Potential upgrades to the Hamilton Farmers’ Market on the horizon


Published May 9, 2023 at 3:38 pm

The city's economic development department proposes changes to Hamilton's Farmer's market to keep up with evolving times.

Changes could be coming to a popular local farmers’ market.

The Hamilton Farmers’ Market at 35 York Blvd is a well-established hub for supporting local farmers, producers, and businesses by providing a reliable source for buying locally-sourced goods. The market is open to the public year-round, with weekly operating hours on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

That said, a U.S. consulting firm says the market must evolve to remain relevant and sustainable.

The city’s economic development department and the Project for Public Spaces recently proposed that council spend an additional $200,000 to commission a consultant’s report to make changes to the design and layout of the market.

This proposal comes after a $100,000 review that outlined a vision and guiding principles for the market’s future. The new report would focus on how to achieve these new upgrades. However, council voted 14-0 on Monday (May 8), asking market vendors and stakeholders for a separate governance report before making decisions on the market’s future.

The report suggests that the market could make consistent changes while staying in its current location or temporarily relocating to allow for renovations before moving back. It also suggested it could relocate entirely.

“We consulted with multiple councillors, Hamilton Farmers’ Market board, the market vendors, the public library, and different business representatives in downtown before creating the report,” Kurt Wheeler, the co-author of the Future of the Hamilton Farmers’ Market report, told council.

Some of the proposed improvements include an upgrade to the infrastructure, more space for seating, pop-up stores and events, multi-vehicle access, adequate parking, and extended hours for some parts of the market. 

Photo Credit: PPS report

A non-profit currently manages the market in partnership with the city. The report also proposed creating more “buzz” about the space through better marketing, which would help build strong relationships with the community and bring in more vendors and events in the future.

“The more time people spend in the market, the happier they are in the market; the more money they will spend in the market, and this is a business as well as a public institution,” said David O’Neil of Project for Public Spaces.

The councillors were enthusiastic about the proposed project but chose to seek the opinion of the market’s board of directors before making a final decision.

Council will wait until the board’s next meeting in June before approving.

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