New Canopy Structure for St. Norbert Farmers Market

Le Marche St. Norbert Farmers’ Market is constructing a new canopy structure!  Federal, City and private funding has been secured to create a larger more permanent structure. The new canopy will be larger in size and height, and will be a permanent feature on ‘Main Street St. Norbert’ vs the seasonally removed canvas canopy.

On March 7, Le Marche St. Norbert Farmers’ Market held an open house, inviting the community to provide feedback on the canopy structure.  If you missed the open house and would like to offer your input, please contact the Market through their website:

My thanks to the Sou’Wester for covering this story.

A market for all seasons

Photo:  From left – Phil Veldhuis, Bob Roehle, Coun. Janice Lukes (South Winnipeg-St. Norbert) and St. Norbert Farmers’ Market executive director Marilyn Firth

The St. Norbert Farmers’ Market has unveiled its plans for a new four-season market structure that will open to the public this spring.

Marilyn Firth, executive director of the market, said the $470,000 canvas structure should be ready to welcome the public on the market’s opening day, May 20.

“That’s very optimistic of us I know, but if the weather helps us and we get our city permits in time it only actually takes three weeks to put the structure up,” Firth said.

Organizers of the St. Norbert Farmers’ Market hosted a public information session on March 7 to introduce the new structure to the community. Firth said the four-season structure will have approximately the same footprint as the current canopies at 11,700 square-feet and canvas walls stretching to the ground, offering protection to vendors and customers from the elements.

The facility will have 30 feet of openings on each side to allow for airflow in the summer and in the winter the space will be sealed with doors that slide down from the roof. The market will be heated in the winter to around 15 degrees Celsius, Firth said, and in the summer fans will be running to keep the space cool. The new structure will be very similar to the one currently housing the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market in St. Jacobs, Ont., she added.

“Once we’ve built it, we’ll be able to have our winter markets there as well, instead of at the Eagles Club,” she said. “We can’t grow our winter markets right now because the Eagles Club is too small. So this way we can grow our winter markets which will be really good for the producers.”

The St. Norbert Farmers’ Market received a $235,000 grant from the federal government through the Canada 150 program, $75,000 from the City of Winnipeg, and will cover the remaining $160,000 and is still pursuing other grants.

The metal structure supporting the canopy has a lifespan of 100 years or more, Firth said, while the canvas has a lifespan of 15 to 20 years.

“So we’ll be putting a system in place where we’re saving for 20 years down the road when it has to be replaced,” Firth said.

Phil Veldhuis, a longtime honey vendor, said the new structure will extend the market season significantly and will increase the comfort of customers coming out to St. Norbert.

“The goal is to get out of the worst of the fall and spring weather,” he said. “I think it will make more difference to them than to me. I’d be quite happy to stand outside in 20 below and sell honey but no one’s going to meet me there.

“To be a successful experience for the community it has to be indoors.”

Bruce Berry of Almost Urban Vegetables has been a vendor at the market for eight years and said the expansion of the season and enhanced market canopy is driven by the customers who support the farmers’ market.

“Local food is not a fad. Since I started it’s kept growing and growing,” Berry said. “It seems to me that people are more aware of (local food) and are trying to find it and eat locally.

“I can plan now to grow more storage crops that I can sell all winter.”

The new four-season facility will be a good addition to the community and contributes to the rural flavour of the market, Bob Roehle, a St. Norbert resident and founder of the market, said.

“In large measure a farmers’ market is a temporary, makeshift thing,” Roehle said. “With a farmers’ market, ambience is everything. You don’t want anything that looks like Superstore or Safeway.

“So the open air idea is certainly consistent.”

The market is receiving community feedback on the market plans on its website,

St Norbert Farmers Market new canopy

Read more by Danielle Da Silva.