Market exterior Charlotte – A view of the King Square façade and entrance to the Saint John City Market.
Market exterior Germain – Animating Uptown Saint John – The presence of the art and good architecture combined on the Germain Street façade of the Saint John City Market.
Market interior – The daily bustle of Saint John’s City Market
City Market, Saint John
Saint John, NB
The City Market first opened for business in the heart of Uptown Saint John in 1876. It is an indoor space that occupies a full city block and is located on King Square, one of the City’s most important greenspaces.
The Market is rectangular in shape with four banks of stalls running the entire length of the structure. At both entrances hang the same gates that have swung closed at the end of each business day since 1880. Crafted from heavy wrought iron, their design is a reflection of the skill and artistry of the local blacksmith who created them. The Market also has a number of unique features including a mounted moose head that has adorned the Market hall since 1910, the Market bell, which is rung everyday to signal the beginning and end of trading, and other significant items.
In the nineteenth century, Saint John was one of the world's leading shipbuilding centers, so it is no surprise that the roof of the City Market resembles the inverted keel of a ship. Hand-hewn timbers and dove-tailed joints that have stood fast for more than century attest to the skill and experience of the builders. Fortunately, the Great Fire of 1877 left the market building undamaged.
The Germain Street entrance to the City Market includes a public seating area, which is well integrated into the surrounding urban environment. The architecture of the building is also well integrated into the Germain Street and King Square built environment. A full city block in length, the Market runs downhill from the 'head of the Market on Charlotte Street, and slopes gently to the Germain Street entrance, a full 10 feet below. This use of the natural slope is one of the unique elements of the design of the Market. Further, the architecture of the building is one of the most photographed sites in Saint John, particularly from the King Square side.
The City Market is one of the most important public gathering spaces in Saint John. It is a place where local vendors sell a range of local goods as well as goods from around the world.
The Market is fully accessible for those with mobility limitations and provides a range of merchandise that serves all residents of the community. It is also within walking distance of nearly all of the downtown business community as well as the large resident population of Saint John’s central peninsula. Given its location, the Market is one of the major sources of fresh food for those who live in the City Centre.
The Market has become more reflective of Saint John’s residents as a number of vendors provide goods from the United Kingdom, Italy, China, Korea, India, the Middle East, and others. The Market also showcases local items as well as goods from around New Brunswick including dulse from Grand Manan Island, fresh seafood, wines, and soaps from the province to name a few.
A visit to the Market’s website at: http://www.sjcitymarket.ca/ will provide more detail with respect to the use of the facility.
The City Market is open 6 days a week, 12 months a year, with Sunday openings during peak seasons. It is a space that truly is used in all seasons and the items for sale in the market change with the time of the year.
The Market also hosts a large number of special events through the year that celebrate holidays and the time of year, and also unique Saint John events.
The architecture and design of the facility is one of the defining features of Saint John, one of a small number of Canadian cities with a significant collection of intact architecture from the nineteenth century. The exceptional nature of the space is reflected in its designation as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1986.
The Market is owned and operated by the City of Saint John. As a result, the citizens of Saint John have been the champions of this space over time and consistently invested in maintaining the building as one of the gems of Saint John.
The merchants of the City Market provide a range of goods for the citizens of the City including meats, cheeses, fish, baked items, produce, local wine, and a number of vendors of prepared foods and general merchandize for residents and tourists. The Market is also one of the City’s most important meeting places, where residents of the City meet their friends and neighbours and engage in conversation with one another.
The City Market, the oldest continuing farmer's market in Canada, forms the historic centerpiece of the revitalized city centre in Saint John. The Market has been a part of people’s lives throughout their lifetimes in the community. In addition to the market component of the facility, it is also an important space where community issues and charities are discussed which raises awareness of issues of concern to residents.
The Market is a distinctly Saint John public space. The market's design was selected in a competition among local architects, and constructed by the city's skilled tradesmen of the day. On December 16, 1874, the Market Committee offered two prizes to architects for a Market design competition. The first place prize of $200 was awarded to Messrs. McKean and Fairweather. A second place prize of $100 went to D.E. Dunham. Mr. W.P. Clark and Mr. W.M. Smith received a premium of $50 for the submission of their plan, and the Saint John City Market on Charlotte Street officially opened in 1876.
In more recent times, planners and architects continue to work towards ensuring that the building; the blocks surrounding the Market, continue to be the heart and soul of Uptown Saint John.