The STA Christmas Craft Fair is a large, well-established and popular holiday artisan market at North Vancouver‘s St. Thomas Aquinas School in November.
The event hasn’t happened for a few years now because of COVID-19. Whether it happens in 2022 or future years is to be confirmed.
STA Christmas Craft Fair in North Vancouver
The St. Thomas Aquinas Christmas Craft Fair is an annual event that attracts over 130 vendors and over 2000 shoppers. Vendors are jury-selected artisans and the quality of the products is high.
For the event’s official website click STA Christmas Craft Fair.
Where and When
The Craft Fair takes place at an independent Catholic school at 541 West Keith Road which is about halfway between the Lions Gate Bridge and Second Narrows Bridge in North Vancouver.
Free parking is typically available at the rear of the school and on neighbouring streets.
In 2019 the event happened on Sunday, November 3rd, from 10 am until 4 pm. In 2020 it was scheduled to take place on Sunday, November 1st, but was then cancelled due to the coronavirus. It doesn’t look like the event happened in 2021 either. 2022 dates and details are to be confirmed.
Admission to the market usually costs about $5 for adults and $2 for seniors. Elementary and high school students get in for free.
What to Expect and What’s New?
The St. Thomas Aquinas Christmas Craft Fair is one of the Lower Mainland’s largest and best-run markets of its kind. It’s well-known for the quality of its products, and shoppers come not only from the North Shore, but from across all of Metro Vancouver. It’s a first-rate event!
Exciting for 2019, with a brand new school and gymnasium, the Fair had 20% more artisans lined up compared to previous years due to the increased space, so it was even bigger and better than ever. In previous years, in fact, an average of about 1200 people attended the one-day event. However, in 2019 they had a record turnout of over 2000!
In normal years, expect to see an assortment of quality products including handmade clothing, beautiful home décor, fancy jewellery and gourmet food products. There is also a $1 Bookstore and a Café which serves tasty warm meals, coffee and sweets.
Items for sale at the Café usually include the school’s famous hamburger soup, Italian sausage on a bun, hot dogs, samosas, wraps, fruit cups and veggies. There are also cookies and an assortment of beverages.
Christmas-y music plays in the background at the event. In 2019 there was also a performance of Bloch Ballet for shoppers to enjoy.
New at the Fair in 2019 were the enhancements and uniqueness of the Raffle Baskets. The prizes included accommodations in Kelowna, a Nespresso coffee machine, cooking classes, travel gift cards, spa certificates and products from Eminence and Lush. (Note: Winners of the raffle baskets were announced at 3:30 pm but ticket holders didn’t have to be present to claim their prizes.)
Most of the raffle baskets have a value of $500 for which three tickets cost $5. The Grand Prize in 2019, however, was a $1,000 travel voucher with FlightCentre. Tickets for that cost $10 each.
Information for Vendors
The organizers of the STA Christmas Craft Fair look for artisan vendors who offer locally-made, original, “vintaged-up cycled” and handmade items.
To participate in the event, artisans’ products are subject to the approval of a jury which means the quality has to be high. A table for the day costs $100.
From what we’ve heard from participating artists, the STA students and volunteers treat vendors like royalty! Exhibitors are greeted by student volunteers who can help unload and reload products. The school even provides hosts who can mind vendor stalls temporarily if they need to step away for a minute.
In short, for shoppers and vendors alike, this North Vancouver market is very popular.
Tips and Advice
Below are some suggestions to help you make the most out of your shopping experience at the St. Thomas Aquinas Christmas Craft Fair.
TIP #1: If it’s not too busy and you get a chance, chat with the vendors. Hear their stories and learn about their products. It’s fun, you’ll learn something interesting about what you’re buying and the interaction between the creators of the products and the purchasers can be a special part of the experience.
TIP #2: The food served at the Café is delicious and their famous hamburger soup is especially recommended. Plan to stay for lunch!
TIP #3: Many vendors can accept credit card payment, but all can take cash (so we advise taking cash). An ATM is conveniently available onsite.
TIP #4: Bring your own shopping bags. Vendors do have bags to give out, but it’s preferable if you use your own reusable ones (and it’s better for the environment too).
TIP #5: With the raffle baskets, each basket is raffled off separately. When you buy your tickets you can place them in different bins in front of each basket. You can put all your tickets in one basket’s raffle bin (to increase your odds of winning the prize you want most), or you can put your tickets in multiple bins for chances to win a number of different baskets.
TIP #6: Again with the raffle baskets, your odds of winning the most popular baskets will be lowest (because they will have the most tickets in their bins). The odds of winning the less valuable/popular baskets will be highest (as you will be competing against fewer other ticket holders).
TIP #7: Instead of doing most of your holiday shopping at big box stores or online through giant retailers, buy your gifts at craft fairs like the one at St. Thomas Aquinas High School. By doing so you’ll support local artists while finding wonderful, unique, high-quality and affordable gifts that your friends and family will love and appreciate!
A Note from the School Principal in 2019 …
“Our team is ecstatic to invite the community back to the STA Christmas Craft Fair again this year, and welcome them to our new school.
With 20 percent more artisans and crafters, our visitors will find a gift for everyone on their list, as well as something for themselves! We’ve had tremendous donations from businesses throughout Metro Vancouver for the raffle baskets, including travel excursions, cooking lessons, community events and more!
Follow us on [Twitter and Instagram] @craftfairsta for a sneak preview. With our new state-of-the-art kitchen, we’ve updated our Café food options during the Fair, and also have a $1 Bookstore. Our visitors will notice a number of enhancements this year, so we can’t wait to see everyone on November 3.”
– John Campbell, Principal
St. Thomas Aquinas Regional High School
For more information about the event click STA Christmas Craft Fair.
To learn more about the host of the market, check out the St. Thomas Aquinas School website.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver’s November and December Calendars
- Vancouver’s Best Christmas Activities
- Lower Mainland Christmas Craft Fairs
- Lower Mainland Festivals & Events
- North Shore Christmas Activities