A gem of downtown Edmonton — and a much-loved Saturday summertime tradition for many — is saying goodbye to 104 Street.
The City Market is moving from its current outdoor location.
Dan Young with the market confirmed Wednesday that after 10 years of searching, they’ve found a permanent year-round location. Details of the agreement have not been finalized, so the new location hasn’t yet been revealed. However, the new location is expected to allow the market to expand and provide extra space for more vendors.
The new location is also expected to provide both outdoor street space in the summer months, the market said.
“I’d heard that City Market was making a change,” Mayor Don Iveson said Tuesday.
“I’m sad to see them go from 104 Street. I think that’s been phenomenal for the revitalization of that street.
“I’ll be sad to lose them here at city hall on Saturdays in the wintertime, but really it’s their choice, and we want the market to be successful and the vendors to thrive.”
Right now, the pedestrian-friendly market lines 104 Street from 102 Avenue south to Jasper Avenue. Vendors are also set up along 102 Avenue from 103 Street to 105 Street. Once built, the Valley Line LRT will run right alongside the downtown market on 102 Avenue, and the construction footprint will take up even more space.
In a statement to Global News Tuesday, a spokesperson for the city said:
“As the City Market is a major attraction downtown, we’ve been working closely with them to secure a unique and exciting new space, one that will meet their needs, now and well into the future.
“The city continues to support the market and promote it as an integral part of our vibrant downtown life.”
Watch below: (From Sept. 22, 2018): Many people have been to Edmonton’s 104 Street to enjoy the City Market Downtown, but many don’t know how it all comes together every weekend. Kent Morrison talked to the chair of the market’s board of directors about that on Saturday.
Area Councillor Scott McKeen said he heard the new location could be the old Red Strap building on 97 Street and 103 Avenue.
“They’ve been looking for an indoor spot for years. They can get sort of rained out on a number of their Saturdays. I think they’ve always wanted to find a spot where they could be indoors even in the summertime. This might allow them some expansion opportunities that they haven’t had on 104 Street. It’s classic good news, bad news,” McKeen said.
“There’s good news here for the Quarters, for 97 Street, for rainy days when you want to go to the market. Some people will have to walk a little further or hop on their bike to get there. There’s lots of parking in the Quarters for people who want to visit from other parts of town.”
A farmer’s market vendor told Global News there was a meeting on Saturday and they toured the old Army and Navy building on 97 Street.
WATCH BELOW (Sept. 22, 2018): On Saturdays, the City Market Downtown is synonymous with 104 Street. Kent Morrison takes a look back at its history.
Both McKeen and Iveson believe the change will be a loss for the 104 Street community.
“It’s been phenomenal for 104 Street,” Iveson said. “I lived in the area when it started up and it was just such a phenomenal way to get people out and meet their neighbours.
“It grew from being just sort of a downtown neighbourhood thing to a destination for people city-wide.
“I hope that will still be the case in whatever venue they’re in in the future,” the mayor said. “As long as it’s still bringing people downtown and supporting those vendors I think it’s good… Change like this comes with pros and cons for everybody.”
Architect and building owner Gene Dub said Tuesday a lease had not been signed for the 97 Street area. He added any speculation the market is moving there is “premature.”
That area has a history with Edmonton Markets. In addition to hosting the Red Strap Market, the City Market had to relocate to 97 Street in the mid-1960s to make way for the construction of the city library. In 2004, the City Market moved outdoors to 104 Street.
WATCH BELOW (June 20, 2015): It’s a popular downtown attraction that on good weekends can easily draw 10,000 people. But with the looming LRT expansion changes could be coming the popular farmers market. Eric Szeto explains.
Market-goers were sad to hear about the move.
“I’m devastated. I’m so sad,” said Erin Dahlgren, who lives on 104 Street.
“The best part about a Saturday morning was being able to come here and the streets were packed with people. You could shop local, you don’t have to go far. And now it’s kind of moving into an area I don’t visit often.
“It doesn’t make sense,” Dahlgren added. “This is so central, next to the rink and all the development.”
“It’s sad,” David Biscoe said. “This is a really nice street, the right atmosphere. I know the LRT is going to go through here and cause problems but I’m going to miss it.”