Shop Local Challenge: Holiday Food Fairs and Craft Markets

I heard on CBC Radio that Christmas is only 38 days away!  Yep, that’s soon.  No matter what holiday traditions you celebrate, most of us are doing a fair amount of shopping this time of year, whether for food, gifts, decor or treats for yourself.  (Treating yourself is important too!) Why not focus some of those shopping dollars on local shops and artisans?  Here’s a few reasons why:

–       Supporting small businesses in your community helps the local economy.

–       Avoid mall crowds!  My decision to shop local this holiday season was cemented when I spent an hour shopping with a friend at the Rideau Centre on Sunday.  So freaking crowded!

–     Sustainability.  Stuff made locally by hand is less resource intensive than mass-produced junk that traveled halfway around the world to get to you.

–       Unique and one of a kind items you won’t find anywhere else.  Perfect for finding food items to impress at a holiday party or buying for that hard to shop for friend who has everything.

–       Personalized service.  At the last Urban Craft, I saw some great screen printed T-shirts and ties at Magneties.  I saw a particular tie design that was perfect for someone on my shopping list, but wanted it on a T-shirt instead.  The shop owner, Annabel, was happy to accommodate and offered to make a custom T-shirt with my chosen design and mail it to me for free!  Now, when was the last time you got service like that at a chain store at the mall?

As a reference for myself to help accomplish my Shop Local Challenge, I’ve compiled a list of Ottawa area artisan food and craft markets.  All of these events are FREE (I hate paying money for the privilege of shopping) although you may have to pay for parking.  The markets in the city are all accessible by public transit and I believe all of the country fairs have free parking.

Glisten! A Handmade Holiday Event

Date: Saturday, November 17th, 10am-3pm

Location: Irving Greenberg Theatre, 1233 Wellington Street West (@ Holland)

From their website: Come shop for the perfect holiday gift from some of Ottawa’s best indie craft designers and makers! Unique Finds + Gifts for All Ages + Sweet Treats + Fancy Fashion + Glamorous Jewels + Handmade Housewares

More info:

Ottawa Farmer’s Market Christmas Markets

Date: Sundays, November 25, December 2, 9, 16.  9 am – 3 pm

Location: Ernst & Young Centre (formerly the CE Centre) 4899 Uplands Drive

From their website: Christmas has come early this year. We will be hosting 4 amazing Christmas Markets full of great produce, meat, cheeses, baking, arts and crafts. Getting your holiday meals and gifts in one location – is there a better way to get ready for the holidays?

More info:

The Fieldhouse at the Parkdale Market

Dates: Friday-Sunday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. through December 16th

Location: Parkdale & Wellington (the Fieldhouse is at the back of the market, off Armstrong)

From their website: Visit the Savour Ottawa Fieldhouse at Parkdale Market, an indoor market offering exclusively locally grown and produced foods.

More info:

Urban Craft

Date: Saturday, December 1, 10am-3pm

Location: Irving Greenberg Theatre, 1233 Wellington Street West (@ Holland)

From their website: Urban Craft is Ottawa’s first and only monthly craft market, featuring the freshest and hippest vendors around!  Taking place the first Saturday of every month in the heart of Hintonburg, Urban Craft is the place for you to find that perfect gift, your new favorite cupcake, or the perfect accessory for your next night out on the town!

More info:

Museum of Civilization Christmas Market

Friday, December 7, 2012       12:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Saturday, December 8, 2012     10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday, December 9, 2012       10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Friday, December 14, 2012      12:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Saturday, December 15, 2012   10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Location: Canadian Museum of Civilization, Marius Barbeau Salon

From their website: The Museum’s Christmas Market is back! The calm and welcoming ambiance of the Market is an ideal place to make all your holiday purchases. And, with close to forty exhibitors participating, you are sure to find THE gifts you’re looking for!  Come and meet local vendors, discover delicious regional products and unique handmade objects, and experience the creativity and enthusiasm that drives area artisans.

For more information:

Ottawa Locavore Artisan Food Fair

Date: Saturday December 8, 10am – 3pm

Location: Memorial Hall, 39 Dufferin Road in New Edinburgh

From their website: Locavore Artisan Food Fair (LAFF) is an ultimate foodie destination, celebrating a vast array of artisanal food producers in Ottawa and 100 mile radius.

For more info:

Westboro Holiday Food Market

Date: Sunday December 9, 10am – 4pm

Location: Westboro Masonic Temple, 430 Churchill Ave

Info: Over 20 local artisan gourmet food vendors will be selling their products such as baked goods, coffee, teas, chocolate, honey, tortieres, vanilla, jams, chutneys and ice cream to name a few. It is a one-stop-shop for all your holiday food and gift giving needs. Benefitting charity is the Westboro Region Food Bank.

For more information:

Many of the farmer’s markets outside Ottawa also have special Christmas markets.  I haven’t been to any of these personally, but check here for Savour Ottawa’s list from last year, I would expect  many of the markets are happening this year as well (note, the dates are from 2011, you’ll have to click through to each market’s site for this year’s info.)

If you know of any other Ottawa area food or craft markets/fairs taking place this holiday season, leave me a comment and I will add it to the list!


3 thoughts on “Shop Local Challenge: Holiday Food Fairs and Craft Markets

  1. Pingback: Shop Local – Year Round « Locavore Girl in the City

  2. I’m going to be at the Westboro Holiday Food Fair! It’s the first year, so I hope it will be well attended. The list of local vendors is awesome, if I do say so myself.

    You need vanilla for Christmas baking. You just do. Come get some. I’ll be the funny guy in the kilt.

    There are so many good products at the shows this year, I know it can be hard to choose. This one is going to be awesome, though.

    • I DO need vanilla for Christmas baking! I was hoping I’d come across you at one of the markets so I could buy some more. Out of all of them, I’m especially looking forward to the Westboro Food Fair.

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