In the heart of Saint John and mere blocks from the Bay of Fundy, the historic Saint John City Market serves up an eclectic feast six days a week. This is the oldest farmers’ market in Canada, where locals and visitors mingle among butchers, deli and fruit vendors, fish and cheese mongers as well as bakers, building eclectic meals to eat onsite or take home.
The red brick building encasing the market spans an entire city block; it’s listed as a National Historic Site of Canada and has a long and storied history. Two fires, in 1837 and 1841, reduced the market to rubble before the current incarnation, with its heavy wrought-iron gates and roof like an inverted ship’s keel, opened in 1876.
Today’s market features dozens of purveyors offering everything from fish and chips and shawarma to wine and coffee, opening and closing each day with the traditional ringing of a market bell. On Saturdays, additional merchants — many boasting locally made crafts — join the usual vendor line-up, and a music series brings popular local acts to entertain during lunchtime.
The market is located at 47 Charlotte Street in downtown Saint John. It’s open year-round Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m.; on weekdays the market closes at 6 p.m., while on Saturdays it closes an hour earlier. For those arriving by car, park on the smaller side streets offering free parking and avoid King Street, where it can be pricey. The area is also serviced by Saint John Transit — its four main lines all stop at Kings Square and the market for $2.75 CAD one-way.