With the cold weather here, the Ottawa Farmers’ Market has made the move into Aberdeen Pavilion for the season. However, there may be other changes in the air for vendors.

Until recently, vendors have counted on their 40-year lease with the City of Ottawa to book space at Lansdowne Park for the market every Sunday. Currently, the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group only manages the stadium, arena and shopping area. Everything else is within the city’s jurisdiction. 

On Oct. 28, the city endorsed OSEG’s proposal to fully take over the park. Public backlash has led the city to postpone a final decision until 2020 while undertaking further consultations with OSEG and the public. 

Under heaters reminiscent of those in hockey rinks of another era, vendors expressed concern that their weekly use of either Casino Lac-Leamy Plaza — formerly Market Square — or the pavilion might be in jeopardy.  

The Ottawa Farmers’ Market runs every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. In the summer, tents fill the square outside. The market moves inside in winter. [Photo © Matthew Newell]
Customers inside Aberdeen Pavilion during the weekly farmer's market
Sunday morning brings dedicated patrons of the Farmers’ Market. The rooftop heaters inside Aberdeen Pavilion provide a welcome respite from the cold winds, as vendors sell the last of the produce from the 2019 season. [Photo © Michaela Bax-Leaney]
Vendor sells product to a customer
Zoltan Sara, right, of Addison Gardens, sells some of the last of this season’s peppers. Sara fears that, as a for-profit corporation, OSEG might push the Farmer’s Market out if a different event comes along that would bring in more revenue. [Photo © Michaela Bax-Leaney]
Addison Gardens sells fresh produce and canned goods, from cauliflower to cloves of garlic. [Photo © Matthew Newell]
While winter might signal the end of fresh produce, Addison Gardens has a host of preserves available as well. [Photo © Michaela Bax-Leaney]
As the mercury drops, this is the last of the fresh veggies until next spring. [Photo © Michaela Bax-Leaney]
Steve Dionne of Ottawa Garlic says he believes that, when kept in check, private companies do a better job than the government managing spaces like Lansdowne. He says he would support OSEG, but he suggested including a clause in the agreement which would oblige them to provide space for the market. [Photo © Matthew Newell]
Werner Farms, based in Beamsville, still has some of the colours and flavours of fall on offer for Ottawans. The company benefits from a slightly longer growing season in their location between Lakes Erie and Ontario. [Photo © Michaela Bax-Leaney]
Greer Knox, centre, of Log House Farm and Cottage is a former director of the Ottawa Farmers’ Market Association. She says she is deeply concerned about OSEG’s proposal. She points to Market Square being renamed Casino Lac-Leamy Plaza, as an indication of OSEG’s priorities, and the direction OSEG has in mind for the future of the market. [Photo © Matthew Newell]
Greer, on top of the preserves that she sells, also knits hats, scarves, and other cozy winter items. [Photo © Michaela Bax-Leaney]
While these scarves might make her feel warm and fuzzy, Greer is chilled by the OSEG proposal. [Photo © Michaela Bax-Leaney]
Roxanne Garland, right, of Garland Sugar Shack, said that the city mandates that vendors in the market must be split between farmers, bakers and craft-makers, and that it all must be local. Under OSEG, she says, it is unclear if those stipulations would remain. [Photo © Michaela Bax-Leaney]
Garland speaks with a customer about her new maple wine. [Photo © Matthew Newell]
While the future of the might be up in the air, one thing is certain: winter is here, and the holidays are just around the corner. As the growing season comes to a close, Bergeron Gardens is wasting no time stepping in with holiday wreaths. [Photo © Matthew Newell]