Stop, Shop & Learn at this Season’s Holiday Craft Shows

With some fresh snow on the ground and a chill in the air, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. While the malls are popular at this time of year as we scramble to cross names off our lists, why not give holiday craft shows a try?

They’re fun to attend and a great occasion for learning — that’s right, I’m talking about a holiday shopping opportunity that packs a bit of educational punch at the same time. Craft shows tend to be family friendly, with delicious treats and music, all nestled in a festive atmosphere. Many are set in historic venues, which means a chance to check out interesting architecture. It is also a time to meet local artisans and see their creations firsthand, while teaching students about supporting small businesses and local entrepreneurs.  As an additional bonus: admission is typically free.

While some of the widely known events have recently passed, such as Bishop Strachan School’s Deck the Hall, Wychwood Barns’ Holiday Art Market and, of course, the One of a Kind Show, there’s still a slew of locales worth checking out for a unique and special shopping experience.

To get the inside scoop on some of Toronto’s hidden gems, I consulted my in-the-know artist friends, Natalie Mancini and Alessandra Cardarelli. Here are a few not-to-be-missed tips from the source:


Lowe’s Toronto Christmas Market: This outdoor market in the historic distillery district is known for its European feel.  Selected as one of the world’s best holiday markets by Fodor’s Travel, it is not to be missed, running now until Sunday December 15th. Amongst the various vendors, craftspeople and artists, be sure to check out La Vela Bella – specialty candles given a new life in teacups, mason jars and other unique objects.  This weekend marks their one year anniversary.  According to the founder and artist behind the brand, Natalie Mancini, “It’s a great gift for the person who has everything!”


Bazaar Bazaar Bazaar – A Holiday Market:  Set in the historic Great Hall in Queen West – taking place one day only on Saturday December 14th – Bazaar Bazaar Bazaar is advertised as featuring more than 50 emerging and established artists, designers, crafters and entrepreneurs.  Look out for Carte Blanche Creations to find traditional coasters and accessories reinvented and customized to your heart’s desire by the talented Alessandra Cardarelli.  If you can’t make this event, not to fret, Carte Blanche Creations will also be featured at 401 Artisans Marketplace.


The 401 Artisans Marketplace:  This award-winning market is taking place from December 12-15th in the heart of downtown Toronto at 401 Richmond Street West.  This year is their 21st anniversary and will have over 30 local artisans in attendance to show off their crafts.  As further enticement, there will also be a raffle for amazing baskets filled with local artisan goodies.

Bundle up, and grab your gloves and scarf. It’s time to go on an educational holiday shopping spree!

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Joanne Sallay

Joanne Sallay is a Director at Teachers on Call – a personalized home tutoring service with more than 25 years of experience.  Teachers on Call’s Ontario Certified Teachers specialize in providing one-on-one instruction in all subjects and grades including French Immersion tutoring.

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