As the weather gets colder and the days shorter, we all start looking forward to the Christmas season and everything that comes with it. Whether it’s sipping mulled wine or cold walks in the changing landscape that gets you into the festive spirit, nothing says Christmas like a Christmas market.
Montreal’s Christmas Market has the perfect backdrop as it is located in Place Jacques- Cartier in Old Montreal and this creates a wonderful atmosphere for feeling festive. Audrey from the Riverbend Microbrewery has products at the market every year and thinks it is one of a kind:
“This event is not just a market; it is a big party for kids, their parents and everybody who wants to shop in a cool and relaxed place. Local craft is behind the scene and artists promote it by themselves, which provides a privileged relationship with customers and makes the magic work. There’s a lot of activities, food, drinks and most importantly, this is the only outside market during the winter. Christmas lights, snow, fire… there is nothing better to create holiday feelings!”
If your flight to Canada lands in Montreal or you choose to drive down from Quebec City, make sure you spend an afternoon at Le Grande Marche de Noel! If you are stopping in Montreal for a short break you will want to make the most of your time in the Christmas market. What better way to prepare for your break than by checking out our guide?
Roasting chestnuts quickly evoke childhood memories so make sure you thoroughly explore the culinary offerings of this event. Canada prides itself on its multicultural population and this is fully represented at the market.
For something typically Canadian …
Try L’erable au fil du temps for all things maple. At the heart of Canadian cuisine, you will find the mighty maple tree and this sugar stall incorporates the syrup into many different sweet treats. Maple taffy is the staple of the season as it requires snow to make traditionally. If you fancy a warmer treat there are maple fritters and doughnuts, as well as a host of treats all, served with a sticky sauce.
For those with dietary requirements…
Head to Farines etc as this vegan bakery will make sure you are well stocked with Christmas staples. It can be difficult to find tasty Christmas desserts that are still vegan but the bakery, which is based in Montreal, has managed to marry the traditional puddings with a vegan twist. Farines etc also makes an effort to source ingredients locally wherever possible so every mouthful is a taste of this corner of Canada.
Enjoying a cup of warmed cider may be essential to every traditional market but there are some great craft breweries in this region of Canada that are well worth trying. If you are looking for something a little stronger to enjoy over the Christmas period there are many stalls stocked with local festive liquors.
For a taste of the region…
Look out for Le Trou du Diable. This Quebec-based microbrewery has a variety of beverages that they rotate depending on the season. With a couple of different beers making their way to this year’s market, the team at Le Trou du Diable are true to their artisan ethos and that has won them countless awards over the last decade. One favourite is The Christmas Grivoise which has notes of spices, berries, caramel, liquorice and cardamom!
For a slice of history…
Make sure you try the beers from Riverbend. Don’t be put off by the fact that it comes in cans, the flavour and quality are top notch and a great addition to the market. Brewed in a traditional manner, these beers hark back to a better beer culture.
For the chocolate lover…
There is a one-stop-shop for those looking for chocolatey cocktails or an indulgent cup of cocoa and that is Laura Secord. Named after the Canadian heroine of the War of 1812, this stall is all about enjoying the delights of chocolate. For those seeking a tipple, there are creamy chocolate liqueurs in a variety of flavours that are incredibly seasonal.
A Christmas market is the perfect place to find unique gifts for loved ones. Whether it is a last-minute addition to their stocking or something personalised you know they’ll love, there is always a treasure trove of ideal presents.
For something fluffy…
Check out the hats at Tagore because no one does winter clothing like the Canadians. Adorned with adorable bobbles or emblazoned with slogans, the Montreal-based brand is great for keeping heads cosy. These are also light and pack down small, making them perfect to get home in your luggage without worrying about space constraints.
For family fun…
Wend your way to Boutique Randolph, the home of board games and entertainment. Pick up something to play on Christmas Eve with all the family that will be guaranteed not to disappoint. The variety at Boutique Randolph means there will be something to suit your friends and family and could even be the start of a new family tradition.
While you are in the mood to buy presents for others, it can be hard not to pick up something for yourself. This is doubly true on holiday when you want something to commemorate your trip to Canada. So why not treat yourself? Due to luggage constraints, it has to be something small, light or wearable but there is still plenty available at the Montreal Christmas Market to fit in your suitcase.
There are plenty of stalls that have both beautiful products and a responsible ethos. In previous years companies like Kom’art, which specialises in African art and accessories, have had a stall at the Christmas market. Kom’art not only supports the craftsmen but also ensures the materials are environmentally friendly.
Whether you spend an afternoon tasting the different seasonal snacks or are serious about Christmas shopping, the Montreal Christmas Market is not to be missed. Picking up some beautifully crafted jewellery or a personalised bauble is the perfect way to commemorate your trip and get you in the festive spirit.