Downtown farmers market heads back to 104 Street

Downtown farmers market heads back to 104 Street

The Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market is headed back to its original 104 Street location on Saturdays beginning June 15.

The market, which in the past operated on 104 Street during the summer and moved to city hall during the colder months, announced it was moving to The Quarters in March.

In the fall of 2018, preparation began for the upcoming outdoor market season. The downtown farmers market license to occupy 104 Street was set to expire in Oct. 2019, so it asked the city for a three year extension.

That's when it discovered that the city planned to close 104 Street above 102nd Avenue for utility upgrades for the west LRT extension, said market spokesperson Dan Young.

"That's a key part of our footprint," he said.

Young explained that they were told in February that the market's lease was terminated and the downtown market wouldn't have a designated space for the 2019 season.

It decided to secure a new permanent indoor location, eight blocks to the east, in the former Great Western Garment Company building on 97th Street and 103rd Avenue.

While the building was renovated, the plan was to set up for regular operations outdoors along 103rd Avenue between 96th and 97th streets.

It officially opened for business at its new location on May 18, with the addition of a new Sunday market. 

"When we left 104th Street, we did it because we wanted to make sure that we had a place for our vendors," Young said. "We assumed that that area was still going to be under construction."

Moving back

Upon further investigation into the west LRT line construction schedule, "it was determined and admitted by the city that they may have been a little bit overzealous in closing the street for the season," said Downtown Edmonton Community League president Chris Buyze.

The downtown market had first right of refusal, so it decided to move the Saturday market back to 104 Street when it learned about this development last week.

The Sunday edition of the market will stay in the new outdoors location in The Quarters for the summer, then move to the year-round indoor space when it's ready.

The community league had started to plan other programming in the area to replace the market on 104 Street, but Buyze said he's just happy it's back.

"We just want to make sure that we can provide that urban street life experience that people have come to expect of 104 Street in the summertime," Buyze said.

There is a possibility the Saturday market may be on 104 Street again next summer too, but it will depend on the LRT construction in the area.

"Now that we know that the space is available, I think it's a win-win for everybody," Young said.

The downtown farmers market will be open on Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. from June 15 to Aug. 25.