The Fair Trade Christmas Market in North Vancouver features sustainable products from around the world that are brought to Canada by Ten Thousand Villages.
Fair Trade Christmas Artisan Market
The Fair Trade Christmas Market in North Vancouver is a smaller market featuring environmentally and socially-responsible products for purchase.
In 2019 the Fair Trade Christmas Market ran from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm on Saturday, November 23rd. The event didn’t happen in 2020 because of COVID-19. Whether it occurs again in 2021 is to be determined.
The one-day pop-up-style market takes place each year at St. Andrew’s United Church at 1044 St. George’s Avenue in North Vancouver. St. Andrew’s works with the organization Ten Thousand Villages to put on the event. All goods are handmade by artisans in developing countries.
Who and What is Ten Thousand Villages?
Ten Thousand Villages is a social enterprise (which means they are a non-profit business) that imports artisan products from the developing world using “fair trade” practices as a way to support artisans and their communities.
A project of the Mennonite Central Committee (which is a Christian organization), Ten Thousand Villages partners with artisans and worker cooperatives in the Third World to bring their products to markets, to stores in both Canada and the United States.
Ten Thousand Villages is one of the original and largest non-profit fair-trade businesses in the world. The social enterprise pays the artisans it buys from a fair price and ensures they have good working conditions. The organization also builds long-term relationships with the artisans and their communities – to ensure stability in their trading relationship – and encourages environmentally-responsible practices.
There used to be Ten Thousand Villages stores across North America including locations in Abbotsford, Langley and Vancouver. The Vancouver location was on Granville Island. The Abbotsford store was at 33933 Gladys Avenue. The Langley location was at 20525 Fraser Highway. As of 2020 all the stores are closed, although the organization still does sales online.
If you shop at Ten Thousand Villages you can be confident that the people who made the goods you buy have been paid a fair wage and are treated exceptionally well – the products haven’t been made in a sweat factory and the workers haven’t been exploited (which isn’t always the case with regular retailers including big box stores and major brands).
When shopping at Ten Thousand Villages you can also find exotic and high-quality handmade artisan products while supporting communities in poor countries.
Tips and Advice
Below are some tips and things to think about when doing your Christmas shopping this year.
TIP #1: Instead of doing all your holiday purchases at major retailers, big box stores and online giants, do at least some of your shopping at Christmas craft fairs and artisan markets because doing so supports artists and keeps dollars in the local community. Also, buy fair trade and from places like Ten Thousands Villages because doing so supports artisans, workers and communities in countries that are less fortunate than our own.
TIP #2: If the market does happen again, combine your trip to the Fair Trade Christmas Market in North Vancouver with a visit to places of interest in the area. Lonsdale Quay, Lower Lonsdale and the Shipyards District are just a short distance away. The North Shore is also home to numerous exceptional parks which are great to explore (assuming the weather is good).
TIP #3: Public transit to St. Andrew’s United Church is fairly convenient from Vancouver. Lonsdale Quay is just a 15-minute SeaBus ride from Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver. Using the same “Compass Card” transit ticket you can then take bus number 229 or 230 from right by the SeaBus terminal up Lonsdale Avenue. Get off at 8th Avenue and walk 9 minutes east to St. George’s. Or, if you really want some exercise, the church is only about 1.4 km or a 20 or 25-minute walk from Lonsdale Quay (but all uphill).
TIP #4: St. Andrew’s United Church is also a great place to find free Jazz concerts. Similar to a few other churches in the Lower Mainland, they offer Jazz Vespers services where, once a month, some of Vancouver’s top Jazz musicians perform by donation. Jazz Vespers at St. Andrew’s takes place on the last Sunday of the month from 4:00 until 5:00 pm. If you like Jazz, it’s worth checking out.
Click Fair Trade Christmas Market for more details about the market in November.
For more details about the social enterprise behind the products for sale at the market, see the Ten Thousand Villages‘ Facebook page.
For more information about other Christmas craft fairs around the Lower Mainland, click Vancouver Christmas Craft Fairs.
For ideas on other things to do in the area check out any of the following:
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver’s Best Christmas Activities
- Vancouver’s November Calendar of Events
- Vancouver’s December Calendar of Events
- Free November Activities in Vancouver
- Free December Activities in Vancouver