New multi-use area intended to boost weekday traffic at Kitchener Market
March 14, 2010
By Liz Monteiro, Record staff
KITCHENER – City officials hope to breathe new life into the downtown Kitchener Market – especially on weekdays – with the opening of the new multi-use area on the second floor.
The 2,500-square-foot space has a fully-equipped kitchen for cooking demonstrations, and space with tables and chairs available for birthday parties or corporate lunches, said market manager Diane Garrington.
“It’s another public space,’’ said Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr, who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the market on Saturday morning.
“We want to bring more people here. This will utilize the space with a positive purpose,’’ he said. “It’s another evolution of the Kitchener market.’’
The market, which is bustling on Saturdays, suffers from a lack of people during the week.
The eight full-time food vendors on the second floor are open from Tuesday to Saturday, but the lunch crowd throughout the week is low, except for nearby high school students. The market opened in 2004 at a cost of more than $20 million.
Renovating the space cost the city about $100,000. Appliances were donated by Goemans Appliances and KitchenAid and the sinks and taps were donated by Watermarks.
Garrington said the space can accommodate 150 people and is ideal for corporate functions. It is also fully licensed.
“We want this to be an extension of the market as a community gathering place and build traffic through the week,’’ she said.
Ryan Kennedy comes to the market weekly and he, too, wants to see more people enjoying the market.
“This space is really innovative. This is a public building and it should be used more,’’ said Kennedy, who lives on Cedar Street.
Kennedy, a PhD student in health psychology at the University of Waterloo, said the downtown needs stability and the market is part of the solution.
“We are optimistic this will work and give people more reason to come downtown. It’s an opportunity for people to get together,’’ he said.
Pauline Schmidt, who lives near the Waterloo market, came to the Kitchener Market because of the opening of the new space.
“I think it’s a good idea,’’ said Schmidt, as she watched the chef from the Artbar restaurant make crostini with chorizo and sautéed red peppers and onions.
“The cooking classes are great,’’ she said. “The cooking will draw me here.’’
Jacqueline Schmid, who also lives near the Waterloo market, said she grew up in downtown Kitchener and has fond memories of coming to the market on Saturdays.
“I like it here because it’s brighter and smaller. I came to the old market as a kid and I know the vendors,’’ said the mother of two boys.
Esseleyne Bell of Caribbean Kitchen is hopeful of increased lunchtime traffic.
“I think it’s a good idea and I’m hoping cooking classes will bring awareness of the market and more people here,’’ said Bell, who’s been an upstairs vendor since the market opened nearly six years ago.
For more information on cooking classes at the Market Place and registering for them, go online to http://eclass.kitchener.ca
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