City Market in the Winter: Parkade or Bust?

Though I am not a fan of the heated tents on Churchill Square as a temporary bridge to a permanent, indoor City Market venue, when I heard the market would be shifting to the first level of the City Hall parkade, the tents didn’t seem to be such a bad idea after all.


Market Day!

Well – more than anything, it was just far enough outside what we were used to that we didn’t know what to expect. Walking in, this was the scene:


Parkade market

In place of vehicles were 50 or so vendors, a gift wrapping station and a children’s craft table. Though the grey surroundings and lack of natural light were difficult to overcome, the market organizers did their best, with balloon decorations and carollers to lighten the atmosphere.


Carollers (love the balloon reindeer!)

Vendors made the best of their space, using whatever was available to them to hang their signage.

Medicine Man Bison

Medicine Man Bison’s creative use of overhead pipes

In contrast to the individual tents, the best thing about this venue was that it allowed all of the vendors to be in the same room together.


Good turnout

Santa was walking around, scaring some children, and keeping in touch with the North Pole via his Blackberry. There was also another mascot, who we thought was a little more frightening, his blue, blue eyes bright under the fluorescent lights. It didn’t stop Mack from taking a photo with him though.

Nippy and Mack

Nipper and Mack

Not knowing which vendors will be at each of the market dates makes it a little difficult to depend on these winter markets (as much as say, the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market, or even Alberta Avenue), but I still enjoy the convenience of walking down the street for local products. I’m not sure the parkade is the best place for the market either, but I suppose until a permanent venue is found, whatever is central will have to do – I know I appreciate the City Market organizers doing what they can in the meantime.


Wide aisles

It was good to see Bamir of Eva Sweet, though I have to say I almost always expect to see him in the confines of his waffle truck. In addition to waffles, he was selling vanilla waffle dough, which is a great idea for the holidays – a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, and an easy breakfast for those with a waffle iron at home.

Eva Sweet

Eva Sweet dough

We also met Darcy Goodrich of Pure Country Food, who offers free-range pork, chicken, turkey, eggs, and grass fed and finished beef. We missed him at the last winter market in November, but look forward to seeing him again at the next two winter markets – if not only for their beef jerky, which I had to hide from Mack after he consumed half the package in one sitting.

Pure Country Food

Darcy from Pure Country Food

After picking up what we needed, we headed back to ground level to take advantage of some of the other market activities.


Marshmallow, anyone?

The lines were quite long for the sleigh ride during the Holiday Light-Up, so we were in luck today – crowds were thin, and meant we didn’t have to wait at all for our turn.



AGA drive-by

Art Gallery drive-by



Sleigh ride!

Overheard during the ride – a 10 year old girl behind us said, “There’s always something fun going on downtown.” Agreed!

There are still two more City Market winter dates remaining this year – December 11 and 18, 2010, from 11am-3pm on Churchill Square (yes, back to the tents). See you there!

3 thoughts on “City Market in the Winter: Parkade or Bust?

  1. Hmmmm seems they made the best of it from your pictures, Sharon, though I’d feel a bit claustrophobic in such a space. Let’s hope as we continue to rethink and redesign downtown we get that lovely permanent market venue. Best….

  2. Thanks for the post, Sharon. Though it’s not the same as 104th Street, it’s nice to see that someone is trying to make some effort through the winter months. I’ll have to check it out next Saturday.

  3. Katharine – yes, they did indeed make the best of it! Looking forward to the permanent venue too.

    FoodieMcPoon – true enough! Look for the tents on Churchill next Saturday.

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