The Jean-Talon Market suffers from too much car traffic, overpriced goods and could benefit from more public input, said a citizens' group who polled users of the popular market. 

Les Ami(es) du Marché Jean-Talon surveyed 500 people who frequent the market, including vendors, customers and people who live in the area.

Jérémie Lévesque

Jérémie Lévesque speaks for the group, Les Ami(es) du Marché Jean-Talon. (CBC)

The results, they say, point to a few common problems with the market; namely too much car traffic, too expensive and not enough citizen oversight.

"The owner of the building is La Ville de Montreal so it's not an option that citizens not be involved in decisions," said Jérémie Lévesque who speaks for the group. "It's not the market of only producers or business."

According to their survey, 77 per cent of people are in favour of the addition of a citizen-held seat on the Jean-Talon Market's administrative body (CGMPM).

Currently the executive that oversees all the public markets in the city is made up only of merchants and business owners.


One of the recommendations was to improve signage at the market to make it clear where some of the products are coming from. (CBC)

The group is also recommending that signage at the market be more transparent about exactly where the produce is coming from.

Pedestrian space

Lévesque also highlights the need for better pedestrian access around the market.

"Right now, it's not safe for families and children," he said. "We're trying to find a way to make a cohabitation that is safe."

The group is proposing that the alley that runs north of the market between Casgrain and Henri-Julien avenues be converted into a pedestrian street with exceptions for merchants' delivery trucks.

jean talon car

The group is suggesting that the alley north of the market be made a pedestrian zone. (CBC)

Merchants not so sure

But Lino Birri, a long-time vendor at the market, says making the area less car friendly could hurt his business.

He says while more foot and bike traffic would be great, it's the customers who come in cars that pay the bills.

"If I sell two tomatoes, you can come by foot, take two tomatoes, go home, no problem," said Birri. "But if I sell to you 20 boxes of tomatoes because you have to do your sauce, you need a car."

jean talon 2

Lino Birri has been a fixture at the Jean-Talon Market for decades. (CBC)

Business owners like Birri say while they're open to fresh ideas, it's sometimes best to not mess with a winning formula.

"They're coming to my place and tell me how to run it," he told CBC.

"They love the market because we made it like that. Now you have to come and tell me the way we did wasn't good — no."

With files from Simon Nakonechny