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Guelph Farmers’ Market, The Original Gathering Place: 1827 – 2017


The Beginning: 1827

John Galt was always deemed
a visionary. He is said to have
had a vision to make Guelph the
centre of Ontario’s agriculture11968
industry. Part of that plan was
to erect Guelph’s first Market
House in the downtown area.
It is said that he envisioned
locals, farmers’ and surrounding
communities coming together
to exchange their locally grown
products. Between 1827 and
1829 the first Market house, an
open wooded structure, was built.

11967Farmers’ Market Grows: 1857

After years of pleas from the
townspeople for a new market it
finally happened. The new building
was erected and was also the
location of the Town Hall. In 1874,
the building expanded again. A new
second floor was built that housed
a Concert Hall.


The Heart of the Market: 1889
Guelph had played host to the travelling
Ontario Provincial Fat Stock Show
throughout the 1800s. In 1889, these
shows would be renamed the Ontario
Provincial Winter Fair when Guelph was
chosen as the permanent location. Note:
The Ontario Provincial Winter Fair was
also known as the Guelph Winter Fair.

Farmers’ Market Grows Again: 1900s
1970_55_6The Ontario Provincial Winter Fair
was proving to be a huge success for
Guelph and over the course of the
years expansions were made to the
market building. This included the
addition on Wilson Street that housed
the cattle and poultry as well as a
Show Horse Barn. The construction
also included underground tunnels that
connected to the Winter Fairgrounds.

The Market and the War: 19391979_75_44_watermark
The Ontario Provincial Winter Fair
was suspended because of World
War II. The military occupied the
fair buildings and used the space to
house soldiers that were in training
for the war. Unfortunately, the Fair
did not continue on after the war.

IMG_7769The Move: 1968
In 1968, the Farmers’
Market moves into the Show
Horse barn building. The
market continues to operate
out of the barn building
and provides a unique
experience to the patrons
who come to the market
every Saturday. The Market
continues to have vendors
whose families have been at
the market for over 50 years.

photos: The Beginning (Wellington County Museum), Farmers’ Market Grows (Wellington
County Museum), The Heart of the Market (Guelph Museums 1976_40_37)
(next page): Farmers’ Market Grows (Guelph Museums 1970_55_6), The Market and the War (GuelphMuseums 1979_75_44), Current day Farmers’ Market (Guelph Tourism)
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