On Saturday, June 4 you will find the Beechwood Market around the perimeter of the Stanley Park Field House, 203 Stanley Ave from 9am-2pm. It will run through until Thanksgiving weekend.
As market-goers, you have all been supportive of our efforts, helped us grow over the years and deserve to know why this is happening.
Why Stanley Park?
We used Stanley Park (sometimes referred to as New Edinburgh Park) all winter to welcome vendors, aggregate products and distribute completed customer orders. The connection already made, I believe that the transition into the outdoor market will be fluid.
In order to use the Field House space, I work with the Crichton Community Council (CCC). A local residents group with excellent leadership, our winter working with them went very well.
A much smoother relationship, all rental fees garnered from the Beechwood Market will stay with the CCC to help fund their other community programming.
From an operational standpoint, the Field House has great electrical hookups, a good water source and excellent washroom facilities. We are also permitted to leave a few things onsite during the week. My back feels better already.
Stanley Park is made up of a playground, dog park, soccer field, bike racks, splash pad and tennis courts. There is also plenty of seating, if you decide to grab a meal, coffee or a few rays.
The NCC pathway swings right by our new location and parking is ample.
The Market vista includes the Rideau River, the Peace Tower and the Gatineau Hills.
We would also have use of the inside of the Field House. Although we may not regularly set up too many vendors indoors, there is a fully functional kitchen and shelter if needed.
Why are we leaving Optimiste Park?
It has always been cost prohibitive to operate on City-run property. Thanks to Councilor Fleury, we have a cut rate, but still a large number for a market focused on delivering local goods at a reasonable cost.
With growing operational and marketing costs staying at Optimiste would mean raised vendor fees and cuts in other areas.
On-site space for storage did not exist and created a struggle. We cannot continue to operate in such a time consuming and labour intensive way.
Every year has been met with barriers. That should not be the case at Stanley Park.
Alternatives we investigated
With the advent of our new umbrella brand - Ottawa Street Markets - our initial attempt was to move the market onto our main street, Beechwood Ave.
We tried a number of outlets, including having the BIA engage owners of parking lots, but sadly either no location could offer what is needed to operate appropriately, or the negotiations fell through.
Modbox, the owners of the St Charles Church development were amenable, but again, the space proved to not function as we have seen needed for our Market in the last few years.
I have not abandoned the idea of one-offs on Beechwood, but for a weekly market, I know my customers need consistency.
Much like Optimiste, Stanley is off Beechwood Avenue. Well placed signage, print ads and social media information will drive traffic to the site. It worked for Optimiste, it will work for Stanley.
On a local level, this may seem like we are moving to Buenos Aires. In reality, it is a kilometer from the Clocktower Pub, a 3 minute drive from Bridgehead, a 4 minute bike ride from Natalie’s Urban Ottawa’s office and a 12 minute walk from Chilaquiles restaurant.
Thank you to everyone that has helped us get to this point. The Vanier BIA, Councilors Fleury and King, our sponsors and everyone that showed up to support local, small businesses.
I am confident this move will have only positive results for the Beechwood Market. However, a change like this will raise questions. Please send them along to me at email@example.com or call me at 613 883 1012.