The first of the winter markets launched this past Saturday, in both heated tents right on Churchill Square and in the grand City Room in City Hall.
Tents on the Square
Just under fifty vendors participated, ranging from stalwart City Market merchants like Kuhlmann’s, to newcomers like Jacek Chocolate Couture. Smoky Valley Goat Cheese was a particularly welcome sight, as we had hinged some of our housewarming dishes on our ability to purchase their chevre and St. Maure cheese (they had a beautiful sampling platter out to entice the palate).
Inside City Hall
The outdoor food trucks were out as well. We made sure to stop by Eva Sweet for a waffle. Bamir is looking forward to the Hot to Huddle Grey Cup Festival November 25-28 – his truck will be parked at Churchill as a part of the festivities.
Nothing makes a better lunch (of course, I didn’t remember to snap a picture until halfway through)
After a walkthrough of both vendor areas, I thought those placed inside were at an advantage, with ample space to set up, and abundant natural light. When we returned to Churchill later that evening for the Holiday Light-Up however, it was clear that the vendors in the three tents had much better visibility, located right in the thick of things outside.
The crowds have descended
Though I’m a fan of outdoor markets, it really is a challenge to make it work over the winter months – the individual, cloistered tents removes that larger sense of community somehow. At the same time – our climate makes it impossible for uncovered markets – one of tents was without heat for a while, and it was noticeably chilly – I couldn’t imagine remaining stationary as a vendor. I suppose we’ll just have to hope for a larger year-round space to open up soon!
Inside one of the tents
The weather was definitely milder than last year, and we very much liked the change in stage placement, so photos taken of the action would have the brilliant City Hall pyramid as a backdrop.
Can you spot Santa?
To recognize the fact that the city is hosting the Grey Cup this year, the 700 foot white spruce is decked out in green and gold colours, and two Eskimos were on hand with the Mayor as he flipped the lighting switch.
The fireworks show following the lighting was entertaining, set to music as always. I ask again – why can’t all fireworks displays make the best of the music played alongside?
The tree will be lit every night until mid-January. There are three more winter markets planned – December 4, 11 and 18, scheduled tentatively for 11am-3pm. Check out the City Market page on Facebook to keep up-to-date. Looking forward to it!