As a forward-thinking and youthful city, Vancouver is proud of its many progressive actions in response to climate change and global warming. In addition to extensive recycling programs, popular car-sharing initiatives, bike-friendliness and growing electric car ownership, Vancouver is home to a large variety of farmers’ markets.
City farmers’ markets became much more mainstream following the publication of the bestselling ‘The 100-Mile Diet: A year of Local Eating’” by Vancouver authors Alisa Smith & J.B. MacKinnon. The book launched the “locavore” movement as Vancouverites really embraced the value of eating locally grown food. Many farmers’ markets have since sprung up to provide the best local produce and hand-made items to an eager market.
Farmers’ markets are a very popular way for Vancouverites to do their weekly shopping. Those who frequent the markets often become a member for a relatively low fee of $20. Membership comes with perks such as a 15% discount on market merchandise and additional discounts on member appreciation days.
The markets are also a great place for Vancouver tourists to enjoy a snack, see entertainment from local artists and browse among excellent artisan goods and services.
Vancouver is home to seasonal and year round markets. When the summer markets close, Vancouverites flock to the winter markets to secure their locally-sourced edibles. The winter markets typically operate from late October through the end of April. Summer markets start up at the end of April and run through September.
All Year Farmers’ Markets
Granville Island Public Market
The Granville Island Public Market is the original and biggest farmer’s market in Vancouver. Located under the Granville Street bridge near downtown Vancouver, this market is a gourmet’s dream come true!
Located in the centre of Granville Island, the public market is an enclosed building, making it comfortable to shop at in the colder winter months. Exterior walls, doors and windows are opened or removed in the summer months leaving it feeling more like a traditional farmer’s market.
The market has a wide variety of produce sellers who take great pride in showcasing only the best fruits and vegetables from local farmers. I’ve never seen more delectable looking berries anywhere! You’ll often see hard-to-find produce like lingonberries, golden berries and white asparagus.
I always look forward to the vast cheese, meat and charcuterie selection at Granville Island public market. From great gourmet meats, poultry and specialty products like bison or game meat, to mouth-watering deli selections of sausages, olives, dips and marinades there is definitely something for everyone.
My favourite thing to shop for at the public market on Granville Island is baked goods and sweets. There are excellent artisan bread-makers at the market – to find them just follow your nose! The mouth-watering smell of freshly baked bread will be unmistakable. For dessert specialties you’ll find several excellent patisseries as well as doughnut makers, pie makers, muffineers, candy specialists, chocolatiers and ice cream factories
The sheer variety of excellent things to eat at Granville Island Public Market makes everyone who loves to eat very happy. I guarantee you’ll leave with heavy shopping bags and a smile on your face.
Granville Island Public Market is a great place to spend the day and get to know the area more, especially if you’re in Vancouver for a short time. There are many things to see and do in addition to the farmer’s market including many great restaurants and the view from Granville Island to the city is amazing.
Granville Island Public Market is open every day from 9am to 7pm.
Winter Farmers’ Markets
Riley Park Market
The biggest winter market is located at Nat Bailey Stadium at Riley Park in east Vancouver. Open every Saturday from 10am to 2pm, this market is home to more than 30 vendors selling everything from produce to dairy to meat of all sorts.
On my last visit I saw stalls specializing in local kombucha, vegan ‘cheeze’, a delicious variety of baked goods – I particularly enjoyed a baked samosa of peas, potato, carrots and herbs – as well as winter vegetables and fruit, specialty poultry, fish and meat as well as local jewelry artists.
Locals were lined up 20-deep for some of the produce stands to secure their winter squash, potatoes and carrots. Plenty of people brought dogs to enjoy the many scents of the market.
Many Vancouverites favour bicycle transportation when frequenting farmers’ markets, and Riley Park Market provides excellent bike stands to park your bike when you visit. As a commitment to the local environment, a prominent sign at the market warns that outside garbage is not welcome, vendors will take back their own food packaging and patrons must bring their own reusable shopping bags and coffee cups. Forewarned is forearmed!
Hastings Park Market
Located in Hastings Park on the north side of Vancouver at the corner of Hastings and Renfrew Streets, this market is open Sundays from 10am to 2pm from November to the end of April.
Hastings Park Market features a nice variety of market stalls including a great assortment of seasonal cut flowers, which are always nice to get on a dark winter day.
Many organic producers set up stalls at Hastings Park Market including garlic growers, kefir producers, a winery, a cheese monger, honey sellers, local produce, and a great lavender farm selling essential oils and other lavender products. Don’t miss the excellent meat offered by Gelderman Farms, also the source of choice for many of Vancouver’s fine restaurants.
Food trucks are often present at the Hastings Park Market. My favourite is the Disco Cheetah Korean Grill, which features rice bowls, tacos and burritos featuring Alberta beef bulgogi.
Cannery Farmer’s Market
Slightly outside of Vancouver proper but nonetheless worth the jaunt is the Cannery Farmer’s Market, located in the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site in Steveston. If you’re staying in the south end of Vancouver, this is an easy market to get to.
Open bi-weekly on Sundays from 10am to 3pm,and held both indoors and outdoors, this market features locally based, grown, caught and crafted products. Steveston is the home of a large fishing fleet, guaranteeing the freshness of the seafood at this market!
You’ll find a good assortment of products including baked goods, wine, spirits and local produce. This market also features a wide variety of artisan goods including water colourists, jewelers, leather workers, clothing designers, essential oil makers, alpaca product producers and other creative artists.
The Cannery Farmer’s Market is a bit different from the other winter markets in that it also features community organisations that hold special events at the market. For example, a local food security society presented a series of food skills workshops on topics like fish, what to do with leftovers and healthy snacking.
Admission to the Gulf of Georgia cannery museum is free for market visitors.
Vancouver also has many summer farmers’ markets selling fresh local produce, much of it organic.
Whatever season you’re visiting Vancouver, make sure to stop by a farmers market to get a real taste of Vancouver!
More farmers markets across Canada:
- Byward Market in Ottawa
- Farmgate Shops and Farmers Markets in Niagara-on-the-Lake
- Kensington Market in Toronto
- Marché Jean-Talon in Montreal
- Welland’s Farmers Market in Niagara-on-the-Lake
- Quebec City’s Marché du Vieux-Port & Île d’Orléans
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Guest post, submitted by Lesley at Freedom 56 Travel. Images copyright Lesley and used with permission.
Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!20 Comments to "Markets of Canada | Vancouver Farmers Markets"
I have not yet been to Canada and had no idea there are so many great markets!
I can only imagine snacking on those fresh berries, and cheeses. Sounds and looks delicious! These markets will for sure be on my Canadian list of things to do!
I love the farmers markets of Canada, I’ve loved the ones I’ve visited in Quebec and Ontario.
The Farmers Market on Granville Island is my most favorite place in town. We’ve spent there an entire day and still couldn’t get enough of it. We only had two days in the city, so that was the only Farmers Market we visited, but I see there are others worth checking out as well. Hope to return to Vancouver someday and stay longer. This is such a fascinating city!
That’s my kind of farmer’s market visit! I spent half a day at the Jean Talon one in Toronto! ❤️
I love markets, it is one of the best things we do when we visit a new destination. OMG those pastries and the fresh fruit and vegetables are making me hungry. There are so many markets to visit I would need to plan my visit well in advance to cover it all. I have never heard of membership before but it makes sense if you are a local.
Yes I hadn’t heard of membership either but sounds like a great option for repeat visitors.
The market looks so colourful and so much variety is available. I was literally taken for a eye treat while scrolling and reading through your article. Canada really is an interesting destination to be visited . And markets are definitely the melting pot of the place and its culture.
The markets really are great in Vancouver. There are such a variety of things available and people there that its a great reflection of the city itself.
The market looks so inviting with its colorful vegetables and other food items. I have learned that exploring the markets of a new city is a great way to soak up in the culture and local life. I am adding these markets to my bucketlist.
The markets are really great in Vancouver. Vancouver is such a foodie-city that the markets are patronized by so many locals and are therefore very successful. Tourists really love them!
I do try and visit open air markets and farmers when I visit a new city and seems like Vancouver has a lot to offer when it comes to this. Interesting to know that the Granville Island Market is the original and biggest farmer’s market in Vancouver so a bit of history to it. The produce are good quality and you are working with the community to support local traders so a great win win situation. I love to get stories from the locals at these markets as well. Thanks for sharing
Yes, Granville Island was the original and the only farmer’s market for years until the foodie movement and the locavare movement really caught on. Now we have lots of farmer’s markets, big and small, throughout the city. It’s great to talk to the producers and growers to really get to know them.
I love the concept of farmer’s market. It is great to buy anything from this kind of market since everything is organic and fresh. i always prefer to go to farmer’s market than to shopping mall or any store for that matter.
The goods for sale at the farmer’s market always look so fresh and delicious – they’re very hard to resist! The number of farmer’s markets in Vancouver make it really easy to find one almost any weekend.
Vancouver is really forward thinking in the concept of these farmers’ market. This is a win-win situation for both the farmers and the local people. I would love to visit these markets as they are the best places to know the culture and people of the place.
Vancouver is a really forward-thinking city in this way and others. I know the local farmers and producers really appreciate having so many venues for selling their goods. They also love getting to know the people who buy their products!
I’ve never visited Vancouver but I like checking out Farmer Markets when I travel. I always prefer buying from the farmer’s market rather than shopping malls or any store for that matter. Supporting local farmers is very important and I think we need to generate more awareness about them among travelers. Thank you for sharing this article
Vancouver is an amazing destination and the farmer’s markets is one of the reasons! Shopping at the farmer’s markets is a great way to spend an afternoon in Vancouver. I hope you’re able to visit soon.
Vancouver is a city very close to my heart, having visited it so many times throughout my life since half my family live there. Loved reading this piece – and now have some great tips on new places I’ve never heard of before. Granville Island Market is somewhere that I directly attribute to my love of food from childhood..
I’m so pleased you found out about some new places even as someone who knows Vancouver well. Am so pleased to have this guest post from a local expert!