not a school, not a museum, definitely not a market

Noparking

I'm glad that last Saturday's Farmers market is the last one to be held inside the Church Street School.

It is apparent to me that it should never return.

That's not to say I haven't enjoyed an indoor Farmers Market, I have.

What I haven't enjoyed are all the issues that this particular location has in hosting such an event.

1.) The entire market is on the 2nd floor, and this presents significant accessibility issues.

the stairs in the Church Street School are difficult to navigate for children seniors or anyone that has  mobility issues.  It is compounded when their is a crowd and high traffic scenario.

Yes there is an elevator, it is usually in use by vendors making trips to get additional wares.  The elevator is small, it needs to be operated by an individual and it takes a long time to make trips.

The Market should be located on the main floor of a venue to alleviate these issues.

2.) The upper floor of the Church Street school is divided into two areas, a large one and a significantly smaller area.  The number of market vendors is greater than can be accommodated by both rooms so they fill both and spill into the common area by the stairs.

There is no rationale for where market vendors are located, making it difficult to know where they are located and ensure that you haven't missed any.

This is compounded by the complete lack of signage to guide people through the space.

The small room upstairs houses 3-4 vendors and receives little to no traffic, it effectively segregates those vendors from the rest of the others and does little to ensure an inclusive atmosphere or guarantee that they will not be missed by the majority of market goers.

How the market decides which vendors get the cheap seats is beyond me.  Perhaps they pick straws.

3.) The lack of space is evident as the tables are so densely packed trying to get by people as you make your way to vendors is increasingly difficult.
So much so that it makes the entire experience a struggle.  I often leave the market early and without visiting all the vendors I want to because of the stress of being in such a confined space with no room to move.

4.) The Church Street School has woefully inadequate parking for even the most conservative event.  The Farmers Market draws a huge crowd, and from all over town, not just walking distance.  In winter more people are apt to drive their cars, unfortunately there is no where to park.

Parking on the street is difficult, and because it is usually filled on both sides all the way to town park cars it leaves a single lane for traffic causing gridlock. 

Cars spillover into the library parking lot which no doubt infuriates the users of the library, as I was unable to drop off my returns due to every spot being filled.

The last 3 market dates I've had to park at town park and walk.  Which sounds feasible but becomes difficult, even a safety issue once you are laden with market goods and have children in tow, then are expected to descend from a 2nd floor only to spill out into the street and have to play Frogger with enraged drivers trying to find a parking spot. 

It is only a matter of time before someone gets hit.

I experienced none of these issues with the indoor Newmarket Farmers market, it was held in an appropriate venue.

Although I can appreciate that the Cultural Center has an interest in hosting the Farmers Market, but they are no where close to being able to accommodate what is required.

The Church Street school is set up to be a school and a museum after all, not a Farmers Market.

The Aurora Farmers Market committee needs to seriously get their heads out of the Cultural Centers ass and address their indoor needs for the coming fall/winter.

I expect that several community centers, our Lion's Hall, Library, Food Bank or any number of businesses could provide a much more enjoyable environment, one where the community and culture can be properly appreciated.

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2 thoughts on “not a school, not a museum, definitely not a market

  1. Chris, you point out that the ACC is a bad place to have the indoor farmers’ market. Your suggestions are a bit sketchy, to say the least.

    The Lion’s Hall shares the same parking as the library and the ACC. So they are equal, although without the stairs. Fair enough.

    The Aurora Food Pantry is an interesting suggestion. Perhaps you could invite the folks who are picking up their never ending supply of canned tomato soup and bran flakes to come over and see the organic chicken and homemade soap they can’t afford.

    Call me a naysayer, but I don’t see the partnership working.

  2. Elizabeth, I’m glad that you read my blog, but have some issues with your comments.

    The ACC is the epitome of the wrong venue for the Farmers Market for all the reasons I listed above, some of them are accessibility and safety issues.

    If you found any of them sketch you could have pointed out specifically and addressed the ones you had issue with, but you didn’t, so I guess you don’t have an issue with any of them and agree.

    I don’t see you making any suggestions, so yes I can safely call you a naysayer.

    The Lions Hall solves an accessibility issue, not parking. It may not be ideal, but it is a suggestion that has merits. I find groups like the Lions club are being overshadowed by things like our pretentious and elitist Cultural Centre. The Lions Hall would be a step in the right direction because it deals with the accessibility issue, although as you pointed out maybe not solve all the issues.

    The Aurora Food Pantry is an excellent suggestion. Did you even stop to think the other way round? Market vendors could see the shelves and the people using the pantry. They could purchase and donate items to the pantry to those that can’t afford. I have done this, but have had to find ways of transporting the items to the pantry, luckily during the summer market there is one booth at the market that handles these logistics.

    The Food Pantry raises awareness, had plenty of room and parking. It just isn’t in the yuppie historic district and thus not seen by those who want to keep it close to their century homes as a viable option.

    How about Thompsons Fine Furniture. It remains closed as do a lot of storefronts in our core?

    How about any number of our Arenas or “Community” Centers?

    The Church Street School is the last place a market should be.

    In fact the Church Street School is the last place several of the “cultural” events it holds should be and I will be making several recommendations to both them and the town that the Farmers Market not return.

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