Your presence is requested at The Montreal Christmas Village at the Atwater Market

Visitors at the Christmas Village at the Atwater Market. Dalia Nardolillo/THE CONCORDIAN

 A look behind the scenes at what brings you the Christmas magic.

Nov. 24 marks the opening of the sixth edition of The Montreal Christmas Village at the Atwater Market. Open until Dec. 18, this year’s edition of the market will surely not disappoint.

The Concordian had the opportunity to speak with Carole Balas, one of the organizers who helps make the Montreal Christmas Village at Atwater Market.

Balas is the coordinator of volunteers for both the Montreal Christmas Village as well as The Great Christmas Market at Places-des-Arts. Launched on Nov. 19, The Great Christmas Market is already in full swing. 

“Along with being responsible for the volunteers at the market, I am a part of the communication team and I am also responsible for the photography and the videography team,” Balas explained.

In terms of recruiting volunteers for this year’s edition of the market, Balas was unsure if they recruited enough volunteers. She explained that every week on their social media, they have been posting advertisements to get volunteers. 

“I do meetings with them [the volunteers] and I explain to them what the non-profit is. I would say most of them are really excited to get started,” Balas said.

The Jean-Talon Christmas Market will not be getting volunteers this year because it is at a much smaller scale and won’t need as many helping hands. As The Montreal Christmas Village continues to grow, it was all hands on deck in order to get ready for the opening on Nov. 24.

“The volunteers will mainly sell food and drinks at the food chalet. They will also help with putting up some Christmas lights but we don’t make them focus on that as much. The merchants rent their own chalets at the Montreal Christmas Village and they are pretty much responsible for themselves,” Balas explained.

A worker at the food chalet at the Christmas Village in the Atwater Market. Dalia Nardolillo/THE CONCORDIAN

This is Balas’ third year on the team. She got involved with the team back in 2019, as a volunteer. 

“When I first started off as a volunteer, I was there almost every weekend. I was one of the people that was there the most and I loved it,” Balas recalled. “I spoke to my boss and I told her that I do videos, that’s my job. Then the next year, I actually did the official video for the market.”

Looking at the other side of her responsibilities, Balas is tasked with taking photographs and videos alongside the media team.

“So this year, in terms of marketing the markets, we are much more organized than years before. In the years before, I was the only one shooting videos for promotion of the market. Now we have a whole team of photographers and videographers,” Balas said.

Balas went on to explain that this year she has put together a short list of specific themes that the photographers and videographers should abide by. 

“Some of the themes include food, decorations, volunteers, merchants, and animals. Animals are important to capture because we get the question all the time if animals are allowed at the markets,” she said.

Even with a full plate managing both the volunteers and the media team, Balas is still looking forward to all the magic the market has to offer. 

“I think the decorations are what I am looking forward to seeing the most at the market. We have two yurts, one of them is going to be filled with beautiful decorations of elves and huts. The other yurt is a bar, we had it back in 2019, but this year it’s back,” Balas explained.


With the return of Atwater Christmas fan-favorite decorations and artists, this year’s edition of the Christmas Village will be the spot to visit for the holidays.  If Balas hasn’t peaked your curiosity enough about the magic of this year’s Christmas Village event, visit the market’s website.

The food chalet at the Christmas Village in the Atwater market. Dalia Nardolillo/THE CONCORDIAN

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