Wow, the Parkdale Market has changed over the years!
As Wellington West celebrates 100 years, we would be remiss not to mention the wonderful families who have been selling their farmed goods in all types of weather, be it rain, sleet, snow and the extreme summer heat at the Parkdale Market. And since 2018, we now have more local food and products like chicken, ice cream and organic coffee.
For close to 100 years and four generations, it’s been a packed house with the Cleroux, Bergeron, Plante, Rochon, Lacroix and Drouin families who all hail from the Navan area. They’ve been driving across the city and setting up booths just north of Parkdale and Wellington Street West. They are all proud and hard working people who know and love their work, it’s in the family. That’s why they all return year after year to our annual neighbourhood market. It all started back in 1924, first dubbed the “West-End Market” then officially titled the West-End Market in 1940.
Stands were set up after the trucks rolled in from the east Ottawa fields and vendors reportedly sold other edibles such as meat, butter, cheese and eggs. Just ask one of the many vendors about their family history at the market and you’ll instantly see bright smiles on their faces…probably hear a bit of French back and forth between family members about uncle so-and-so…and then a nod and confirmation as to which family member was around at such-and-such a time.
Now, the market continues to grow and offer a lot more than produce and flowers. How about picking up organic coffee, various goats milk products including ice cream, even grain-fed chicken, eggs and pure maple syrup. It’s available generally Thursdays to Sundays but the different vendors are still working out the details with Marchés d’Ottawa Markets, a non-profit agency with the City of Ottawa. Now, you will find baked breads, various natural honey products including essential oils, hempseed oil and honey based beauty products, creams and salves. Mathieu Blanchard, Marchés d’Ottawa Markets (MSC) operations manager says there is still room for other vendors who wish to set up shop and sell their products at the Parkdale Market, see below.
The founding families are proud of the many years they have been here and witnessed the changes that came along over the many decades in Hintonburg and Wellington Village. Their farming has evolved too. Hot houses have become a must and some imported products from neighbouring Quebec, when needed. It’s to ensure we, as customers, get the best fresh produce, plants and flowers. The West-End Market was changed to the Parkdale Market in the mid 1940’s because of its proximity to the Parkdale Park where children play and neighbours gather.
The many families who work at the market have remained good friends over the decades and remain competitors as they work side by side to get your business. It’s a wonderful and unique relationship. At Christmas time, it’s a scaled down version of the market. They sell Christmas trees of all sizes, create delicious smelling boughs and stunning wreaths of pine and cedar, many are already decorated to help us adorn our festive homes.
It’s no surprise the West-End Market was a great success from the beginning, the area was growing rapidly as farmland was turned over and sold off. A “West End subdivision” was created in the Piccadilly and Mayfair area well before 1900 (at that time the Island Park area was part of Nepean). Then a lot auction in 1919 helped establish the community in the area known as Elmdale or Wellington Village. More shopkeepers moved in and businesses bloomed along Wellington Street. The Ottawa Electric Railway was up and running, an advantage of keep the market prospering with more clientele.
Over the course of time, there were threats of moving the market because it was situated on private land but eventually in the mid 1940’s the City of Ottawa secured its final location we all know today. It’s reported a city councillor had the foresight to see the land as an opportunity to create a park and market spot, now known as the Parkdale Market. Changes to the stalls have been updated over the years to what we enjoy today. Since 2011, the park has held several community events celebrated by both customers and vendors. As of January 1, 2018, the MSC overlooks the Parkdale Market and the ByWard Market (est. 1826) saying both markets “embodies a remarkable and a unique heritage legacy to the City”.
As Wellington West celebrates its centennial anniversary, so do the good people at the Parkdale Market. They are proud, local vendors who call our community their second home for almost 100 years. Susan Chell has always been a customer and advocate of the market over the many years she has lived here and began her business more than 20 years ago. Susan believes strongly in supporting local vendors and maintaining strong relationships with neighbourhood business colleagues to see the area prosper.
Businesses new to the Parkdale Market:
For more information, visit ottawamarkets.ca
Ferme Reveuse chicken: http://www.ferme-reveuse.ca/
La Bergerie Des Sables sheep products http://www.labergeriedessables.com/index-en.html
Cloud Forest organic coffee https://cloudforestcoffee.ca/
Buzzz Honey https://buzzzhoney.com/
With notes from Kitchissippi Times, Wellington West BIA, Mathieu Blanchard, Ottawa Markets and the Parkdale Market vendors themselves.