Living in the city isn’t always a picnic. There’s constant noise, lots of cars, crowds of people, and endless amounts of junk food and fast food around. The produce at the grocery store is not always as fresh as you’d like, and you often forget that there even exists such a thing as a farmer’s field, or fruits and vegetables grown from the earth, or food made by an individual. We are so used to huge companies and corporations bringing us food from goodness knows where, we forget to support the local farmers in our own backyards.
This is why the Lansdowne Farmer’s Market is so wonderful. What is the Lansdowne Farmer’s Market, you might ask? Well, let me tell you all about it.
The Lansdowne Farmer’s Market is a bustling market that takes place every Sunday in Lansdowne Park. It is the only farmer’s/producer’s market in Ottawa that runs year round, because it moves indoors for the winter months. So, even in the middle of frigid January, you can still shop at the market and enjoy all the local and homemade goods.
The summer market, which runs from May to November, resides in the fresh outside air of the Aberdeen Square. It is open from 9am until 3pm.
In December, it becomes the Christmas market and moves next door, inside the cosier and warmer Aberdeen Pavilion. After Christmas it becomes the winter market and stays inside the Aberdeen Pavilion until the end of April, when the cold starts to thaw again. The winter market is open from 10am until 3pm.
The market is made up of a collection of vendors and stands, selling local fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, gourmet snacks, handmade goods, and hot food. Everything sold at the market is grown or made from within a 100km radius of Ottawa.
I’ve been going to this market nearly every Sunday for the past year and it’s honestly one of my favourite parts about living in Ottawa. The people are very friendly and the atmosphere is lively and festive.
Location and Parking
The Aberdeen Square and Aberdeen Pavilion are located in Lansdowne Park on Bank Street, right next to the TD Place arena. There is some free street parking along Bank Street, as well as underground parking for $1.50/half hour.
The market is full of fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms. In the summer months, you’ll see blushing peaches, dark purple plums, and berries galore. August and September bring with them toppling stacks of corn and bushels of bright red apples adorning the tables like rubies. Among other things, the market also sells honey, maple syrup, fresh herbs, leafy greens, squashes, and every root vegetable imaginable (and even some that you haven’t imagined before).
The market primarily sells produce that is currently in season, so you know you’re buying the best, freshest produce around. Even in the winter, there is still good produce to be found, including apples, potatoes, various roots veggies and preserves.
Shopping at the market always requires a great deal of self control, because there are so many delicious homemade goods being sold. There are many bakeries selling their fresh bread, buns, scones, and more. Some of my favourite stands for baked goods are “Art Is In” which sells the softest bread imaginable, and “Pretty Fours” which sells a variety of beautiful pastries such as macarons, mini cakes and cake pops.
However, there is one vendor that stands out from all the others to me. I go to it every Sunday without fail. It’s called Simply Fruit Rice Puddings. But these aren’t your average rice puddings; they’re completely vegan, made with coconut water and coconut milk instead of dairy milk. Not only is there the classic vanilla flavour, there is also apple cranberry, pumpkin caramel, green tea pear, mango ginger, coconut lime…the combinations are endless! The owner is always dreaming up new flavours to try, using fresh fruit and spices. Every week is a pleasant surprise and there are always samples to try as well.
The market also features vendors selling their own handmade goods such as jewelry, soaps, woodworking, and candles. These vendors become especially popular around Christmas time because they make great Christmas presents.
In December the Lansdowne Market becomes a Christmas market as well. As I mentioned before, it’s a great place to do your Christmas shopping, because there are so many unique things being sold. You’ll know you’ve arrived at the market when you see the massive Christmas tree out front, decorated with ornaments and lights and a big star on top. The inside of the Aberdeen Pavilion is also decorated for the holidays, and Christmas music spreads cheer through the building.
It’s not uncommon to see live street musicians playing at the market. There are often small bands or individuals playing upbeat music. At Christmastime, they’ll serenade you with merry Christmas carols as you shop. It’s truly a lovely atmosphere.
The Lansdowne Farmer’s market is a wonderful place to go for fresh, local products. Whether you buy something or not, just going to the market to take in the sights and sounds is a lot of fun. I will continue to go every Sunday while I’m in Ottawa.