Montreal's pop-up markets offer artisanal, sustainable Christmas shopping

A number of local crafters and artisans have banded together this holiday season to present consumers with a more sustainable Christmas shopping opportunity.

Customers moving toward more local, handmade items this holiday season

Merchants are hoping consumers will want to invest in handmade items that come from Quebec. (Simon Nakonechny/CBC)

A number of local crafters and artisans in Montreal have banded together this holiday season to present consumers with a more sustainable Christmas shopping opportunity.

By holding pop-up markets, they cut out the overhead costs of renting tables at large craft sales and offer alternatives to the mass-produced fare that stocks shelves in malls and big box stores.

This holiday season, Canadians are expected to spend, on average, $625 on gifts, according to accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Events like the pop-upmakers marketheld in St-Henri on Sunday are trying to promote a model where community comes before consumerism.

Sisters Meaghan and Allison Kelly organized the pop-up market in St-Henri this weekend. (Simon Nakonechny/CBC)

The Make Space market was organized by sisters Meaghan and Allison Kelly, and is intended to showcase the work of young women who create handmade goods.

"We have all female entrepreneurs from Montreal who are selling their different goods," said Allison Kelly. "We have some plants, some furniture, everything is sustainable."

Her own store is called Forgettable MTL, and uses almost entirely recycled materials to make "new" products.

The products sold at these markets are meant to be sustainable and equitable. (Simon Nakonechny/CBC)

She said the event ties into the rise of the zero waste movement, which includes a renewed emphasis on decreasing waste and being mindful of where products come from, and where they end up.

"You're contributing to a local artist and also not creating more things that just go into landfill."

Another artisan, Lee Gelbloom, makes bags out of scrap material, repurposing what otherwise might be thrown away. She said the zero waste mindset has the potential to create real change.

"It is a trend, and I also hope it's a trend that stays with us. Because I think it's a really great direction to go in the future."

Anne-Virginie Schmidt is the co-owner of Miels d'Anicet, and all her honey is harvested in Quebec. (Simon Nakonechny/CBC)

Another pop-up market held this weekend took place at Salon b in the Mile End.

Anne-Virginie Schmidt, co-owner of Miels d'Anicet, told CBC that she's seeing a movement toward people wanting to buy more local, natural products.

"The first thing is a guarantee that you're buying a product that is made in Quebec from artisans from Quebec. This is a main concern now that the customer, they want to make sure they're buying something that is made here," said Schmidt.

Customers at the market seem to agree with the value set driving these initiatives.

"Last Friday, I spent a $110 and it was really well-spent.  And I'm really excited about giving these gifts to my family," said shopper Chinlee Lo.

With files from CBC's Simon Nakonechny