite popular among Vancouverites, so here’s a hack to make sure you don’t miss out: buy your tickets to the market in advance on Groupon, or sign up for their newsletter online to get a reduced price.