Christmas markets a lifeline for businesses?


Business owners say Christmas markets will help as shopping local becomes the norm

As Christmas markets pop up in thousands of Canadian cities, one might think: where’s the surprise? But for many small business owners, Christmas markets have become a lifeline in a time of struggle. In Calgary, few indoor activities are happening around the city. However, the Christmas market in the BMO Centre is fully operational and going local.

Christmas markets and shopping centres are now implementing capacity limits, physical distancing, strict sanitization and other disinfection procedures. For example, one has to take to-go if they want to enjoy a treat. Also, officials will check each and every person’s temperature upon entrance. And even though the process might feel artificial, the shopping spirit is alive and well.

Calgary’s BMO Centre Manager Annette McArthur says Christmas markets bring ‘festivity and fun’ to people who finally have a chance to get out of the house. She also remarks on how the markets ‘make people forget, just even for a little while, that we’re in the middle of a health crisis’. Meanwhile, small business owners say thank you, as the response from customers has been outstanding. Many business owners in Quebec went fully online. Many others in Calgary have worked extra hard to keep open, many went delivery-based, but the most important thing is that people are willing to spend. Small local businesses are especially favoured, as citizens redevelop a strong sense of community, of ‘being in this together’.