COVID ByWard Market will look different
COVID protocols are in place. Photo by Ashley Fraser /Postmedia Article content What is in a market? Visions of farmers, carriages or packed parkades come to mind. What about a market after COVID 19?
Temperatures are rising; we are entering the summer months in year two of a global pandemic that we all, unrealistically, thought would be over by now. Raging on, COVID 19 has created a pressure cooker of issues in cities across Canada, as our unemployment rate hovers around eight per cent.
The pandemic has highlighted the prominent social issues that are damaging lives and impacting our streets. Not just in the ByWard Market area, but at most any major intersection in this city, you will experience the impact of the pandemic on the economy. More worrisome, we see more and more makeshift “homes” and people sleeping on the street.
COVID 19 has shattered the standard service or tourism business model, our buildings and facilities have been closed down by provincial orders, and retail has been forced online or to curbside pickup.
Article content In 2018, the city of Ottawa created not for profit Marchs d’Ottawa Markets. The corporation is charged with reviving our public markets program in ByWard and Wellington West (Parkdale). The rebuild also falls in line with a larger plan for the ByWard Market area. The recently approved public realm plan sets a $130 million vision and direction for rebuilding public space, intending to create a destination where residents and visitors can experience Canada’s and Ottawa’s best, curated in a pedestrian focused area.
We are at a turning point, and any change needs to accept we have reached a low end, then set to work moving forward. Ottawa Markets is endeavouring to do things differently. Our team is focused on creating new economic opportunities. For the first time in some years, applications have reopened, and the recruitment process has seen more than 150 new applications. We also implemented a Farmers’ First policy, launched a Black, Indigenous and Peoples of Colour (BIPOC) Initiative, and excitedly opened the York Street Farmers’ market on Saturdays.
Article content Our renewed focus on local and regional products will come with a bit of a different experience. You won’t see products the way you once did; while you will still be able to get fresh produce in the area seven days a week, we have tightened the rules, allowing only regional and Canadian produce sold. The market will have something different and exciting with each season or if we are outside a particular season, you can have confidence that the product came from a Canadian grower.
More than ever, we need to come together as a city to support and encourage the regrowth and the rebuild, refocusing and resuscitating the ByWard precinct as a model for other communities. A place where the best of Ottawa converges.
Have no illusions: This won’t happen overnight, but the work has begun.
Article content How do we make this work? We need Ottawa residents to listen and follow COVID 19 protocols while relearning how to get back out there safely. This summer, we encourage you to take a walk through the ByWard or Parkdale markets. Get reacquainted with the local butcher or grocer, the farmer, or the crafter. Keep coming back. Build shopping local, whether in ByWard, Wellington West or one of the other unique neighbourhoods across this city, into your routine. Together we have an opportunity to reshape this city and what it means to support local.
is Executive hermes constance elan replica
Director, Marchs d’Ottawa Markets.
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