Parkdale Public Market celebrates 100th anniversary

Two women hold up drinks and smile outdoors.
The Parkdale Market is gearing up to celebrate its 100th anniversary. Provided Photo.

*This article is Sponsored*

This July, the historic Parkdale Public Market is celebrating 100 years of gathering the community together. Established in 1924, the market opens every year from May to October and offers Ottawa residents a wide selection of produce, flowers, and plants from both local and Canadian suppliers.

The tradition began on July 9th, 1924, when the city clerk published a notice in the evening paper: “Those interested in the establishment of a West End Market on Parkdale Avenue North of Wellington Street are hereby notified that the market will be open for business tomorrow morning, Thursday the 10th.” The next morning, weightmaster Louis Charbonneau opened the operator’s building to greet a crowd of over 200 shoppers looking to purchase produce from local farmers.

Except there wasn’t a single farmer to be seen! Bad weather and a late announcement conspired into a mix-up still remembered 100 years later. Thankfully, prospective shoppers took the mix-up with good humour and came back the next Saturday. By 1930, the market had firmly established itself as an affordable alternative to overpriced grocery stores.

“In an era where grocery prices are wildly out of pace with many family’s incomes, and big grocery chains hold so much power over the food we eat, neighbours coming together to buy local food and support their community’s businesses feels very special,” said Tina Barton, Parkdale Centennial Coordinator and owner-operator of Hungry Babe. “In the past, Parkdale Public Market was home to predominantly family farmers–just as Ontario was home to an abundance of family-operated farms. While every small farm closing in our region is a tragic loss to the community, a vibrant public market is made up of more than just local produce. We’re proud to see small businesses of all kinds, owned by people from all walks of life, thrive in our market.”

The Parkdale Public Market continues to grow year over year, defying the thought that it needs saving. In 2018, the ByWard Market District Authority (BMDA) took over managing both the ByWard and Parkdale Public Markets, and one of its first moves was to open the Parkdale Night Market.

“It was extraordinary to witness. A community emerging from their homes and showing up, baskets in hand, to say: we needed this, we support you, we feel safe here. The Night Market is still our most popular event at Parkdale Public Market, and we’re often asked why it took off the way it did,” said BMDA Executive Director, Zachary Dayler. “The truth is that we couldn’t have predicted how much being at Parkdale mattered to people in those difficult times and how what we established then would still feel significant to them now. The night market event represents everything that is so extraordinary about Parkdale.” 

A person at the market holds up their food.

The Parkdale Public Market is a cornerstone of the west-end community, serving as a gathering place and exchange-place. Whether for your daily grocery run, a weekly ritual, or as a pickup spot for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, the market solidifies its commitment to sustainability and community support. With the community’s support, hopefully the Market will continue to expand for another hundred years.

“In 2124, whatever the landscape of the Parkdale Public Market looks like, I hope the residents who live there or just simply visit there love local food and love their neighbours,” said Dayler. “I do think the tradition of the market will continue to look a lot like it looks now; food shared with friends, a free concert in the park, a friendly meeting at the market stalls. I hope those people in the future continue to come together in their community to celebrate the special days and the regular days. What happens at Parkdale Public Market today, and every day of the last century, is what people do best – connecting with the land, their food, and their community.”

The Parkdale Public Market operates from seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., May to October, at 366 Parkdale Ave. The Night Market extends that to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays. 

To secure a vendor space or check out the latest events, visit

Three people look at a table for the Spaniel’s Tale bookstore.

Leave a comment