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UPDATE: Urban market coming to Founders Hall in Charlottetown

Artist's sketch of a market planned for Founders Hall on the Charlottetown waterfront.
Artist's sketch of a market planned for Founders Hall on the Charlottetown waterfront. - Dave Stewart
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

Founders’ Hall is finally turning into the downtown market many thought it should have been years ago.

The Charlottetown Harbour Authority, or Port Charlottetown as it’s also known, and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) held a press conference in the historic downtown Charlottetown building on Thursday to officially launch the new Founders’ Food Hall and Market.

It will open sometime this summer and operate year-round.

Mike Cochrane, CEO of Port Charlottetown, said having a food hall and market located within walking distance of the port will provide cruise ship passengers new opportunities to experience some of the best of P.E.I.

“In addition to cruise traffic, the Founders’ Food Hall and Market will be a welcoming centre for all visitors to our Island and will stand as a community hub, offering new and small business operators the opportunity to grow and develop their product,’’ Cochrane said.

The following independent vendors have all signed contracts to operate in the new food market — Holy Fox, Receiver Coffee Company, Donuts By Design, Rawsome Juice, Stir It Up, Famous Peppers, Truckin Roll, Upstreet Brewery, Two Beggars, Soap and Candle from the Hive and Arlington Orchards.

Cochrane said negotiations are still underway with more vendors.

“The food hall and market is an emerging trend across North America, so it’s going to be a mix of food service vendors, market vendors. You can go in and eat, grab a drink (and) you can buy your local products to take home,’’ he said. “It’s really a blend.’’

“The food hall and market is an emerging trend across North America, so it’s going to be a mix of food service vendors, market vendors. You can go in and eat, grab a drink (and) you can buy your local products to take home. It’s really a blend.’’

- Mike Cochrane, CEO of Port Charlottetown

Cochrane said the move made sense because the building on the waterfront is an important part of the city’s history.

In addition, with the cruise industry growing, the port saw it as a chance to enhance the business.

“We wanted to work with a lot of the small business operators across P.E.I. to give them a central location,’’ Cochrane said. “We really want the local community to be involved in this and make this their go-to place.’’

Dawn Alan, executive director of Downtown Charlottetown Inc., said this urban space brand is going to be a huge draw for tourists and locals.

“The urban food hall explosive growth across North America is credited to the rise in foodie culture and now, our own, right here in Charlottetown,’’ Alan said. “The emphasis here will be on authenticity –processed foods and manufactured crafts replaced with authentic and locally sourced food and artisans.’’

Cochrane said they are well aware that people have been suggesting Founders’ Hall would make a great food market for years.

“I know there has been a tonne of interest in this project for a number of years, and we talked about this,’’ he said. “We really wanted to take our time and do this right because we want this to stand the test of time and have that longevity.’’

Cochrane said there is no specific opening date set yet.

“Work is underway now, (but) we don’t have a set date. Obviously, we have some construction that needs to take place and be finalized but our goal is to open this summer.’’

Twitter.com/DveStewart

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