City Market’s Title of Great Public Space Made Official
July 11, 2014

With a slew of historic titles, including Canada’s first charter market, the Saint John City Market can now show off as Canada’s Great Public Space of 2013 with a shiny new plaque.

The honour of being one of the great places in Canada was given by the Canadian Institute of Planners. Saint John’s win was announced in November after four months of voting that took place last summer, but the plaque was unveiled Thursday afternoon.

“There is one winner in each of the categories: great streets, great neighbourhoods and great public spaces. And a judging panel of professional planners determines the winner based on a series of judging criteria, but also from votes from across the country,” said Andrea Bourrie, a member of the Canadian Institute of Planners’council.

The panel of judges names the winner of each category and a people’s choice is given to the place that receives the largest number of public votes.

Of the six locations recognized across all categories, the McAdam Train Station won the people’s choice honour for greatest public space of 2013. Saint John and McAdam were the only cities recognized from Atlantic Canada.

“New Brunswick is a great place and that people, not only professionals in the planning profession, but individuals who voted on the people’s choice award and recognized what a great community it is and what good planning contributes to great communities,”Bourrie said.

“The recognition is great for the city overall, but for the market it shows the importance of having these community spaces and what kinds of opportunities they create to bring people together.

“It also talks about the importance of the different economic benefits and social interactions that a public place like this really gives to the people in the community.”

It was Bourrie’s first visit on Thursday, but she called the market“very impressive”as she looked around.

Bourrie was named the honorary market clerk of the day by Mayor Mel Norton and had the chance to ring the market bell, which is situated right above where the stage was set up on Thursday.

Norton said the city was thrilled to receive the award.“This city market embodies the entrepreneurial spirit of Saint John,”he said. “It’s a market that has been witness to history from the Great Fire of 1877.”

“This is a place that has survived buyouts and structural issues. It is a place that is a place of people and meeting of friends and family and community.”

The current city market building was constructed between 1874 and 1876, but its roots date back to May 18, 1785, with the charter established in the city, said the manager of the market, Kevin Loughery.

“The Saint John City Market is Canada’s first charter market, Canada’s oldest continuing farmers market, a national historic site and (it) illustrates the development of buildings designed specifically in 19th-century Canada to act as markets,”Loughery said.

“This great building has withstood the stand of time and is one of only four pre-1900 separate market buildings still to exist in Canada,” he said. “The Saint John City Market has faced many obstacles over its life, including demolition, sale and deterioration.

“Great places are where celebrations are held, social and economic exchanges take place, friends run into one another and cultures mix.”