Montreal

Quebec City's new farmers' market a hit with vendors and customers

Friday's grand opening came on the heels of Thursday's closure of the market in the city's Old Port, and many residents of that neighbourhood worry le Grand Marché is robbing them of a vital part of their local economy. But producers who made the move said they're happy to discover how open and spacious the new building is.

Le Grand Marché's grand opening comes on heels of closure of Old Port market

Mélanie Giroux and Line Mercier of Les jardins des petits pré, who used to sell at le Marché du Vieux Port, are excited about the new location. (Julia Caron/CBC)

Marie-Christine Bouffard used to go to the seasonal outdoor Sunday farmers' market that popped up in her Quebec City neighbourhood of Limoilou.

"I like to buy local, but especially good quality, local, fresh ingredients," said Bouffard. "To have this within walking distance? We are so lucky."

Bouffard was one of the Quebec City residents who flocked to the official opening of le Grand Marché Friday, along with her neighbour Marie-Hélène Jacques and their daughters.

Marie-Christine Bouffard, left, Stella, 8, and Marielle Lipson, 5, along with their friend and neighbour Marie-Hélène Jacques, her daughter Margot, 3, and 3-month-old baby Carmen were among the first customers at the grand opening of the new farmers' market in Quebec City's Limoilou district. (Julia Caron/CBC)

Friday's grand opening came on the heels of Thursday's closure of the 32-year-old farmers' market in the city's Old Port, and many residents of that neighbourhood are upset that the new building is robbing them of a vital part of their local economy.

But producers who made the move said they're happy to discover how open and spacious the new building is.

Located just next to the Centre Vidéotron, le Grand Marché's state-of-the-art architecture provides a new central location for access to fresh local foods in the city.

Jean Piché was keen to see the new market, having worked as a vendor with les Jardins du Petit Pré at le Marché du Vieux-Port. (Julia Caron/CBC)

Aside from aesthetics and accessibility, the new building offers better conditions for vendors, said Jean Piché, a longtime customer and sometime seller.

"The old building was overdue for a change," he said.

Piché, who helps his niece with her farm in Chateau-Richer, les Jardins du Petit Pré, is confident the upgrades that came with the new building will mean less waste for many producers.

"During the hot summer months, fresh vegetables and plants would wilt and spoil, largely due to the poor air circulation in that old building," Piché says.

Freshly grown tomatoes from Les jardins des petits pré bask in the natural light which pours in from the glass ceiling structure at le Grand Marché. (Julia Caron/CBC)

Mélanie Villemaire is another producer happy to be in the new location. Villemaire, who works on an organic farm in the Charlevoix region, la Ferme des Quatre-Temps, said she is eager to see what kind of response they get from consumers.

"The proximity to the customers — having that one-on-one interaction — it gives us energy for the harvest and the harder times."

Mélanie Villemaire, an organic farmer from the Charlevoix region, will be selling her fresh produce and organic meat products every weekend at one of the outdoor market spaces. (Julia Caron/CBC)

The second-floor family-friendly space in le Grand Marché, was also a big draw Friday, especially for those with strollers and shopping carts, and wheelchair users.

Denis Filioux lives in Limoilou, not far from le Grand Marché. He was pleasantly surprised by how accessible the space is. (Julia Caron/CBC)

Denis Filioux, who uses a scooter to get around, says the new space is far more accessible than most indoor markets.

"There's lots of room, you don't feel like you're stepping on people's toes," he said.

Le Grand Marché features airy architectural designs to showcase the spaciousness of the new location. (Julia Caron/CBC)

About the Author

Julia Caron

Journalist

Julia Caron is a journalist, radio-maker and art lover based in Quebec City. Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Julia has lived in over a dozen military towns growing up. She has called Quebec City home since 2008, and proudly calls herself a franglophone (yes, it's a thing).

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