Editor’s note: This story has been updated on Jan. 18, 2021 to correct the construction company and the size of the market.
Downtown Oshawa is getting a new indoor Oshawa Farmers’ Market.
The indoor market is expected to open on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 2021, and will be the first of its kind in the Durham Region.
It offers a chance for shoppers to buy fresh, locally grown produce year-round. Currently, Oshawa’s outdoor farmers’ market, located at the Oshawa Centre, runs from June to October.
Located at 27 Simcoe St. N., the market will replace the old Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) building. The construction of the farmers’ market is being done by Brockhedge Investment Group (BIG).
Rebecca Munn, 32, is the director of marketing for BIG and says they are hoping to create a market that feels like “a city within a city.”
Munn thinks the market will be beneficial for a lot of downtown residents.
“We’re filling a huge void. There really just isn’t anything in downtown Oshawa, so we really wanted to bring that city feel, a community and basically an entertainment hub into the downtown core,” says Munn.
The nearly 15,000 square foot building will feature a main level shopping centre, as well as an upstairs dining area for people to sit and enjoy their food. The market will have 20 independent vendors year-round including Willowtree Farm, Cakes by Jayne, and The Rook.
Willowtree Farm will provide fresh and local produce. Cakes by Jayne gives shoppers a chance to buy homemade cakes and cupcakes, and The Rook is a café/wine bar.
For Munn, it isn’t just a place to buy some fresh eggs and corn.
“We’ll have entertainment, live music, and it’ll kind of check all of the boxes basically. You could go there to buy your groceries and your fresh produce, or you could go there for a date night and grab a locally-sourced charcuterie board and a flight of beer,” she says. “It will be much more than an indoor farmers’ market.”
Like most businesses, COVID-19 will affect the market’s ability to operate and generate revenue. The vendors have been placed apart from one another and Munn feels social distancing is possible for everyone inside the building.
There will also be security inside the market and each shopper will be required to wear a mask, except when they’re eating.
Munn is optimistic about the kind of crowd the market will attract, and senses the anticipation from around Oshawa about the grand opening.
“It’s the first of its kind in Durham Region. By offering this year-round market we hope that we can fill that void. We’ve got a huge following on social media and we’re really excited to see the amount of people that come out to show support to these local vendors,” says Munn.