Finding holiday cheer away from home

Photo by Qiao Liu

 

Upon searching for some cheer to brighten my mood from the looming exam period, I attended the Uptown Waterloo Holiday Marketplace — a weekend of festivities spanning Dec. 1-3.

This particular weekend also called for celebration as it was my birthday, and my boyfriend who lives in England had come to visit me. I was keen to show him the character of our small but spirited home.

The first thing I noticed upon walking down King Street is how drastically different it looked. All the construction that spanned the whole of Uptown has been taken away, meaning cars and people were free to cascade the street at their leisure. Being new to Wilfrid Laurier University, I have never known Uptown to look so snazzy so this was a nice addition to the festivities.

The open road was a great excuse for the festive horse-drawn trolley ride to parade with young children who squealed in delight. The horses took the children through all of Uptown and around Waterloo Park, and was free to attend on behalf of Uptown Waterloo businesses.

Many of the shops in Uptown had decorated their window displays to support the festive cheers. Valentina Bridal and Couture had a gold and bronze themed display, with a Christmas tree and giant baubles hanging from the ceiling. The colours of the tree matched the warm colours of the gowns in the window, which were as sparkly as the decorations.

One of their final songs was a cover of Mumford and Sons “Little Lion Man”, which is one of my favourite songs of all time. I was happily singing away in the corner much to the dismay of everyone else, as I’m not exactly talented in the vocal department.

The Friday and Saturday evening saw Waterloo Public Square turn into an intimate campfire sing-along, as people warmed their hands on their hot chocolates and sang Christmas carols while sitting around a blazing fire.

My favourite part of the weekend was getting cozy to some live music in local café, Death Valley’s Little Brother on Saturday evening. I had never been here before, but was drawn in by their unique and extensive selection of coffee, whiskey and cake.

Ontario-born singer, Madison Galloway, was performing, and upon doing some research, I discovered that she was only 17-years-old. The maturity of her voice and the eloquence of her performance suggested someone who had years of experience so I was surprised and impressed to learn of her youthfulness.

Galloway had a unique fusion of sounds; a folky base with hints of rock and blues. She accompanied her vocals with a guitar and a harmonica, of which she changed with every song. She had a variety of harmonicas on the table next to her, each one different in tone and pitch.

Galloway was accompanied on a few songs by her boyfriend Jonathon Markov, and the two of them performed an original cover of the Christmas classic “Let it Snow!” Markov played the banjo, and they put a spooky yet curious spin on the song, which was performed in a minor key and was completely different to the original.

The pair promptly followed with a more traditional cover of John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas”, in which Galloway’s harmonica and Markov’s banjo harmonised to create a folky and festive atmosphere.

One of their final songs was a cover of Mumford and Sons “Little Lion Man”, which is one of my favourite songs of all time. I was happily singing away in the corner much to the dismay of everyone else, as I’m not exactly talented in the vocal department.

The talent of both Galloway and Markov was exceptional considering their young age, and I was blown away by their performance that evening. It was a great way to end Marketplace, and I was impressed by the efforts of so many that had gone into making the whole weekend diverse and inclusive.

In August, I moved 3,000 miles to make Canada my home, and four months later, I am proud to call Waterloo my little corner of Canada.

    Leave a Reply