By Mirela Marceta
Am I bold enough to say that I believe that church bazaars are the most underrated holiday experience? Heck yea, I am! Can I get an amen for church bazaars?
Church bazaars are perfect for dates, family days out, or even self-partnered adventures to get you into the holiday spirit. You might worry that if you ever stepped foot into a church you’d burst into flames, so this is your chance to find out! It’s also a chance for you to support your community while treating yourself and your pocket nicely along the way.
As a broke millennial, I need creative ways to find presents, support my community, and feed myself. Where else can I get a three-course tea party for $5, gifts for loved ones, and unlimited surprises?
Here are my favourite local holiday bazaars and craft fairs, including a few to add your calendar for next year.
Upcoming Church Bazaars
St. Michael’s Anglican Church Christmas Bazaar
November 16, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
St. Michael’s Anglican Church (1188 Fennell Ave. E., Hamilton)
Why It’s Great: If you’re from Hamilton and need a bazaar that is wheelchair accessible and is on a public transit route, this is the one! With handmade items, African goods and outdoor urns, this marketplace will bring you the church bazaar experience without having to leave the city!
November 16, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
St. Christopher’s (662 Guelph Line, Burlington)
Why It’s Great: Handmade tourtierres: Fresh or frozen. Plus your standard church bazaar goodness, including preserves, knitted goods, and a penny sale. If you’re not familiar, a penny sale is the ultimate garage sale raffle draw! From new treasures to vintage goods, you can win items worth years of memories. You could walk away with a cookie jar, George Foreman Grill, gift cards, and so much more!
November 16, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Church of the Epiphany, Bronte Village (141 Bronte Rd, Oakville)
Why It’s Great: If you haven’t visited Bronte Village in a while, now’s the time! You’ll find Church of the Epiphany a few short strides from the major intersection of Bronte and Lakeshore. Last time they had a fair, they had mini horses outside. You’ll also find amazing rare books and attic treasures. The church is also advertising bacon on buns — so there’s that! Bronte Village is an established community with a number of new restaurants and a beautiful lakeside trail. Come for the holiday bazaar, stay for the view — that’s how that slogan goes, right?
Craft Fairs and Other Holiday Events You Shouldn’t Miss
Arts Burlington Christmas Fine Art & Craft Sale
November 14-17 (Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), Friday (10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.), Saturday & Sunday (10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
Art Gallery of Burlington (1333 Lakeshore Rd, Burlington)
Why It’s Great: Alright, not really a church bazaar, but it’s a must-see nonetheless. The Guilds of Arts Burlington put this show on, and it is the most visually stunning marketplace you will see this year. Catch sculptors, woodcarvers, fibre artists, hand weavers, spinners, potters, and more bring their visions of beauty to life. Even if you cannot afford to buy anything, the show might inspire you to become a guilder.
The Ancaster Craft Show
November 23-24, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Ancaster Fairgrounds (630 Trinity Rd S, Jerseyville)
$6.00 (Adults), Free (Under 12)
Why It’s Great: There are over 135 vendors showing off their artistic talents. I’ve picked up handmade holiday cards, scrapbooks, natural beauty items and more! My favourite item I’ve bought anywhere comes from this market — It’s a bracelet that spells out positive affirmations in morse code. The Ancaster Craft Show is a great place to meet vendors you don’t often get to see at other markets.
Murder Mystery at African Lion Safari
November 16, 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
African Lion Safari (1386 Cooper Road, Hamilton)
64.99 per person
Why It’s Great: This one isn’t a bazaar, but it’s a little bizarre!
“The Lion did it!” At least that’s what my coworker exclaimed after she found out about this event. This event is a murder mystery at the African Lion Safari with a buffet. Why wouldn’t it be great?
November 29, 6:00 p.m.
Burlington City Hall (426 Brant St, Burlington)
Why It’s Great: I like free things. Partner this with shiny things and my attendance at your event is probably guaranteed. Dress up warm for this fun night out in downtown Burlington. It’s great for kids or others who already have a decent amount of holiday spirit pent up. You’ll usually get free hot chocolate and a candle to stroll with, and sometimes you’ll even get burgers (expect a long line for that one). After the town crier yells Christmas things to you and the tree is lit up, you’ll walk the streets of Burlington receiving free treats along the way. Honestly, I never make it to the walk — I end up at the Queen’s Head pub every year drinking and listening to live music.
November 26 to December 1, 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Dundurn Castle (610 York Blvd, Hamilton)
$12 (Adults), $10 (Seniors/Youth), $6.50 (Children), Free (Infants)
$32 family price available
Why It’s Great: This event is the closest thing you’ll get to living out the Downton Abbey Christmas special. Visit the Dundurn Castle to enjoy the beautiful work the Garden Club of Hamilton creates each year with cedar boughs and flowers.
Church Bazaars to Mark on Your Calendar
You may have missed these bazaars in 2019, but they’re worth the wait! Mark them on your calendar for 2020.
Port Nelson United Church (3132 South Dr, Burlington)
Why It’s Great: Held the second Saturday of every November, this is probably the largest bake sale you will ever see. Homemade jams, preserves, gourmet foods, and beyond. This is the place to get your morning treat and explore the vastness of its marketplace. This bazaar includes a mix of handmade crafts by church parishioners and local vendors who sell a wide array of holiday prizes spread across several rooms. Find handmade birdhouses, wreaths, or clothing here. Lunch is also available.
Grace Anglican Church (317 Main St E, Milton)
Why It’s Great: That soup, tho! The best lunch at any bazaar, hands down. You’ll also find the greatest selection of vintage items, quilts, hand-knitted or sewn items, and a pretty decent children’s corner and silent auction. It’s worth the drive to Milton.
St. Paul’s Christmas Bazaar
St. Paul the Apostle Parish (2265 Headon Road, Burlington)
$1 entry fee
Why It’s Great: It has the best penny raffle, silent auction, and children’s corner of any Christmas bazaar. One year, I got all of my co-workers presents here for less than $20.00. There’s a great selection of knick knacks and vintage treasures.
Mirela is a special event and community based fundraiser at YWCA Hamilton. She lives in Oakville and spends her weekends dragging her friends out to different experiential events around Ontario. Her knowledge of Ontario-based community festivals is extensive! Mirela spends most days researching mermaids, ocean life, folklore and space.