A variety of local markets add color to towns and cities across Canada, often becoming more than a place to simply buy fresh produce or local goods. Instead, these markets have become vital community hubs where people gather to relax and enjoy a weekend afternoon—with food, music, art, and other activities. Whether open year-round or only seasonally, here are eight world-class markets located across the country.
Marché Jean-Talon, Montreal
Bakery, Market, French
Located in the Little Italy neighborhood of Montreal, Marché Jean-Talon is one of the oldest public markets in the city as well as one of the largest in North America. Open year-round, you can find everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to flowers, spices, oils, cheese, meat, fish, and artisanal bakery goods. During the peak season of May through October, there are upwards of 300 vendors selling a large selection of regional products from across Quebec.
Across the city, you’ll find another one of Montreal’s world-class markets, located close to the Lachine Canal. Atwater Market has been running since 1933 in a beautiful and distinctive Art Deco-style building that houses a variety of butchers and delicatessens, as well as horticultural vendors and farmers.
The historic space occupied by St. Lawrence Market has housed a public market since 1803. With 120 vendors spread throughout three different buildings, the focus here is on the pure enjoyment of good food. It was even named as one of the world’s best food markets by National Geographic in April 2012.
The Toronto Christmas Market, named one of the top 10 Christmas markets in the world by Fodor’s Travel, USA Today, Mashable and others and located in the historic Distillery District, is a romantic and magical holiday tradition. Along with the numerous vendors, there are traditional music and carols, dance performances, and family-friendly activities. Traditional European street-style food is on offer along with Canadian holiday treats—including both cold and warm brews that can be enjoyed in the beer gardens.
As Canada’s largest outdoor antique market, you can explore more than 20 acres of stalls, cabins, and barns at Aberfoyle in Guelph, Ontario (less than one hour from Toronto). With 150-plus vendors and dealers, the 55-year-old Aberfoyle Antique Market runs every Sunday from April to October.
This market runs every Saturday from May to October in Cottonwood Falls Park and features live music and a friendly, creative atmosphere. There are over 40 vendors selling everything from fresh produce and juice, eggs, honey, home-brewed root beer, local natural meats, and a variety of prepared baked goods and savory options.
Framed by the picturesque and historic architecture of Bastion Square in Victoria, which saw its heyday during the 1858 gold rush, this market has become a cultural hub that revolves around an Artisan Fair and Farmers’ Market. Running on Sundays from May to October, farmers sell their locally grown produce and fruits, homemade bread and pastries, preserves, chutneys, relishes, and free-range eggs. This year, Bastion Square Market will also feature an Artist of the Day, which will showcase local artists from Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.
Hubbards Farmers’ Market, scenically situated in the middle of six acres of woodlands and fields, is where you can enjoy an array of artisanal foods. Visitors will find bagels, organic fair-trade coffee, berries, fresh vegetables and herbs, jams and jellies, spirits, wines, grass-fed beef and other meats, bread and baked goods, all offered by over 40 local vendors. You can also browse for fresh flowers, jewelry, handmade soaps, and other crafts.