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 agriculture 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.
Farmers’ 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
The 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: 1939
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.
The 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.
Founders Day (2017)
Pride Day (2017)
Night Market (2016)