I have had the good pleasure of visiting quite a number of German Christmas Markets - or Christkindl-Markts. Some of them in Germany and a couple of them right here in Canada. Given that I'm in the German Christmas business I think it is "imperative" that I see as many of these magical Christmas festivals that I possibly can!
Last Christmas I visited the Vancouver Christmas Market and even though I was travelling alone I had such a warm and welcoming time. The year before I visited the Toronto Distillery District Christmas Market and met some new friends. For 2017 the plan is to travel to Quebec City to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Marché de Noël Allemand de Québec.
The Canadian Christmas Markets are pretty impressive - and that coming from someone who has visited the famous Christkindl Markts of Nuremberg, Munich and other German cities. Although I was quite small and travelling with my parents and grandparents, I distinctly remember the Nuremberg Christkindl Markt - the almost crushing crowds, the romantic booths festooned with little white lights and the Zwetschgenmännle or Prune Dolls - with their wrinkly faces and corn husk clothing. I used my own money to buy myself a set - although I have no idea if they even made it home to Canada!
Several years ago we traveled with our children and my "real German" in-laws to Munich and Regensburg during the Christmas season. The Munich Christkindl Market is of course huge and bustling and definitely worth the visit. The Regensburg Christmas Market is completely different - in fact, it's actually four different Christmas Markets in one not-so-large city: the larger and more general markets happen around the streets and squares of this UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Germany's best preserved medieval cities. The Romantic Market -
located in the courtyard of Thurn and Taxis Palace - was where we had the most fun with our three young kids. Craftspeople were dressed up in medieval costumes working in traditional crafts. Our son had to buy a wooden sword there and carried it with him throughout our trip!
But back to Canada! There are literally millions of Canadians with at least some German descent so it should be no surprise that Canada has five really good German Christmas Markets to visit and more are on the way.
Let me tell you about the 3 markets I have the most experience with:Toronto Distillery District Christmas Market
I visited this market in December 2015 - flew there from Winnipeg just for the day and just to visit this market. And it was totally worth it! Tucked into the alleys of a collection of Victorian Industrial buildings that had been pronounced a national historic site, vendors present all sorts of interesting gift ideas and there is lots to see and do. I happened to be there for the night of the Mill Street World Caroling Challenge - where hundreds of people gathered around the giant Christmas tree to sing together while holding LED candles. I
enjoyed the combination of outdoor vendors in their wooden booths and the indoor shops that are there year-round. The food was decent, the Glühwein was hot but I have to say that the food and drink at the Vancouver Christmas Market was better. There are two entrances to this Market and the action is a bit split up - I almost missed a whole alley of vendors.Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery District 2017
Dates: November 16 - December 23, 2017 - Open daily except MondaysVancouver Christmas Market
In December 2016 I spent an evening and a morning at this Christkindl Markt in downtown Vancouver - and I'm so glad I was able to get both experiences! The evening market was crowded - I mean shuffling along crowded! I was so glad I had purchases my entrance ticket online - saved me the time of standing in that line and also got me a couple of
tokens I used to get a Feuerzangenbowle
. The lines were long that evening for everything - food, gift vendors and I gave up on getting into the Käthe Wohlfahrt tent. But the following morning there was a fine drizzle in the air and the market was quiet and I got to try all the yummy treats (although did not risk another Feuerzangenbowle!) and leisurely stroll from vendor to vendor including the Wohlfahrt tent. I was impressed with how many German speakers were manning the booths. One of the vendors (a German-Canadian himself) explained that many of these young people came over on Work and Travel programs and were happy to be involved with the Market.
Vancouver Christmas Market 2017
Dates: Not published yet
Marché de Noël Allemand de Québec - Québec City
This is the Christmas Market I plan to visit in 2017. The Marché is celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2017 and has some wonderful new features and events planned. The furthest east I've been to in Canada is Montreal and I am looking forward to visiting Old Québec and appreciating the cultural differences of French Canada. Gingerbread World supplies Lebkuchen Schmidt to this Market each year and although my communication with the market folks is only through email I can sense the passion they have for the event that they have created and the many, many people who enjoy it each year. Looking forward to meeting you all in person this December 2017! Marché de Noël Allemand de Québec 2017
Dates: November 23 - December 23, 2017
Here's a list of other Christmas Markets here in Canada:
Many more Christmas Market happen in towns small and large throughout Canada - let us know about your town's market by commenting below.
And for those of you who are not travelling to a German Christmas Market this season Gingerbread World
offers some of the treats and gifts you could find at such markets. We like to think of ourselves as an Online Christkindlmarkt where you may stroll through our Collections of authentic Nuremberg Lebkuchen, German chocolate and Marzipans, Nativity Sets, Smokers, Nutcrackers and Ornaments handmade in Germany. Enjoy!
Owner @ Gingerbread World