Original gift Ideas at Portobello West Holiday Market

Holiday Market

Portobello West Holiday Market opened its doors at the Creekside Community Centre, Olympic Village Saturday, Dec. 7.

Portobello West is a non-profit society that supports local artisans and helps them to connect with their community. The seventh annual Holiday Market presents over 75 designers, artists and artisans. Portobello West is committed to promoting local designers, artists and producers and this year’s artisan fair offers a wide variety of local goods.

The range of things on the market is vast, from fashion clothing to jewelry, from customized umbrellas to baby and kids items, from homemade jams to Christmas bakery.

Pamela Jackson designs her own jewelry and this is her seventh year at the market.

“Everything I make is completely crocheted; I make it all from scratch,” she said. “I use freshwater pearls, Swarovski crystals, all natural gemstones. I do metal crochet and metal knitting, so I knit the silver and gold and crochet it into earrings.”

Jackson has her work in a number of stores around town, but likes to show her work in the markets. “I can hear what people like, and see what looks good on people, how my designs can be tweaked so they wear better, hang better,” she said. “It is so rewarding to see something pretty on people when they buy it. I’ve always been creative but I always have to work outside of my home for a living because I was raising a daughter. She is brought up and married, and now I get to do what I like.”

Carlin Elliot is another artisan at the fair. She sells knitted scarves and hats.

“I am a stay-home mom; I have two kids and third on a way. This is my way of staying at home,” she said. “I started when my daughter was born, three and a half years ago. I usually do lots of markets at this time of the year and it is lots of fun and I super enjoy it.”

Joanne Schwartz came from South Africa and she uses markets to raise money for people there who have HIV.

“This is a project of Fashioned for Change in Little Travellers, all of these stuff is made by women in South Africa infected or affected by HIV,” she said. “They make all of these things, design their own stuff and they send them to us on consignment and we raise money and we send 100 per cent of the money back.

“So we raised $500,000 in almost 10 years and most of it started just through little travelers that were about $5 at a time. My family is from South Africa originally and my brother went back to volunteer in aid centre and they were selling these little pins to tourists but tourists don’t go to aid centres.

“He brought back 20 and we raised enough money to order a 100. They are called little travelers to spread a message of hope. We raised money to get a 100 and now we have sold something like 30,000 travelers.”


  • Avatar
    Reply December 9, 2013

    Ashley Ezart

    It was interesting to read about the stories behind all of these marketers, especially the one where she does it all for the charity. I had never heard of this event before so hopefully you get some hits and more people find out about it! I just wish your photo had a caption so I knew which woman that is. A picture of the other women’s products would have been good too! But otherwise, really informative.

  • Avatar
    Reply December 9, 2013

    Daniela Carmona Gonzalez

    Now that were are entering the looking for gifts season, original gifts are hard to find. I really liked that the gifts here are hand made, it gives it more value in my perspective. It is also nice to know that the gifts are from local artisans. Although I would have liked to see more pictures, there is good information in this article, certainly useful.

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