Marché Spectaculaire showcases Montreal artisans just in time for the holiday season

Chinatown venues host weekend market featuring art, wine and more Nov. 20 - 22

Marché Spectaculaire is taking place Nov. 20 - Nov. 22. Poster courtesy Danica Olders @danicaolders.

The pandemic has been hard on local businesses, but two Chinatown venues have found a way to adapt. Poincaré and Fleurs & Cadeaux have invited local artisans into their spaces to sell wares this weekend for their Marché Spectaculaire.

Montreal artists from different backgrounds are showcasing their artisanal works, ranging from prints and paintings to handcrafted hats.

Light jazz can be heard from the staircase leading to Poincaré restaurant, inviting passersby into the dimly lit bar with a vibrant ambiance. Potted plants hang from the ceiling near tables stacked with specialty wines and beers. Displays of hand-made crafts sit in front of the artisans who made them.

The relatively new establishment specializes in craft beer, natural wine, and locally sourced fermented foods. 

Local artists display and sell their work at Marché Spectaculaire from Nov. 20 to Nov. 22. Photo Ray Resvick

“We were open for seven months then the pandemic [happened],” said the owner, Hugo Jacques, about the restaurant’s short-lived activity. Running the business amidst the changing restrictions has been “a hard reality,” he explained. 

The idea of opening a pop-up market came to him when thinking of ways to use the space. Jacques intends on lending the space to friends to showcase their work and allow people to buy gifts from local businesses since many markets are closed this year in lieu of the pandemic. 

In one corner of the room is a table filled with colourful and unique ceramics. Handcrafted bowls, mugs, and small blue vases are all pieces made by Marylin Champagne, a Montreal local.

Champagne specializes in ceramics and pottery. She started out two and a half years ago after taking a ceramics class. She spent ten hours a week practicing before turning her love of pottery into a full-time job just six months ago. 

“At first, I was scared because it’s sometimes difficult to [make a living] from your art,” she said. 

Designer Marianne Lapointe showcases her custom made hats @chapeauxdefelt. Photo Ray Resvick.

Champagne works with different clays, techniques, and textures in order to put together art that customers will love and keep. She makes pieces that are decorative but also functional. 

“I want people to feel very happy when they buy a piece,” she said. “And [to] keep it for a long time.” 

Designer Marianne Lapointe is selling her custom hats at Marché Spectaculaire. She works with her customers to create not only a trendy accessory but also a fun experience. 

“I was looking for a specific hat for myself, but I wasn’t able to find it, so I took a class and made it myself,” Lapointe said of how she got started. 

Marché Spectaculaire features Montreal artists including @its_aless_mc who is selling prints. Photo Ray Resvick

Her hats can be made of fur felt, wool felt, or straw. Lapointe works with the customer to dry the hat into the mould of their desired shape. Every hat she makes is customized for the person buying it. 

Marché Spectaculaire is also taking place in a second restaurant in order to spread people out and maintain distance, while also giving more artists a chance to showcase their work. 

Fleurs & Cadeaux is an old flower shop turned Japanese-inspired restaurant, right by Place d’Armes metro station. Here you will find artists selling paper prints, as well as socks, and beanies. 

In much of the same spirit as Poincaré, local artists utilize the unused restaurant space, creating a lively atmosphere of exchange. The restaurant serves food for takeout, including Japanese Yakitori, Bento boxes, and Katsu Curries.

Fleurs et Cadeaux is located at 1002 Saint-Urbain, and Poincaré is located at 1071 Saint-Laurent. The market will continue to run at the two Chinatown venues on Nov. 21 and Nov. 22 from 12 p.m until 8 p.m.