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Foodie Friday: Support local this holiday season at the Christmas Markets

By Kelsey Sunstrum on December 5, 2014

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Fresh off the wildly successful Support Local initiative in October comes the Christmas Market. Opening its doors this past Sunday, the Christmas Market will be held at the new Landsdowne Park for a total of five days this month.

The 116-year-old Aberdeen Pavilion, colloquially known as the Cattle Castle, celebrated the commencement of the new holiday shopping experience with festive music, decorations, and 120 local artisans. Merchandise for sale included, but was certainly not limited to, fresh produce, preserves, home décor items, and even children’s toys. With no admission and such a wide range of local goods to choose from, a visit to the Christmas Market is a perfect all-ages weekend pick.

Fear not, Ottawa retail enthusiasts; the markets will take a brief hiatus then return in the new year – January 11, to be exact. While the Christmas Markets are jam-packed with vendors, the year-round markets will be a more low-key affair, with 30 – 40 vendors predicted to be present. The winter markets will continue until May 1, and be open for business from the Lansdowne location for 3 days weekly in the summer.

Beyond merely an excellent opportunity to choose unique and personal stocking stuffers and new ingredients for your next meal, you can feel good that you’re doing your part to uphold the local artisanal scene.

Are you wondering what the fuss is about supporting local? You’re not alone. I mean, the convenience of popping to your nearby big box store (and aren’t they all relatively nearby?) or the security in sticking with a brand you know are strong motivators against making the shift to locally produced. The advantages far outweigh these familiar comforts, though.

I’m sure you’re already privy to this knowledge, but the items found by local producers are of an entirely different quality. Obviously homemade (in the good way), these goods do not conform to seasonal trends and offer more personality than you’d normally find in chain stores. A carefully selected locally crafted gift will mean so much more than a stock present your recipient has probably already received three times this holiday season from big brands.

More than maintaining the personality of your presents, shopping local also upkeeps or reinvigorates the community’s culture. Many local artisans support local as well so your purchase helps perpetuate these partnerships. Local goods reduce the need for extensive transportation and delivery thus this practice is positive for the environment, too. For even more benefits of changing your shopping habits to be more locally-oriented, take a look at this extensive list. It’s worth it!

To support Ottawa’s artisanal community this holiday season, visit the Christmas Market which will be held two more weekends on December 6 &7 and December 13, 14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aberdeen Pavilion, Landsdowne Park (1015 Bank St).