A look inside Montreal’s Lunar New Year Market

Did you know that the Chinese pictographic for the rabbit is 兔?

Sunday, January 22, 2023 marked the beginning of the Lunar New Year which highlights the year of the Rabbit.

In Chinese culture, people strongly believe that it is destined to influence the year and the people born in it. For reference, people born in the years 2023, 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951 and 1939 are associated with the Rabbit zodiac. Last year was the year of the Tiger. The rabbit is the fourth Chinese zodiac animal out of twelve.

You might be curious about what exactly the rabbit symbolizes in Chinese culture. Well, it embodies energy with a focus on relaxation, quietness and contemplation.

In the Gay Village, in the downtown Montreal area, Montrealers rang in the new year with a variety of activities. One of the activities was a free-to-attend, one-day-only holiday market organized by the Montreal Hong Kong Cultural Learning Society.

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Lunar New Year in Asia falls after the second new moon which occurs after the winter solstice. That means the Lunar New Year can happen anytime between January 21 and February 20.

Upon entering the market space, visitors saw a decorative cherry blossom tree and a table nearby. The table had a bunch of markers and pens on it for visitors to write their wishes for the upcoming new year on cards with the purchase of an item at the market.

Wishing tree where guests could leave their wishes for the new Lunar New Year. DALIA NARDOLILLO/ The Concordian

Various sweet smells wafted throughout the market. The vendors were selling food that was being freshly made to order on-site. Some of those sweets included bubble waffles, Japanese and Tawainese wheel cakes, and much more.

The market not only offered lots of variety in terms of things to buy, but it also offered interactive booths where guests could try their hand at Chinese calligraphy. 

I was enticed to try my hand at Chinese calligraphy and learned that you begin with the horizontal strokes first, and then do the downstrokes. I gave it a couple of tries at writing down some Chinese pictograms until my hands got stained with ink.

The other interactive booth included a dice game with a Fish-Prawn-Crab.

All the vendors present at the market were bursting with energy and the excitement for the year of the Rabbit could be felt throughout the room.

If you celebrate the Lunar New Year, we wish you peace, health and prosperity for this new year!


Drop By And Drop Dollars at the CSU’s and FASA’s Holiday Market

Concordia’s Student Union and Fine Arts Student Association have teamed up for the Holiday Market this Dec. 7 at the CSU lounge, on the 7th floor of the Hall building

The idea of the Holiday Market came from the success of the BIPOC market hosted at the chapel on the Loyola campus on Nov. 8, organised by the CSU’s Loyola coordinator Sabrina Morena. Many tables were set up and decorated, with snacks included, and Concordia’s radio station CJLO made an appearance with their very own DJ. 

“It was relatively simple to organise in many ways which is why we thought short notice would do something similar,” said CSU Student Life Coordinator Harley Martin. 

The goal of this market is to expose artists downtown and at a more festive time of the semester. “We thought, ‘why not do something similar, closer to vacation time at the CSU lounge’ given there are so many people there at lunch,” added the Student Life Coordinator.

At this event, you’ll find beautiful tangible products such as ceramics, paintings, drawings and jewelry that you can buy for yourself and others. “We talked to FASA, and they said ‘let’s do it,’” said Martin

The Holiday Market was created with one two-sided goal: the first is to provide publicity for Concordia students in the fine arts, and with a great place in mind to do it. The 7th floor of the Hall building is always busy. “There are always people there,” said Martin. “It’s a great place to allow people to see some of the art and artists produced at Concordia.” 

The second aspect is the market’s capability of providing exposure for the artists, letting people know that fellow students create art, even though they’re not necessarily enrolled in a fine arts program. “They could do art on their own time in other departments or fine arts, but it shows other students that people are making beautiful and interesting things at Concordia, so [it’s] kind of exposure for both parties,” said Martin.

The CSU has collaborated with FASA many times in the past in order to stimulate and inspire unfamiliar students who are interested in getting involved with the fine arts. “The idea is that we try to get students involved in things that they are interested in, and FASA is one of the various groups that contribute to the school experience,” concluded Martin. 

Make sure to bring your friends, your eye for gift-buying, and your holiday spirit to the CSU lounge on the last day of classes!


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

 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


DDO Holiday Market Returns

 The Dollard-des-Ormeaux Holiday Market returns to bring holiday cheer after a two-year hiatus

Nov. 12-13 marked the return of DDO’s annual Fine Arts & Craft Holiday Market. After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, local businesses and artisans returned to the DDO Civic Centre’s new Community Centre Building to sell their goods and ring in some holiday spirit. 

The event had live music, countless vendor stalls and the “Craft Café” to take a break from shopping and enjoy some freshly baked goods. The place was packed with families looking to get a head start on holiday shopping and support their community. 

There was a wide range of vendors, selling anything from knitwear to handcrafted jewelry to pottery. There was surely something for everyone, including a Lego building station for kids. No matter your age, there was something to pique your interest and tempt your wallet.

Going from vendor to vendor, there was no lack of smiling faces, as everyone was thrilled to welcome back the annual community event. Here’s to many more years of the DDO Holiday Market!

Student Life

Bartender Banter: The scoop on gin

The director of Montreal’s only gin pub gives the rundown on what’s good

This week, we are talking gin. I could talk about my love of gin for hours. Its bitterness, its versatility, its oomph. As a bartender, I have a lot of fun creating and mixing with gin. Anything that vodka can do, gin can do better, in my opinion.

When I found out a gin bar existed in Montreal a few years ago, I quickly became a frequent visitor.

Inside of Le Pourvoyeur. Photo by Danielle Gasher

Le Pourvoyeur, located at 184 Jean Talon St. East, in the Jean Talon market, offers over 125 different kinds of gin to drink on the rocks or in your favourite cocktail.

Stéphane Bernard is the associate director of the gin pub, which opened six years ago. Bernard and I talked cocktails and favourite gins. But before I give you all the scoop, let’s go through some basics.

What is gin?

Gin is a spirit derived primarily from juniper berries. Gins usually include other botanicals, such as coriander, lemon peel, orange peel, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg. The difference in flavour from one kind of gin to another largely depends on the balance between botanicals.

How is it made?

Gin, funnily enough, is technically flavoured vodka. Gin is made from the distillation of a neutral grain alcohol, the botanicals mentioned added after. Vodka is just made from distilled grain like wheat, rye or potatoes. In other words, gin is way more awesome. Technically speaking, gin has a more complex flavour.

Some recommendations

As with any drink, people have their favourites. For gin lovers who prefer coarser, more bitter gins, Bernard recommends the Filliers Dry Gin 28, a Belgian gin barrel-aged in a bourbon barrel for added depth and intensity. The gin takes its name from the 28 botanicals used to distill the alcohol, including Belgian hops, angelica root, allspice and fresh oranges. Le Pourvoyeur uses this gin to make one of Bernard’s favourite cocktails: the gin old-fashioned. The drink is made the same way as the classic old-fashioned, but with gin instead of bourbon.

Alternatively, Bernard recommends Juniper Green gin. This London gin is organic, and has a dominating pine flavour.

The pub has more than 100 options of gin to choose from. Photo by Danielle Gasher

For the lover of softer, more subtle-tasting gins, Bernard recommends Brockmans gin. It is subtly bitter with light floral notes. Bernard says it’s the perfect gin to drink on its own, over ice.

Bernard also says to take advantage of all the awesome Quebec gins available at the SAQ, and at his pub, of course. These include Ungava, Saint-Laurent, Piger Henricus, Romeo’s gin and Neige.

Mixing it up

The pub’s cocktail menu includes all the classics, from a Negroni to a Pimm’s Cup. But it also has some funkier, delicious options to try, such as the Earl Grey G&T or the cocktail of the month, the Gold n’ Ginger. This special drink is a mix of Botanivore gin, cognac, ginger syrup, thyme, an egg white and fresh lemon. One of Bernard’s favourites is the Piger Bloody Caesar. The classic bloody is made with a Quebec gin, the Piger Henricus, instead of plain ol’ vodka. The gin flavour really elevates the clamato flavour and the spiciness of the drink.

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