Created in fall of 2021, we started out 2022 with our new umbrella brand – Ottawa Street Markets – starting to take shape. We wanted to retain the regional markers, but felt our growth warranted a City-wide moniker. The overarching label was designed to gather together our various operations while allowing for new pieces to slot into the puzzle as they revealed themselves.
Thanks to the Crichton Community Council, under the leadership of Sylvain Belanger, we were able to manage our Online Market operation out of the New Edinburgh Field House throughout winter 2021/22. Although a great spot, it was never intended to be our long-term quarters.
At the end of April, we moved into our new home at 1805 Gaspe Ave. ‘The Hub at 1805’ was earmarked to become a gathering spot for the local community and beyond. We were a good fit.
We began running the Online Market from the Hub, introduced Monday ‘Mini-Markets’ and are perpetually adding to our new Farm Store (also at 1805 Gaspe).
While the move to the Hub was merely a matter of throwing things into the back of the van, we were simultaneously making another move that required much more explanation.
The Beechwood Market’s time in Optimiste Park had come to an end. The City of Ottawa had just made it so difficult and expensive to operate in the park that we could no longer sustain the level of service we wished to provide. Here is my explanation from the spring. Moving a business or event is never the best idea, but we knew that the 2022 season in New Edinburgh (Stanley) Park would be a winner.
A few weeks after firing up Beechwood, we opened up season two of the Elgin Street Market. Elgin had soared from zero to sixty in its’ first year. For a variety of reasons - some explained, some left in mystery - the same reaction was not experienced in 2022. The Elgin Street Market returned this year to a more regular measure of a second year market. Working with a great group of volunteers from the Centretown Community Association, I have no fear that it will flourish into a bustling neighbourhood market.
A few weeks after that, we launched the new Alta Vista Market. The request to introduce a market into the area came from the most vivacious, Marty Carr, President of the Alta Vista Community Association. She had identified the need for local food, negotiated a deal to use the St Thomas Parish property and organized activities for the season. The Ottawa Street Market crew helped with promotion, coordinated vendors and took care of operations. A great collaboration, the Alta Vista Market was immediately accepted and was chalked up as a success.
As poetic balance, our attempt at building the Richmond Road Night Market did not boom as loudly. With all the right intentions, the Westboro Village BIA asked us to bring our flavour to the corner of Churchill & Richmond on Thursday evenings. We would soon learn that there were really only a handful of people in the whole area on Thursdays. Despite our best efforts, we wrapped it up four weeks early. The result no one wanted, we had to give it a shot.
Other efforts this year included pop up markets at the Carlington Coffee House, the addition of more local vendors to the roster and a commendable first run of the Holiday Market at the Hub this past December 3rd.
A big thank you to the sponsors that have stuck with us through all the ups and downs – Natalie’s Urban Ottawa, Axis RMT, Minto Apartments, Egg Farmers of Ontario and Manor Park Developments.
Thanks to all our supporters; community efforts like ours wouldn’t work without community encouragement.
Finally, a huge thank you to the whole Ottawa Street Markets Crew with a colourful shout out to Helena and Matty.
With a solid foundation in place, 2023 will see much upward progression.
Happy New Year and all the best to everyone.