Kitchener Market

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History of the Saturday
farmers’ market

Our farmers’ market is among the oldest consistently operating markets in Canada. Its vibrant colours, fresh-from-the-field produce, lively chatter and friendly faces have been enjoyed by residents and visitors to the area for more than 140 years.

The market is a proud tradition in the city. It links young with old, past with present and rural with urban.

The beginnings of the farmers’ market can be traced to the first Mennonite settlements in Waterloo Region. In the 1830s, farmers who produced more than their families could consume, held outdoor markets in the Village of Berlin (now the City of Kitchener) to share their abundance with others.

The first permanent market structure was built in 1869. That year, town council approved the expenditure of $7,000 to construct a two-storey town hall to house the farmers’ market, Council Chambers, a public library and a post office.

By 1872, the market had grown so popular that the initial site became too crowded and a new market building was needed. It was constructed behind the town hall. This building was home to the market for 35 years.

In 1907, the farmers’ market was built on the same site to accommodate the growing population. A two-storey red brick building was constructed and served as the location of the farmers’ market for well over 60 years.

In 1973, the Market Square building, a downtown Kitchener shopping mall, became home to the new market. A 1972 brochure announcing the market’s anticipated move made a commitment to residents stating: “There’ll always be a market in Kitchener…the Kitchener Farmers’ Market will not close this year, next year – ever.”

Continuing with its legacy of culture and tradition, in the spring of 2004, the Market opened in a new marquee site on King Street, between Cedar and Eby Streets. Marking the eastern entranceway to Downtown Kitchener, the facility is one of the most beautiful and contemporary markets in all of Canada.

Although the location of the farmers’ market may have changed over the years, the tradition and spirit of the market in Kitchener has not. The market has become a part of the city’s cultural identity and is rooted in our natural and human heritage. It is, and always will be, an integral part of the community in Kitchener.