The Success Stories

Quebec City’s German Christmas Market

View of the lit wooden kiosks at Quebec's German Christmas Market 2010
German Christmas Market in Quebec, 2010 - © Communauté allemande Québec

Communauté allemande Québec (German Community Quebec, in short CAQ) is a small and very active group that offers many activities and cultural exchanges to improve knowledge of Germany. In 2008, the CAQ launched the idea of a “German-style” Christmas market – small decorated wood cabins, lighted alleys, traditional Advent songs and pastries... For its first try, the event took place on a Saturday afternoon around a few stands in a church basement, and was so successful that visitors had to queue outside to enter. This unexpected success encouraged the CAQ members to hold a larger-scale event the following year.

After finding an ideal venue – the Holy Trinity Cathedral square in Old Quebec City’s upper town, at the foot of Château Frontenac – Communauté allemande searched for sponsors to launch the project. “When we contacted the State of Bavaria Quebec Office to obtain their support, our idea was surprisingly well received. Not only were they willing to sponsor us, but they also promised to participate in animating the Christmas Market,” indicates Olivia Lexhaller, member of the CAQ “And their commitment enabled us to win more credibility and find other sponsors, such as the City of Québec.”

In Dec. 2009, Quebec City’s first official German Christmas Market was an amazing success, with 20,000 visitors in one weekend. “The attendance was enormous,” recalls Daniel Curio, the Office’s director. “People could barely move along the alley flanked by the wood cabins!” The Office was there to offer tasting glasses of hot spicy wine (Glühwein) and slices of traditional gingerbread (Lebkuchen), which Quebecers were delighted to sample.

In the following year, 2010, the Market was extended to two December weekends. The Office, still a sponsor, invited a famous citharist, Willi Huber, for a free concert featuring this typical instrument of the Alpine region. Again the event was highly successful, with a church filled with people listening to the instrument’s light scintillating tones.

2011 saw the Market change venue for the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, where motorized traffic is cut off for the duration of the event, which, as soon as 2012, stretches over 10 complete days and attracts more than 55,000 visitors. More and more local artisans and food producers are interested and willing to participate.

Created at the right time, the German Christmas Market, held at the same time as the other Christmas markets in Quebec City’s lower town, has helped Quebec City approach its goal of becoming “North America’s Christmas capital”.