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The Market at Western Fair District
The Heart of Old East Village
London’s Market at Western Fair District is open weekly “Saturday & Sunday.” Located in the heart of Old East Village, at the historic Confederation building on the Western Fairgrounds, The Market at Western Fair District has established itself as a neighbourhood social centre and community tradition.
With an area of 52,000 square feet, the red brick Confederation building began as a place for local merchants to sell a diversity of wares, and then replaced the Western Fair’s Crystal Palace when it was destroyed by fire in January 1927. Today, products include the finest in local, organic and heirloom produce, 19 varieties of apples, and an array of locally produced domestic cheeses (How does some fresh goat’s milk Gouda strike you? Or some 7-year-old local cheddar?), as well as international cheese selections, specialty meats, fresh-cut flowers, dry goods, staples and gourmet products. Locally raised products from four butchers (drug-free beef, pork, and lamb), fresh rabbit, and a variety of delicatessen and charcuterie, poultry (chicken, duck, turkey) farm-fresh free-run eggs, and other quality dairy products are also available.
Market-goers enjoy a variety of traditional culinary favourites, including local delicacies such as homemade regional sausages, apple fritters, fresh hand-pressed cider, and pure Ontario maple products. Among the vendors is Onthemove Organics purveyor, Jeff Pastorius, who sells certified organic vegetables and herbs all year round. In addition to premium, delicious and nutritious veggies, he sells other local, natural and organic products and products that have not been genetically modified. Pastorious has recently opened a production operation called "Movement" on the 2nd floor. Another vendor is Rose White, a local farmer/food activist, who runs the City Farming Project and sells organic heirloom vegetables.
The Market at Western Fair District is a popular destination for local chefs in search of a wide variety of products and ingredients from the local terroir and as far away as Leamington. Authentic ethnic cuisines (think East Indian, Tibetan, Mexican, Polish, Dutch and Hungarian) are featured prominently, as well as other specialty food vendors and food stalls showcasing the multi-cultural diversity of our community. Yam Gurung, for example, has been cooking Nepali, Western and other international cuisine for over 15 years and serves delicious curries with rice, as well as his specialty, a traditional Nepali dumpling known as Momos, at his food boutique at the market. Luis Riva is a long-time market vendor committed to providing the authentic flavours of both Mexican and El Salvadorian cuisines.
The market has an unsurpassed variety of fresh baking from four individual bakers, which includes an assortment of artisanal breads, local berry and fresh fruit pies, strudels, cakes, and many other delicious baked items. There is also a variety of gluten-free, lactose-free and reduced-sugar and -salt baked goods.
Upstairs in the Market is the Fire Roasted Coffee Cafe/Roastery, presided over by lead roaster/chef Patrick Dunham. Recognized as one of Canada’s finest specialty hand-roasted artisan coffees, this is where serious coffee drinkers can experience expertly roasted single-varietal coffees. It is here on site that they do their roasting and tastings. The roastery is open on regular market hours on Saturday and Sunday for retail and wholesale purchases. Fire Roasted Coffee roasts over 50 types of beans, including 20 single-origins, decafs and blends. 95% of the coffee selection is Fair Trade Certified, and many more are Organic Certified and shade-grown as well.
The second floor also features a couple of talented local artists, as well as craftspeople, a dedicated-tailor, ephemera, vintage books, antiques and collectibles. Check the upstairs also for hand-crafted products, gift ideas, horticultural-themed garden and cottage decor, clothing, and other craftspeople and artisans.