When does it officially become Christmastime? For Vancouverites, it's actually in late November, when the scents of mulled wine and gingerbread and the sounds of bells and trumpets fill the crisp air. It's a time when the eyes widen at the sight of little wooden huts decked out in twinkling white lights and pine branches, of a sparkling carousel pirouetting in the night. This is the Vancouver Christmas Market.
In founding this beloved wintertime utopia, Malte Kluetz brings a 700-year-old tradition from the streets of his native Hamelin, Germany, to the plaza of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. German Christmas markets are a staple of European holiday seasons, and over the past few years, the Vancouver market has become a similarly un-missable destination for locals.
Here, a forests' worth of light-spangled pine trees and wreaths crowd the plaza, joining 45 wooden huts in which craftspeople and chefs—many from Germany themselves—share their handiwork. Shoppers peruse hand-carved nutcrackers and ornaments, and at any given moment of the day or night, the music of carolers, a string trio, or a jazz band might warm chilly ears.
After a hug from the market's gingerbread mascots, children might go on a scavenger hunt, decorate candles, or head to the old-fashioned Christmas carousel, encrusted with hundreds of amber lights, to show parents just how good they would be at riding a pony if they had their own. When they're done, kids and their parents head off in search of herbed Bavarian bratwursts, pastries, bubbly German wheat beers, and inky, sweetly spiced gluhwein.
Like any good Christmas market, the Vancouver market's festivities are anchored by a massive tree. At its pinnacle sits a glowing star—a beacon signaling the arrival of the holiday season.
Born into a farming family in South Africa, Aubergine Specialty Foods owner Leon Zetler has always recognized the importance of knowing where your food comes from. Over the years, his passion for food has led him from his family farm to a career as an organic-produce specialist.
Now, at Aubergine Specialty Foods, Mr. Zetler visits local farms daily, and hand-selects the freshest produce from Saanich. For example, tomatoes and cucumbers hail from Sun Wing Farm, while strawberries come from Oldfield Orchard. He also roasts organic and fair-trade African coffee beans to order, and gently grinds them in a 110-year-old Elgin coffee grinder. And he imports a vast variety of organic, kosher, and fair-trade pantry staples and favorites from around the world, specifically Africa, such as biltong, boerewors, and Mrs. Balls Chutney.
Mr. Zetler is happy to guide newcomers around the small, cheerful store. In the event that customers can’t find what they’re looking for, he even takes requests for products they would like to see on the shelves.l
Vie Belles specializes in keeping kitchens stocked with professional-quality cookware, cutlery, and baking provisions. But the company doesn't restrict itself to the kitchen: it manufactures products across a range of categories, including electrical appliances, furniture, and even baby and child supplies. The broad-reaching inventory means Vie Belles products can appear in just about any room in the house, from offices and bedrooms to storage areas where the secret family cottage is kept.
GL Stone is a leading designer and importer of quality ceramic, stone, glass and mosaic tiles for any home or commercial project. We are Customer focused and continually strive to keep our tile collection current and unique. Our competitive prices include creative consultation, and friendly, high-end service.
Some years ago, Paul and Caroline heard rumblings about water hyacinths. Their inner horticulturalists were intrigued because these plants bloom early and combat algae, but water hyacinths were only imported from Singapore at the time and often carried invasive parasites. So, the couple resolved to grow the plants themselves and start Woodbridge Ponds, a local greenhouse specializing in safe, locally cultivated specimens.
Today, their two-pronged business consists of Echo Nurseries, a 27,000-square-foot wholesale nursery, and Woodbridge Ponds, a sprawling retail shop brimming with beautiful water lilies and pond plants, lively fish, and essential pond hardware and supplies. All of the shop’s retail plants are grown at the adjacent nursery, ensuring that no seedlings get homesick while waiting for a new owner. Their friendly team of loyal local women helps visitors navigate hundreds of available plants, which gussy up large ponds and simple birdbaths alike.