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Farmers' market moving to new space

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After a seven year stay, the Calgary Farmers' Market has recently closed its doors at the Currie Barracks. The last of over one million visitors who attended the market annually exited the building for the final time Dec. 24. With its lease ending at the location, which will be developed into a community, the Farmers' Market has found permanent residency at Blackfoot and Heritage. If construction stays on schedule, the new location should open Feb. 4. Calgary Farmers' Market general manager Kyle Aylesworth said it has been difficult finding a permanent location for the market.

"It has been a tough road," said Aylesworth. "But we hope that the location will draw more visitors because of its close proximity to many major roads."

Aylesworth said the Calgary Farmers' Market will be the third venue of its kind in the area, along with the Summer Blackfoot Market and the Crossroads Market.

The construction cost of the new building is upwards of $5 million and will provide 10,000 square feet of extra space. Despite the extra space, the number of vendors will remain the same -- around 100.

The cost of construction and moving has some vendors questioning the Farmers' Market's new location. Several have also voiced dissatisfaction with the market's board regarding the move.

"My time at the Farmers' Market has been life changing, there is a real sense of community here, but there have been some changes that I don't really approve of," said one vendor who asked not to be named. "I would love to stay but I will probably move my stand elsewhere."

Phil & Sebastian Coffee Company, a favourite of many market goers, will not be moving to the new location. Phil & Sebastian supervisor Brett Husband said the company had a great experience with the Farmers' Market, but a recent move to Chinook Mall gave them the opportunity to create their own personal environment.

"We had an amazing relationship with the vendors," said Husband. "The opportunity at Chinook Mall came up first and so far it has been great. This way we can be open every day, have our own music and really develop as a shop."

Market expansions will try to draw in more crowds at the new location. The additions include Calgary Farmers' Market's a larger food court, outside patios, high-end washrooms, a kids play area and a fire place.

Calgarian Margret Kennedy said the further location won't deter her attendance.

"Some of my favourite memories are biking to the Farmers' Market in the summer," said Kennedy. "It will be a lot harder to bike to but I will still go all the time. It's such a wonderful atmosphere and they have amazing produce."

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