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.
Busy Bee Tools equips its patrons with more than 5,000 different woodworking, metal, and power tools by brands such as DeWalt, Makita, Bosch, Freud, Craftex, Delta, and Porter-Cable. Digital calipers ($19.99) measure the precise distance between hanging portraits of Frank Gehry's protractor, and shockless hammers ($10.99) keep wayward nails in check. Suction-seal safety goggles ($3.99) and magnetic wrist bands ($2.49) ensure home repairs conclude without a glitch. A plethora of woodworking and metalworking implements avail themselves to creative projects from custom-whittled figurines to home-forged chocolate fountains.
AH Beads's colourful shop strives to meet the evolving needs of beading fanatics. Boasting a selection of products that encompasses more than 50,000 items, each store equips beading and jewellery artisans with a huge array of materials, tools, and accessories for creating wearable works of art. Chains sparkle in hues of gunmetal, copper, and sterling silver; Swarovski crystal beads, freshwater pearls, and rhinestone rondelles sparkle as brilliantly as a nuclear physicist wrapped in tinfoil. Books and tools help to guide burgeoning bead manipulators in their craft, helping to facilitate the use of techniques and updates on current trends.
With thousands of frame and mat samples, Framing & Art Centre can satisfy any and all framing fantasies. The expert framespeople can make diplomas radiate (diploma framing starts at around $100), personalized jerseys glisten (starting around $300), and dorm-room movie posters sparkle (under $100 for 24"x36" pieces). The design wizards can also find a home for any prized possession, such as shoe-box photos, baby booties, ticket stubs, medals, and really good pot roasts.
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.