New market brings fresh food to Montreal's Old Port

Marché des Éclusiers is a new market catering to residents of and visitors to Montreal's Old Port.

Marché des Éclusiers aims to diversify food options in condo-heavy, tourist friendly neighbourhood

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      The Old Port is known for a lot of things — cobblestone roads, heritage sites, general old-timey charm — but being a place to pick up fresh fruit, vegetables and other locally-made goodies isn't necessarily one of its claims to fame.

      But a new market is trying to change that. Marché des Éclusiers, on de la Commune Street at the intersection of McGill Street, officially opened to the public last week.

      Founder Devin De Sousa partnered with 10 independent businesses to create a space that offers fresh food options for people who live in the area.

      The market is set up like a smaller version of the Jean-Talon Market. 

      Bio Locaux sells fresh, locally-grown fruit and vegetables, Boucherie Lawrence sells meat and charcuterie and there are baked goods from La Petite Boulangerie, fish and other seafood as well as a café and restaurants.

      Great location

      The market is right along the water. Those who can't wait until they get home to dig in to their haul can have a seat and enjoy while taking in the Old Port atmosphere.

      The idea is to provide a service to all Montrealers, but especially to those who live in Old Montreal. The neighbourhood counts many condo dwellers among its residents, and while there are a lot of restaurants and dépanneurs in the area, there aren't as many options for fresh food, De Sousa said.

      De Sousa owns Fabergé Restaurant on Fairmount Avenue in the Mile End neighbourhood and says he's interested in encouraging people to buy local and cut down on food waste.

      "What we're trying to do is create awareness in terms of waste and compost and the future, what we need to do to save ourselves and be alive in the next hundred years," he said.

      New riff on an old theme

      The area where the market is set up sat empty for many years, but decades ago it was where port workers lived and worked.

      They were called "éclusiers" and their job was to open and close the port for ships and businesses. Since De Sousa's goal was to, in a sense, open up the Old Port to a new way of eating, he decided to name his market after those port workers.

      It's run like a co-op — the vendors pay rent and there is no government funding or sponsors, yet.

      The market is open every day. The café opens at 8 a.m., the market at 10 a.m. and restaurants around 11 a.m.

      with files from CBC Montreal's Daybreak