The Christmas market is back in downtown Montreal, is normalcy returning?

MONTREAL – A sign that things in Montreal are returning to normal despite high daily COVID-19 figures is the return of the annual outdoor Christmas market.

Organizers hope this will help attract shoppers to the city center, although some challenges remain.

“You can see smiles everywhere,” said Glenn Castanheira, director of Montreal Center-Ville. “We’re just missing the snow and we would teleport to Christmas.”

There hasn’t been a market for almost two years, and traders are eager to come back and meet the buyers.

The Christmas market is not quite what it used to be, as some of the usual traders have not been able to find staff to open.

The government has encouraged people to support local traders, but there are still limits.

“Public health guidelines do not allow us to do any promotions or advertising that would create an overwhelming rally,” Castanheira said. “We can’t even announce when Santa Claus will be in St. Catherine.”

Traders say the good news is that downtown pedestrian traffic is increasing month after month, but it’s still about half of what it was before the pandemic.

“Now is the time to support local artisans,” said trader Cindy Chung. “It’s really cool to be able to discover all of us. There are tons of things to do downtown, come downtown.”

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