The days are darker, the rain is more unrelenting than ever, and the countdown to Christmas is officially on. And if you—like many others—swore that 2016 was going to be the year you got a head start on holiday shopping, thus successfully avoiding the day-before dash to your closest 24-hour gas station, you’re in luck.
With a slew of locally produced craft markets hitting Vancouver and its surrounding area between now and St. Nick’s big day, there’s no excuse for car air fresheners and cylinders of potato chips under the tree this year.
Below, six can’t-miss fairs to mark on your calendar ASAP.
From November 18 to 19 at West Coast Railway Heritage Park (39645 Government Road, Squamish)
As a testament to its growth over the past half a decade, Refresh Market returns to Squamish for its first-ever two-day market this year. Grab a pal and make it a day trip from Vancouver to shop 100 artisans and pop-ups, including Harlow Skin Co., Woodlot, and Sunday Dry Goods. For a li’l extra motivation, stop by the fair on its opening night, when you can sip on vino or a handcrafted cocktail while you cross names off your gift list in productive fashion.
Portobello West Holiday Market
From November 26 to 27 at Creekside Community Centre (1 Athletes Way)
Portobello West—named after the world-famous Portobello Road Market across the pond—is wrapping up the year with its annual holiday iteration. Over 70 local makers will converge in Olympic Village for one weekend, when they’ll be hawking handcrafted leather bags, plant-based soaps, beaded jewellery, reclaimed-wood candles, and plenty more. Have a few foodie friends to satisfy? Stop by the booths of the Local Churn, To Die For Fine Foods, and the Salt Dispensary and we doubt you’ll be leaving empty-handed.
Toque Craft Market
From December 2 to 4 at the Western Front (303 East 8th Avenue)
Support local art and music venue the Western Front by checking out its annual Toque Craft Market. The fair features more than 25 artists and makers from across Vancouver, many of whom will be debuting never-before-seen projects. New to this year’s lineup are the Capilano Tea House, a mother-daughter biz that offers handcrafted teas at its Gastown storefront, and woodworker Tony Dubroy, who crafts a range of West Coast–inspired wares in his East Van studio. Western Front books and LPs will also be on hand, plus a special tea towel designed by ceramist Maggie Boyd.
Make It! Vancouver
From December 8 to 11 at the PNE Forum (2901 East Hastings Street)
Make It! Vancouver prides itself on being the cool aunt of the city’s family of holiday markets. In addition to boasting a roster of up-and-coming artisans and an upbeat, contemporary playlist, the annual fete gives its crew of talented vendors the endearing title of “makies”. And did we mention the fully licensed beer garden and impressive selection of food trucks parked just outside? Among this year’s 265 exhibitors—sorry, makies—will be Blackbird Studios, Carli Marie Sita, and Brand & Iron, plus a silent auction that will benefit the Union Gospel Mission.
From December 10 to 11 at the Pipe Shop Building (115 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver)
Billed as Vancouver’s largest indie craft fair, Got Craft? goes beyond the typical buy-and-sell interactions by offering Vancouverites a chance to sharpen their own hands-on skills. Keen attendees may drop in to a DIY class conducted by Collage Collage on-site, where they can make a painted pencil block to bring home, though the array of goods from 80-plus vendors should be enough to keep shoppers busy throughout the weekend. Think laser-cut cufflinks by Cabin + Cub, stained-glass terrariums by Glimpse Glass, artful sweets by My Chocolate Tree, and more.
Shiny Fuzzy Muddy
From December 10 to 11 at Heritage Hall (3102 Main Street)
Get to know some of Vancouver’s most gifted craftspeople at Shiny Fuzzy Muddy, a long-standing staple on the city’s holiday-market circuit that shines a light on new and emerging talents. The annual event was founded by four local artists with an eye for design and quality craftsmanship, and it shows: this year’s smorgasbord of exhibitors includes visual artist Vanessa Lam, who has received international acclaim for her mixed-media works; the Sidestitch Sewing Club, which specializes in creative textiles; and ceramist Cathy Terepocki, who is known for her vintage-meets-modern wares.