Laura Robin, Ottawa Citizen
Lansdowne Report Card: FARMERS’ MARKET
- The farmers. They’re working really hard and overcoming big obstacles to bring their produce to the city, and setting up attractive stalls in spite of the hassles (like nowhere for them to store things or park nearby.)
- It’s a fabulous new opportunity for the market to operate year round, inside the Aberdeen Pavilion in winter. It opened again Sunday, Jan. 10, and will open each Sunday, right through to next year’s Christmas market.
- The outdoor area has some upsides compared to previous sites, such as good drainage.
- The city and OSEG need to treat Ottawa Farmers’ Market as a valuable asset, not an afterthought. By spring, the city should provide the outdoor amenities it promised.
- OSEG should not mess with market hours, as it has in the past.
- Free parking should be offered for market customers, at least for a limited time.
- Signs on Bank Street and the Queen Elizabeth Driveway, and in the underground garage, should remind people about the market and how to get to it.
- A welcoming, shaded spot should be created for pausing and picnicking near the market.
- Consideration should be given to making the Aberdeen Pavilion the market’s exclusive home, with permanent stalls, like Montreal’s Atwater and Toronto’s St. Lawrence, with a big enough range of products that it’s a one-stop shopping and tourist draw.
- If Loblaws can sell Labatts, Ottawa’s farmers market should be allowed to showcase Ottawa’s exceptional craft beer scene.
Like a particularly hardy crop of kale, it seems that Ottawa Farmers’ Market will survive, though it was uprooted — twice — for the Lansdowne Park redevelopment.
The transplant back to Lansdowne was unquestionably difficult, though, with wilting sales, at least one lost livelihood and even some sacrificial pigs and lambs.