Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 24, 2021
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Canada goes to Market

This summer, visit a fair, peruse exotic foods or tour the precious Gemboree

Tis the season to get outdoors at any cost, which means your weekend shopping destinations should include any one of Canada's open-air venues. Whether you're looking for fresh fruit and vegetables, crafts, seafood, ethnic goods or curious trinkets, DOCTOR'S REVIEW offers an essential, coast-to-coast guide to summertime treasure troves. Although it's impossible to list every market -- big or small, in the city centre or nestled along the countryside -- we suggest the following. Besides, there's something for every kind of shopper and every size of budget. Let's go bargain hunting Canada!

(Vancouver, BC) Located under the Granville Street Bridge on Vancouver's west side, Granville Island is a colourful blend of market-places, craft shops, restaurants and live theatre.

The indoor Public Market is a main attraction worth browsing through, with its array of regular fare and exotic foods. The market spills outside to the Farmers' and Gardeners' Truck Markets on Thursdays, May through October. For fresh lobster and fish, the Maritime Market boasts a fine selection. The island also houses many arts and crafts studios, including glass blowing, tapestries, leather work and gold and silver design.

When you've exhausted the markets and craft shops, take in a play at one of the island's three popular theatres, tour the Granville Island Brewery or go paddling in a canoe or kayak, available for rent at one of the island's recreation centres. Then, rest your tired feet and relax in the square, which is always animated with buskers and special events. You can also taste whatever's good in your shopping bag.

For more information, contact the Granville Island Information Centre (tel: 604-666-5784; website: <>).

(Salt Spring Island, BC) Called Canada's "Island of the Arts" and the "Organic Gardening Capital of Canada," Salt Spring Island's arts, crafts and farmers' market is unmatched in west coast pioneer spirit. Everything is made locally and sold by the artisans themselves -- it's island policy.

Salt Spring is also internationally reputed for being home to a creative crew of painters, potters, jewellers, fibre artists and woodworkers. Artists welcome visitors to their studios and galleries. The Visitor Centre in Ganges Village can provide a list.

The annual Apple Festival, held in late October, is another reason to make the trip to this popular Gulf Island market. Over 350 varieties of organic apples are grown on the island and 10 orchards will be open to the public for taste testing, orchard tours and apple sales.

The Salt Spring Market is open Saturdays, April through October. To reach the island, you can take a ferry from Vancouver Island or the mainland. Daily float planes fly from Vancouver and Seattle. Contact the Salt Spring Island Visitor Information Centre (tel: 250-537-5252; website: <>).

(Bancroft, ON) If exploring the rugged highlands of the Canadian Shield appeals to your senses, then head down in August to the frontier town of Bancroft, ON for the 37th annual Rockhound Gemboree, Canada's largest mineral and gem show.

The Gemboree hosts over 50 exhibitors from Canada, the US, Europe and Africa. It's no wonder Bancroft is named the "Mineral Capital of Canada" considering the area's remarkable geology. Marble, granite, lead, gold, beryl, opals, sandstone and local blue sodalite are just a small number of mineral specimens, lapidary crafts and gemstone jewellery exhibited each year.

New to rockhounding? Get yourself acquainted with the abundant collection of local minerals on view at the Mineral Museum. The Mineral Capital Gift Shop sells the basic collecting equipment you'll need -- safety glasses and a rock hammer -- to get started on the Bancroft area's ancient rock, dating from 1.1 to 1.8 billion years ago. The region boasts more minerals than any other in Canada.

Mineral-collecting field trips led by a geologist will also take place daily during the Gemboree; however, if you can't make it August 3 to 6, additional excursions will go out on Tuesdays and Thursdays during July and August. The whole experience proves to be a great outing for the family. For more information and show hours, call the Bancroft and District Chamber of Commerce (tel: 613-332-1513; website: <>).

(Toronto, ON) More of a multicultural community than a market-place, the Kensington Market is by far the most unique shopping area in downtown Toronto and a bargain-hunting paradise. Bounded by Spadina and Bathurst, Dundas and College, over 100 independent shops and food markets offer everything from fresh fruit, vegetables, ethnic goods, new and vintage clothing to discounted kitchenware.

From the market's early Jewish roots in the 1930s to more recent waves of immigrants, the market has always reflected an international spirit in the colours, tastes and sounds from Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and the Caribbean. Saturday is the big shopping day, so forget about driving and make your way on foot to Augusta Street, the heart of the market.

If art is what you're looking for, it's said that there are more artists per square foot in Kensington Market than any other community in Canada. Not only has the market attracted an energetic community of artists, musicians, writers and craftspeople, it has been the subject of paintings, drawings, photographs and films for decades. To browse the many shops that the market has to offer, visit the Kensington Market Community website at <>.

(Kitchener-Waterloo, ON) If Toronto's fast pace isn't for you, take a short drive out of the city to the agriculturally rich region of Kitchener-Waterloo. The St. Jacobs Farmers' and Flea Market is one of Canada's largest. Along with the traditional Waterloo Farmers' Market across the road, both markets offer fresh, quality produce and a variety of handcrafted items. Don't be surprised to pass old-fashioned horse-drawn buggies on the roads, as Old Order Mennonites make their way to the market.

Close by, you can amble through the quaint village of St. Jacobs with its one-of-a-kind shops. Visit local Mennonite craft studios where broom makers, blacksmiths, wheat weavers and other traditional craftspeople work daily. The community spirit here is noticeable as is the charm and look of the town with its mixture of the historic and the new. A large number of fairs, craft and quilt shows are held year round. To learn more about annual events or for market hours, contact the market directly (tel: 519-747-1830) or call St. Jacobs' Tourism (tel: 800-265-3353; website: <>).

(Eastern Townships, QC) This quaint arts tour, held annually in late July, is the perfect invitation to wander around the studios, homes and gardens of local artists and craftspeople in the Eastern Townships. This picturesque region of Quebec, renowned for its Victorian homes, covered bridges and unique round barns, is inspiration for pottery, painting, fabric art and other earthy creations.

The Tour des Arts is concentrated around the more populated towns of Knowlton, Brome Lake, Sutton and Mansonville, although many studios are off the beaten track and make driving along meandering country roads pleasurable. Keep a lookout for fruit and vegetable stands set up along the road, local maple syrup and the St. Benoit Abbey, where you'll find delicious cheese made on location by the resident monks.

If you're planning to stay for the week, lodging is ample, from bed and breakfast nooks to cozy country inns. The tour also organizes a series of evening events: theatre productions, concerts and prose and poetry readings by local French and English writers. For more information contact the Sutton Tourist Bureau (tel: 800-565-8455; 450-538-0605; website: < arts/english.html>).

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.


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