Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sorry folks I think the new Hamilton Farmers Market is underwhelming.

Hamilton Farmers' Market
Hamilton Farmers' Market
Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia
 The first two photos are of the new Hamilton Farmers' Market, the third photo is of the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. To me the so called new Hamilton Farmers' Market with brighter (and uninteresting lighting) looks a lot like the OLD market. No colour, no warmth, generic signage, a terrible view from the top floor looking down, and no escalators. Where are all the cool places to eat? Why are all the flower vendors split up so that now they have no impact? It has all the charm of the Customs and Immigration arrival at an airport. Look at the Philly market, note the stalls that have an individual stamp, neon lights, and a variety of lighting rather than just banks of prison issue fluorescent lights as we get in Hamilton. I was really looking forward to the new market, but after all the delays is this as good as it gets? Is this a hint of what we have to look forward to in the rebuilding of Ivor Wynne? Let's hope the Market gets gussied up as the vendors settle in, and dare to individualize their spaces.


  1. I see some of your points, but I disagree about the florists. I like that they're all in different locations. It brings more colour throughout the market. And I heard that the reasoning is that many customers come to the market just for the flowers, so splitting them up will give other vendors more of a chance to catch these customers' eyes.

  2. Yikes, you're right -- not inviting at all. A project by city council committee, what can you expect? Needs creative input for sure!

  3. Hi Kathy,

    Thank you for the feedback.

    We went through a lot of public consultation on the design of the new market. Tuesday was the first day of the opening in the new space after only a couple of weeks for moving a lot of stuff out of the temporary space…fridges, freezers, food, etc…so please forgive our vendors if they were not able to get it gussied up to your liking.

    If you need to get from the top floor to the bottom, you have two options, both of which are wheelchair accessible: take the elevator or the gently sloping ramp. You could also try parachuting off the top rail, but wouldn’t recommend it for safety reasons.

    The larger windows bring in a lot of lovely natural lighting from the outside, and if you followed any of the media coverage from the past day or so, many customers agreed.

    As far as cool places to eat, Sensational Samosa is to die for and you’ve gotta meet the guys at Red Hill Coffee…they have a unique coffee filtration technique that you should check out...dare I say it is cool? Yes, the Café will be up eventually but that’s why we had a soft launch. We’re still working out a few things.

    The Philadelphia market looks amazing. Many of the present vendors there trace the founding of their businesses back to the first decade of the 20th century. Not many of ours can say they go back that far, in fact, some are brand new to the Hamilton Farmers’ Market. They just opened for business at the market Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011 and we’re excited to bring them into the historic fabric of the City. I am confident that many of these new vendors -- and existing ones -- have the vision and entrepreneurial spirit to individualize their spaces, Kathy, so you’re just going to have to be a bit more patient for those neon signs. They're hard-working and probably have a lot of other important things to worry about.

    Ann Lamanes
    City of Hamilton

    PS -- The last time I flew through Pearson the Customs guy was awesome. I’m sure they didn’t choose the design and décor of their cubicles, but they stay focused and make the best of it to keep our citizens protected.

  4. Hi Kathy,

    It's great to see you working at the blog/tweet level and getting involved in downtown stories.

    I'd have to say that my first impressions were quite different than yours as I stopped by on Tuesday on my way to work. I found the design to be a lot cleaner and more welcoming. To me, the new space puts the focus on the products in the stalls and on the newly refurbished Birk's Clock. As the weeks go on, the vendors will no doubt make their respective spaces 'their own' and the market will regain any warmth it may have lost in the shuffle.

    I grew up only a few blocks from the market and had worried that the renovation would take away from the atmosphere its had all my life. I was really pleased with my first visit and I'm really glad to see the City invest in these kinds of projects downtown.

    Dan Jelly

  5. Although the new market is a slight improvement of the old one, the temporary market functioned much better with wide aisles and a market on all one level. Unfortunately the architects did not widen the ramp, did not adjust the grade so that it is much more wheelchair friendly, and the aisles are too narrow. If you use the stairs, you end up facing a blank wall-- very odd. I'm glad the vendors have sinks though.

  6. Sensational Somosa is a fantastic place to eat - so where are they and why the repeated delays. I wonder how they have been able to maintain a living without a place to do business and if any compensation was made to them for the delays and loss of business?????