Please someone add yet another Christmas market to my social media feed – but only if it’s outside. Then, I can take my dog.
Kitchener, Ontario answered that call. The 22nd Christkindl Market is December 6 to 9, 2018 at City Hall downtown.
Kitchener claims the title of Canada’s original “Christkindl Market” modeled after Germany’s historic Christmas markets popular since medieval times. (We hope to visit Germany soon – stay tuned). Kitchener’s Christkindle started in 1977 (not exactly 1400) and that’s not surprising, considering this town’s connection to Germany (it was originally named Berlin but that changed afterWorld War I).
The traditional activities – choirs on stage, live blacksmith demonstrations, skating – are outside and where my dog Victor and I wander. Wafts of steam and smoke from vendors selling traditional German fare such as schnitzel, warm potato salad and bratwurst fills the air like fog. Victor tracks meaty smells along the sidewalk. I hunt for finds from vendors huddled inside cabin-style huts lining the main street (closed to traffic for the festival).
Most of the craft vendors, however, are warm inside the crowded City Hall building along with the toddler-pleasing model train exhibit. Likely, I wasn’t supposed to take the dog inside, though no one noticed. Victor didn’t stay long – too crowded Friday evening after 5pm – but we do have to go through the building to get the underground parking (note: by 6pm, it fills up).
What did I go home with? Victor of course, though no hot dog for him this trip because the meats are mixed with spices like onions or garlic – poisonous to dogs. I buy poppy seed rolls, good ones are hard to find, but this is the city for awesome baked goods (year-round Saturday at the Farmers Market down the street). Also, a pair of alpaca wool boot insoles from Lonely Oak Alpacas in Callander, Ontario because if I’m going to be plodding through more outdoor winter markets, I’ve got to be prepared.
Speaking of prepared … I also coated Victor’s paws with Invisible Boot by 100% Natural for Pets (Amazon.ca affiliate link) to protect them from cold and salt. This is a product I discovered years ago and have remained brand loyal. And it’s easier than strapping on booties.
Read about other dog-friendly activities in Kitchener including the annual pet expo each spring, and dog-friendly camping options here. Also, one of my favourite places to trail ride is within this city’s boundaries: check out our Kitchener horse adventures at horsetrotting.net.