How did the Vancouver Christmas Market come to be?

The Vancouver Christmas market, a time-honored tradition for all Vancouver families to visit is back on this holiday season. This year undoubtedly families will flock to it to make up for that missed holiday spirit from last year due to the pandemic.

Although have you ever stopped to wonder how the market originated? What is the history of this magical place? How did it come to filling up my Instagram feed once a year with photos of pretzels, dazzling lights and the icon sign?

Well, let me give you the Christmas spirit run down of how it came to be and what you should come to expect form it this holiday season!

So, the way the Vancouver Christmas Market talks of itself can be a little confusing! Right now, they’re celebration their eleventh year. Yet I can vividly remember going the market at a super young age. Also, when you look up the Vancouver Market it says that the markets been around since 1990.

There were years it was held inside Canada Place. One year I remember the venue was located in a spot that was so large it took 10 minutes just to get to the other side with out stopping to look at all the shops!

So, what they are celebration is the Market as we know now, that was started by Malte Kluetz. Kluetz is a German immigrant who came to Canada in the early 90’s and in 2010 he started the Vancouver Christmas Market that features a German Christmas pyramid that is based off a smaller Christmas pyramid that would sit on a table. For the longest time was the only one in North American.

“I thought everybody has Christmas markets, It took me 20 years here to realize my dream. I’m pretty excited how things progressed over the years.” -Malte Kluetz 2016

So, turns out yes there has always been a “Vancouver Christmas Market but in reality, that was more of a flea market or Farmers market that was just held during the Christmas season. I hope if you were as confused as much as I was on it celebrating of it’s eleventh year that now you know you aren’t crazy.

So now that you know you aren’t crazy let’s look at the history of Christmas Markets!

Christmas Markets are not a new thing. They pop up everywhere during the holiday season usually more of a community craft fair really here in North America. The first ever true Christmas Market or “Striezelmarkt” was held in Dresden Germany in 1434.

Striezelmarkt or also known as ‘Christkindlemerkt’ (which translates to Christ Child Market) were winter markets held for four weeks often located along the town streets or town centres.

Similar markets known more as “December Markets” have been dated back farther. One market dating back to 1298 can be found in Vienna.

The original Market was very food based. Many traditional holiday dishes, desserts and beverages would be available. Such desserts like ‘Lebkuchen’ a traditional soft gingerbread Christmas cookie. You could also get ‘Bratwurst, and ‘Glühwein’ which is a hot mulled wine. You were still able to get goods and toys during the market, but it was more of a town social gathering that focused more on bringing people together.

At the Vancouver Christmas market you can get traditional German and Austrian food but comparably to the original it holds a lot more vendors that sell clothes, ornaments, and toys. Don’t get me wrong thought the sense of community is still alive and well in Vancouver. Every year there are many traditional German Vendors that bring the true Yuletide.

Now you know a little history of the beloved market, what you can expect to see this year?

Well for starters sorry to be the barer of bad news but the famous Käthe Wohlfahrt known for its unique handcrafted ornaments will not be apart of the Christmas market. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and challenges with overseas travel. Fret not this is only temporary as they do plan on making their return next year!

Not to worry there is still plenty to see at this years Christmas market with over 80 vendors both local and international, the Alpine Lounge, and this year the lovely Christmas Carousal is free! Although donations are appreciated.

With over 80 vendors you know there has got to be some delicious food amongst them. With over 20 food and beverage vendors you can experience traditional German dishes, desserts, and beverages! With hot chocolate and sweet treats for the little ones you can enjoy a taste of Germany with German beer at the ready.

The market also has musical entertainment everyday! On weekdays from 5 pm to 9:30 and weekends 12:30 to 9:30, you can see to performances from many different artists! Everyday be serenaded by local and international artist as well as sing carols with such groups as ‘The Gingerbread men!

So, come on down and celebrate the Yuletide down here at the Vancouver Christmas Market located at Jack Poole Plaza in downtown Vancouver by the Olympic Cauldron.

For tickets, performances, and vendor information head over to and plan your Christmas adventure today.

Merry Christmas!


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