Self Guided Tour

Going down the north side of the market and back up the south side of the market:

1. Deputy Market Clerk’s Office – The Royal Charter establishing the City of Saint John in 1785, granted the City the right to operate public markets. The charter named the Mayor of the City, Clerk of the Market, with the right to appoint a Deputy Market Clerk. The Deputy Market Clerk looks after the day to day operations of the market form his office overlooking the market hall. The appointment of a Deputy Market Clerk by the Mayor still continues, the appointee being a municipal employee.

2. The City Market Bell – The City Market Bell, located over the Deputy Market Clerk’s office, is rung every day to signal the opening and closing of the market. Traditionally this is the task of the Deputy Market Clerk.

3. Mounted Moosehead – It is claimed that this moose was killed by hunters near Musquash about 1910. Musquash is a community located south of Saint John. The moose was brought to the market to be butchered with the butcher keeping the head to display over his shop.

4. McDonald’s Stained Glass Window – During the early years of the market some of the merchants had office and storage rooms constructed over their stalls. This stained glass window is an example of the extent to which some merchants went to leave their name in the market.

5. Ice-room – Before the days of electricity and refrigeration, block ice was the only source of refrigeration. To the left of the McDonald office is a large room with insulated walls that was kept filled with blocks of ice to cool the walk-in cooler located below the ice-room in the area occupied by Winegarden Estates Ltd. Some of the overhead rail system that was used to ferry meat into the cooler can still be seen.

6. The City Market Walls – the City Market walls are built entirely of brick with no additional reinforcement. The walls are 12 inches thick and thicken to 24 inches where they support the roof rafters.

7. Official City Crest (Above the doorway) -Its 4 symbols tell the story of a proud history in fishing, forestry, shipping and industry.

8. Market Gates – In 1880 wrought iron gates were installed at the top and bottom of the City Market to assist the Deputy Market Clerk in securing the building. The gates were designed and built by local craftsmen.

9. Steel Supports – The steel columns supporting the roof structure vary in height from 20 feet to 30 feet. The City Market floor slopes down from Charlotte Street to Germain Street, a vertical drop of 10 feet.

10. Meat Scale – The overhead rail is used to ferry meat from the loading area to the walk-in cooler or to be hung in the main aisles. Before the imposition of a fixed rent system, merchants were charged a fee for everything they brought into the market to sell. The scale enabled the Deputy Market Clerk and his assistants to weigh products for which a fee by weight was charged.

11. Roof Rafters – The roof support system is built entirely from hand-hewn timbers and assembled in the same manner as a ship’s hull, the difference being that it is upside down to form a roof rather than a hull.

12. Delivery Entrances – The market has eight entrances that lead to North and South Market Streets. These entrances originally served as receiving doors. In the era of horse and wagon, it was not uncommon for wagons to be driven into the market to ease the task of loading and unloading.

13. The Aisles – The centre and side aisles are occupied by bench merchants. Traditionally benches were rented by the day or week, with merchants frequently changing with the seasons. Today the merchants occupying the benches are still referred to as bench merchants and still rent by the day and week. However, today’s merchants occupy the same benches year round. Many bench merchants have been at their locations for over 10 years.

14. Stalls – The shops located along the outside walls are referred to as stalls and the merchants that occupy them stall merchants. These long term occupants rent by the year. Some of these shops have operated continuously for over 100 years with Slocum & Ferris dating back to 1895.

15. Charlotte Street Tower – As you exit the market at Charlotte Street, you pass under one of the two office towers that were part of the original 1876 City Market Building. The tower at the Germain Street entrance was removed in 1955.