A cross-Canada roundup of Christmas and craft markets galore!
Makers, mulled wine and massive amounts of holiday cheer to check out starting this weekend.
This article was originally published November 16, 2017 and was updated November 7, 2019.
The holiday season is well on its way. Whether you're feeling like you need a boost to get you into the festive spirit, or you're already looking to get that one last gift on your list (we bow down to you), we've rounded up the must-visit markets from across the country. Just about every town in Canada has its own holiday craft fair or market, so these are the ones we think you just can't miss. From seasonal ambiance and promises of old-timey Christmas cheer to unique finds, these are full of festive fun, artisan handiwork and all the hot cocoa and cookies you could ever want.
Here are our picks from coast to coast.
Banff Christmas Market – Banff, Alta.
November 15-17 and 22-24
This market has a lot going for it — handmade gifts, an outdoor lounge, caroling, delicious foods, miniature horses. But a Christmas market at the foot of the snow-covered Rockies in one of Canada's prettiest towns is what really won us over. Banff's Christmas market takes place over the course of two very jolly weekends in late November in stables and is perhaps the most storybook image of a festive weekend we can conjure up. And don't worry about part of it being outdoors — there are heated tents and lots of fireplaces to keep your warm while enjoying the live entertainment and seasonal sips from local distilleries.
Charlottetown Christmas Festival – Charlottetown, P.E.I.
November 29 - December 1
An entire weekend of old-timey Christmas? You've got our attention. This festival in Charlottetown, P.E.I. features a weekend-long open-air market, complete with horse-drawn wagon rides, plenty of hot chocolate, carolers, Christmas movies, and of course, Santa himself. This market takes place in the downtown core and the mixture of sugary treats, local goods and festive ambiance is sure to be the ideal way to kick off the holiday season on the Island this year.
12 Days of Christmas Fireweed Market – Whitehorse, Yukon
This market is run by the Fireweed Community Market Society and features locally made goods including specialty preserves, baked goods, unique arts and crafts, as well as plenty of new and unique finds each year. The society describes themselves as a "diverse group of members who […] provide seasonal opportunities for consumers to purchase and enjoy local products" and twelve days of crafts is a concept we can certainly embrace. With crafts as pretty as the ones we spotted on Instagram, we say, mission accomplished.
Vancouver Christmas Market - Vancouver, B.C.
November 20 - December 24
Celebrating its tenth year, this West Coast Christmas market is full of Old World charm and with more than 75 artisan huts, a carousel, tons of treats and kinderhuts with activities for the kids, we're certain it's the perfect weekend outing for the whole family. And since it's open for more than a whole month, it's also the perfect place to stop in for dinner, or even a date night with all of its yuletide charm and twinkling lights. Aside from the shopping and live entertainment, this place has tons of local eats and just about every German treat you could hope for — after all, 'tis the season for snacking.
Halifax Crafters Society Winter Market – Halifax, N.S.
November 29-30 & December 1
This winter edition of the Halifax Crafters Society market is the best place to shop for goods from hundreds of makers from far and wide (and mostly the Maritimes). You can legitimately find something for everyone on your list here: delicious kimchi for the food-lover, felt mobiles for the nursery, handmade wooden spoons for the chef in your life, locally designed clothing for the fashion-forward and the most stunning Christmas cards from many local illustrators. This market is a must among the Haligonians, and we now know why.
Seaside Christmas – Eastern Shore, N.S.
This market is in its 30th year and we're pretty sure it's the perfect East Coast Christmas experience — not to mention the most unique. It's the only one we found that isn't localized in one single space. Instead, it's designed to allow you to meander through local shops and businesses scattered throughout the area. Make your way through the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, letting the numbered wreaths guide you from shop to shop, where you can enjoy the ambiance of locally-owned businesses and mingle with some of the local proprietors. Many of these shops have gone all out with their decor, so even if you're not in the market for their wares, or say, a tattoo, it's worth stopping in just to take in the holiday vibes. Venues include antique shops, local cafes, a wellness loft, a rustic barn, and even the yacht club.
Rhoda's Christmas Festival – Saint John, N.B.
A local favourite, Rhoda's is home to the weekly flea market in Saint John and has been owned and operated by Joe and Rhoda Boyce and family since 1975. Their 35th annual Christmas Celebration is sure to be full of crafts, antiques, art and food — and hopefully fudge. It's a great way to pick up some local crafts, get some of the decorations you may be missing and commence the holiday season. Plus, it's entirely inside, so no need to bundle up and endure the cold while you shop.
The Nutcracker Market – Montreal, Que.
November 28 - December 8
There are so many markets to choose from in Montreal, but this one really caught our eye because it's the first non-profit Christmas market in the city. This festive shopping experience is located at the Montreal Palais des Congrès' shopping mall and benefits the Nutcracker fund (allowing kids to see a performance of The Nutcracker who otherwise might not otherwise get chance due to illness or other obstacles). With over 100 exhibitors and tons of local and imported goods to shop, and embodying the true festive spirit — it's a trip to the mall we can certainly get on board with.
Quebec City's German Christmas Market – Quebec City, Que.
November 22 - December 22
This month-long annual festival offers up some super Christmassy times to locals and tourists alike. The thing that sets this one apart from the crowd is that it's set amidst perhaps the most gorgeous and romantic festive settings in the country. Old Quebec is known for doing the holidays right, with its European architecture and beautiful decorations, add a holiday market in there and you've got yourself the perfect night out. Its wooden booths offer sweets, German treats, and local and imported goods, and its picturesque ambiance makes for an ideal for date night.
Yellowknife Farmers Market Christmas Market – Yellowknife, N.W.T.
This market is a one-night-only event, but now in its fifth year, it's the perfect place to get local goods and homemade foods. Think canned produce, lots of prepared dinner options, baked goods, and of course arts and crafts. If you're a local, this is the perfect place to pick up all of the foods from your farmers market faves that you've been missing since the summer season. See some familiar faces, and pick up some treats for your holiday entertaining — sounds like the perfect way to spend a cozy and memorable day. It will be held at the Centre Square Mall from 5-7 pm. While this pic isn't from their Christmas market, if these studs are a sample of what we'll find there, count us in.
Wintergreen Fine Craft Market – Regina, Sask.
This three day event is Saskatchewan Craft Council's largest market. You can shop from over 70 craft and visual artists and put a good dent in your shopping with truly unique gifts. All the goods are handmade, and you can find just about anything you're looking for — jewelry, furniture, pottery, photography. Caroling will add a bit of Christmas cheer, and if that doesn't add enough joy to your shopping experience, there's the Sip & Shop option on the Friday evening.
Third + Bird Christmas Market – Winnipeg, Man.
Presented by Third + Bird, this annual market is a celebration of local artisans in Winnipeg. With lots of vendors, a DJ, a photobooth, and even an epic selfie wall, you're bound to find that unique gift you've been looking for. The event also features an on-site cafe for easy sipping and shopping, so we're pretty much sold.
Deck the Halls Craft Fair – St.John's, N.L.
This Christmas craft fair began in 1994 and traditionally follows Christmas at the Glacier (which merits an honourable mention due to its massive popularity, but was held in October). Deck the Halls is "presented in a luxurious hotel setting." It has become a local shopping tradition to help usher in the holiday season in the St. John's area, and with over 60 vendors, you're sure to find some great pieces to help deck your own halls.
Midtown Brewing Co's Christmas Market – Wellington, Ont.
This annual market takes place in Ontario's trendiest hot spot for a weekend getaway. Midtown's Christmas Market is mixing it up a bit this year and taking things indoors to the @shopatmidtown. From 10-6, it promises to be a great way to spend a day shopping and sipping. With treats and treasures from local bakers, makers and purveyors, it's basically the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Toronto Christmas Market – Toronto, Ont.
November 14 - December 22
Our list wouldn't be complete without this classic. It's one of the best-known holiday markets in the country — and for a good reason. The Toronto Christmas Market is modelled after a traditional German Christmas market and takes place in the historic distillery district. It's worth braving the crowds to take in the light-covered streets, the wooden booths with imported and local goods, traditional wooden and hand-blown glass ornaments, all the deep fried sweets and of course, one of the biggest and most Instagrammable Christmas trees in the GTA. Oh and plenty of turkey legs, however festive they may be.
One of a Kind Show – Toronto, Ont.
November 21 - December 1
This marketplace is your one stop shop for everyone on your shopping list this year. The OOAK show is "one of the largest and best-attended craft shows in North America", and with hundreds of makers from all over the country, it's the perfect place to find that unique gift for the person who has everything. This market takes over the gargantuan Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place in Toronto for 11 days with booths, fashion shows and demonstrations. That's a lot of crafts and we're ready for the challenge, and the food aisles.
Christkindl Market – Kitchener, Ont.
Many towns across Canada have a German Christkindl market, but Kitchener's is "Canada's original" — it's been around since 1997. This weekend-long German Christmas festival is full of live entertainment for the whole family, and trust us when we say there's plenty of food. Sip on some of the famed non-alcoholic gluhwein as you take in some polka, take in the live Nativity, stop by the train room, and forget Santa Claus — at this market you get to meet Kristkind or "Christ Child", the traditional Christmas gift bringer in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.