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Highlights 2News

Bryson House Christmas market ‘promotes local artists’

Camilla Faragalli
Mansfield and Pontefract
Nov. 25, 2023
Attendees and vendors spent a sunny morning at the George Bryson House annual outdoor Christmas market on Saturday.
Free coffee and hot chocolate warmed chilly hands as groups of friends and families perused kiosks offering a range of baked goods and handmade items.
“It’s really to promote the local artists,” said Nathalie Denault, a committee member of the George Bryson House of six years who helped organize the market.
Ashley Morin, who co-owns Mansfield’s Cuisine l’Ecuyer with her husband, was selling decorative Christmas trees she’d crafted in their workshop.
“When he’s not in the shop, I sort of took advantage and started doing little work projects, like the trees,” she said, adding that it was her first time selling her products at a market.
“I just wanted to try something new,” she said. “I was really nervous to put myself out there, but everyone’s been super welcoming, and I’ve sold a few sets so it’s encouraging!”
Mara James and her husband, long-time Lac Vert cottage owners, drove up from Ottawa for the occasion.
“We’ve been here years before and loved it,” James said. “It’s a nice sense of community and it feels nice at this time of year.”
Denault said the market was started as a component of an MRC Pontiac revitalization initiative a few years ago, but that the George Bryson Heritage House committee has been running it ever since.
She said this year’s market of 15 vendors was smaller than previous years, which usually saw between 20 and 30 vendors.
“You know, it’s hard times with the covid and all that stuff, everything went up. It’s expensive for people,” she said.
Denault was keen to thank the market’s sponsors, Caisse Desjardins des Rivières de Pontiac, CHIP FM, which was broadcasting live from the market, the municipalities of Fort Coulonge and Mansfield, and the Knights of Columbus Council 7221.
George Bryson, who built the house in 1854, is remembered as a visionary businessman, who dominated economic activity in the Pontiac in the 19th century with his forestry operation and building of the region’s first sawmill.
The house is home to the municipality’s local library, the Pontiac Genealogical Society, as well as a museum, tea room and two themed escape rooms.

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