The Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market has been a N.S. staple for over 271 years
Posted on July 23, 2021 | By Alexander Chafe | 1 Comment
One year shy of being as old as the province’s Capital city, the Halifax Farmers’ Market was established in 1750 by Royal Proclamation. With over 271 years of history, what’s now called the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market is the oldest operating market in North America
Buying and Selling Necessities
The Farmers’ Market originated as a way to buy and sell basic needs. Meat, fish, produce and knitting were sold by locals, and other essentials like firewood and hay were also available.
Merchants and patrons visited the Market weekly at its original location on George Street. Some travelled by horse and carriage, while others walked as much as 65 kilometers there and back with their goods. The Market became part of life; not only for commerce, but also for socialization with friends and family.
Due to its increasing popularity, a second location on Bedford Row was added in 1800 and a property was built in 1854 close to the George Street location.
Moving Locations and Operations
Over the years, there were many changes to the location and operation of The Halifax Farmers’ Market.
The Market was first managed by a Board of Commissioners in 1750. Halifax’s Justice of Peace took over in 1800, then the City of Halifax in 1842 and a cooperative of vendors in 1882. Today, the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market is operated by the Halifax Port Authority.
After years at George Street, the Market moved closer to the Citadel in 1916. Eventually, all activities moved inside the Brunswick Street building, until it was demolished in 1969. This left the Market without a home, but loyal vendors kept it alive until settling in at Lower Water Street in 1983. Years later, construction began at Halifax Seaport.
Operating at Halifax Seaport
August 7, 2010 was opening day at the Halifax Seaport location. What was once a place for essentials has expanded to include a bit of everything, featuring locally grown and produced foods and a variety of hand-crafted artisanal products.
Visitors can find vendors like Julien’s Pastry Shop for French bread and pastries, Aflame Creations Jewelry for hand-crafted jewelry, and many others.
Today, the Market is transitioning from its most recent move down the street to Pavilion 22, still in the Halifax Seaport area. Operations will be outside on the weekends in the summer and move inside during winter.
“The transition of the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market to the cruise pavilion has been seamless and generally well-received by both vendors and the public.” Says Lane Farguson of Halifax Port Authority. “We really appreciate the customers and vendors who have stayed with us through this change.”
He also noted that future improvements to the outdoor space are to come. “We are consulting now with vendors and neighbouring tenants on the best location, and we will provide an update once those plans have been firmed up.” •
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I was so disappointed no atmosphere will not go back, best time was a crowded market in the breweery. It was like shopping in an alley way at the new seaport 22 needed some feeling of authenticity, the good things the sun chairs outside felt cold