The annual Canada Day flea market in uptown Saint John is moving to Exhibition Park on the city's east side and will be held on June 30 instead.

The change comes after organizer Joe Boyce, 73, was hospitalized for several days following a heart incident.

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The bylaws would not have allowed enough room for all of the vendors coming from across the Maritimes, says organizer Joe Boyce. (CBC)

Boyce was also going to require a permit for the uptown event for the first time this year after Uptown Saint John officials complained about the litter and a lack of supervision of food vendors.

Saint John council had voted unanimously to approve a special events permit for the annual flea market, which started in the late 1980s.

But Boyce didn't feel he could host the event uptown because of strict, sometimes confusing bylaws associated with the permit, such as the Use of Sidewalks bylaw and the Hawkers and Peddlers bylaw.

For example, tables could not be set up within five metres on either side of the four fire hydrants along King Street and Boyce didn't think there would be enough room for all of the vendors.

"We found that the only other site we felt that could handle it would be Exhibition Park," where he holds the Rhoda's Flea Market every Sunday.

Scrambling to reach vendors

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The Canada Day flea market has attracted thousands of people to uptown Saint John every year. (Courtesy Urban Deli)

Boyce is now scrambling to contact hundreds of vendors from across the Maritimes to tell them about the new location and new date.

"I'm absolutely going to give it a good crack," he said.

Some vendors will set up inside the Exhibition Park building, while others will be outdoors with tents or gazebos from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.

There will be no admission, but donations will be accepted for two charities — the Boys and Girls Club and Healing Hands for Haiti.

Steve Small, who usually sets up a table on King Street in front of his shop, Fundy Coin, says he will miss the flea market that attracts thousands of people looking for a bargain or treats.

"It is the busiest day of the year," said Small. "People are out, people that don't usually come uptown," he said.

There will still be a number of events uptown on July 1, including Art in the Park and a charity bingo at King's Square, a parade on King Street at 11 a.m., live performances and fireworks.