George Milbrandt —
Shovels are about to go into the ground and construction will soon be underway for a new North St. Lawrence Market building. Local farmers have been selling the fruits of their labour at Front and Jarvis for over two centuries and, in three years time, will move into this new facility. Meanwhile, a temporary building is being erected for their use on the former TPA parking lot at The Esplanade and Jarvis.
Due to the constraints of the site, the temporary market is smaller than the current building; there will be approximately 9000 sq. ft. of usable space compared to 12,000 sq. ft. in the existing North St. Lawrence Market building. Additionally, finding suitable areas for the outdoor farmers during the summer harvest season will also pose some challenges given the confined space and limited number of stalls that can surround the temporary market structure.
A large portion of Market Lane Park will be used as a construction staging area for the new building. This puts further pressure on the available real estate to accommodate the busy Saturday programming at the Market. Due to all of these factors, the city has come to the conclusion that the Market Cart Program will have to be temporarily suspended as of April 1, 2015. The viability of the Farmers’ Market is vitally important to the continued success of the Market as a whole and must take first priority in resolving the aforementioned challenges.
The Market Cart Program has been around for a number of years, providing an opportunity for various artisans and crafts people to display and sell their wares. It adds to the variety and vitality to the St. Lawrence Market experience and it is everyone’s intention for the program to continue.
The break in the Market Cart Program will also allow management to improve the application process for the vendors and the quality and variety of goods offered to the public. One of the key recommendations coming out of the consultation with Market Cart vendors was the implementation of a jury process to select vendors.
Moving forward, best practises from other leading Markets will also be incorporated into the new Market Cart Program.
The move of the Farmers Market to its temporary home will take place in the spring and will be followed by archeological investigations on the current North St. Lawrence Market site in preparation for demolition and excavation. The Market will do its best to minimize the disruptions that these changes bring. However disruptive, the good news is that our neighbourhood’s vision for a new North St. Lawrence Market building is on the verge of being realized.
George Milbrandt is president of the St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood BIA