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Jan 9, 2008 03:55 PM

Sweetgrass Market YYC

Does anyone have any "hot gossip" about the new year round, all week market in Calgary?

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  1. what neighborhood is that? 9th Ave and 85th St?

    37 Replies
    1. re: alex8alot

      Yes it is, I think that its going to have a lot of the venders from CFM after it shuts down. I have been to the website but was looking for some more "ear to the ground" type info.

      1. re: cdn

        the bakery is going to be very good - a newbie on the Calgary scene

        1. re: cdn

          sorry, I meant to ask what neighborhood that that address is in or borders

          1. re: alex8alot

            Its in the area of Cougar Ridge, Spring Willow, Aspen Estates and the East part of Springbank.

          2. re: cdn

            I really doubt the CFM is ever going to "shut down."

            This sounds so suburban it might as well be in Cochrane...

            1. re: John Manzo

              Do you know what will become of them when CFM has to leave CFB? Forgive me if Im wrong, but I assumed, through gossip, that Sweetgrass will replace CFM when their lease is up.
              I live way down south, and really if you lived in Tuscany it would be the same situation.... and dont think twice about driving to CFM, I'm a bit unsure whythe SG location seems to be a dissapointment, or too suburban. I guess we should let the Newport Grill and Ceasers to move closer to DT for fear of being to suburban?
              Its actually more Springbank than Cochrane. In fact is more south than COP and Bowness Park.
              I guess Millarville market is in Lethbridge then?

              1. re: cdn

                Millarville is rural, no issues there. It's not only distance that I'm complaining about.

                Look, I'm an urbanist, and I want things like CFM to be inner city or at least relatively so. The St Lawrence Market isn't in Richmond Hill. Pike Place isn't in Kent. Granville Island isn't in Tsawassen. Our premiere market should not be in some artificial car-centred suburban environment. Currie Barracks isn't exactly urban but it's fairly central in an area with some important history and it's surrounded by housing built to urbanist standards and is accessible ON FOOT. No, you can't walk there if you live in Arbour Lake or Millrise, but when you chose to live in those areas, you also chose to be car dependent.

                I wish this market every success but there is no way it's "replacing" CFM.

                1. re: John Manzo

                  I'd like to see Prince's Island Park as a location for a Farmer's Market...trouble is PIP hosts things like Folk Fest and I'm not sure there's room for both.

                  1. re: maplesugar

                    hey hey hey, let's not mess with a fine park!

                    I don't mean to say that I don't want good things for people in the 'burbs, but as I say, CFM has quickly evolved, more than Crossroads did, as "our" Granville Island- we can't move that to West Springs!

                    There are plans to have a market at the Ramsay Exchange- and at the Stampede expansion- heck Eau Claire might have possibility.

                    1. re: John Manzo

                      ok ok :) I love Prince's Island...I'm not trying to completely change it. Even us suburbanites venture down there quite a bit... I was just there for a tree decorating with my daughter's class...on the way back to school we steered the kids to another part of the path while Calgary's finest put two gentleman in zip ties. I just think a bit of development might increase foot traffic and decrease the undesirable aspects of the park.

                      I didn't know (not like I'm "in the loop" but I read a lot) there were plans for another market other than Sweetgrass. Anything that supports local producers is good in my books. How far along are these projects do you know?

                      1. re: John Manzo

                        At the risk of sounding really old, when Eau Claire opened it was going to be similar to the Granville Island market according to the PR. I recall going down there and watching artisans hand carving a bed upstairs so there were active studios. CFM is much more like Granville Island market without the art.

                        I've never heard why Eau Claire turned into... well, what it is today, but I'm guessing it wasn't supported. I know I'm biased but the ideal would be a place where ACAD could move too.

                        It's tough when ticky tacky condos price out the stuff that makes urban areas actually interesting but that's happening all over.

                        1. re: sharonanne

                          It's too bad Eau Claire didn't live up to/retain it's stated purpose. I love Granville Island Market. Maybe Calgary wasn't ready for a Granville style market back when Eau Claire opened but I think the City has grown up a lot especially in the last decade.

                          1. re: maplesugar

                            i think one of the big reasons eau claire never picked up is, oddly enough, parking. even with all the condos around, the bulk of market shoppers would still come from the suburbs where, you know, most of calgary lives (sigh). Parking at Eau Claire (and chinatown for that matter) is completely ridiculous, although they've recently tried to cheapen it for evgs and weekends (too little too late). By comparison, granville island has plenty of free parking, you just might have to drive around it a few times to find a spot as someone is leaving.

                            i noticed a few months back that the parking at the crossroads is no longer free. I hope it doesn't befall the same fate. I actually prefer the feeling of the crossroads over CFM. CFM is.. i dunno... too suburban.

                            1. re: marcopolo

                              A vendor at the blackfoot market told me that they had to introduce the pay parking to reduce the "undesirables" from parking there. I wasn't sure what she was referring to, but apparently it has done the trick. I don't know what is around there that would attract these "undesirables"? I agree that it was the parking issue at Eau Claire that did it in. My father opted out of the development because he didn't think that it would be successful for partly that reason.

                    2. re: John Manzo

                      i agree, it should be about contributing to the creation a sustainable community, and not having to get in your car all the time.

                      The last couple weeks, I've noticed it's pretty slim pickings at CFM, I don't recall it being so sparse last winter. One of the larger fruit and vegetable stands was gone(across from Sylvan Star - not sure if they are gone for good or not? hopefully not, I shopped at that one quite a bit, they had good selection.

                      1. re: John Manzo

                        Sigh. When I live in Calgary during the summers, I find myself in Shawnessy... further flung than Millrise, and I don't even have my driver's license (due to a desire to remain a cyclist/pedestrian). Sweetgrass will likely never become relevant to me. Oh well. CFM was hard enough to get to by bus. A good hour to an hour and a half.

                        1. re: peter.v

                          Take a look this summer for the very small market thats held a the Fish Creek Twin Rinks parking lot ( attached to the YMCA). Its no CFM but they do have fresh Hutterite produce and some other local merchants. I think in the past its been held on Thursday car required!

                          1. re: cdn

                            Here's a link to other farmer's markets in Calgary and surrounding areas.

                        2. re: John Manzo

                          100% right, John. Calgary Farmers' Market is here to stay ... possibly at Currie Barracks (final decision not in yet), but somewhere else that's accessible if not there.

                          Sweetgrass Market has no chance of replacing CFM. It's not even a real market like CFM. It's only 10,000 sq.ft. total (smaller than the Shoppers Drug Mart next door), and will only have a handful of conventional retailers inside. Most CFM merchants who have been approached by Sweetgrass have turned down the offer, mostly because the plan to be a "market" is not realistic.

                          Sweetgrass is also purely local ... Wentworth, Cougar Ridge, Coach Hill, etc. It has no chance of drawing from other parts of the city or outside ... It's just too small, the road access doesn't (and won't) accommodate volume access, and there's no room for product diversity.

                          1. re: Bagel Guy

                            I heard from some vendors at CFM that they were taken on a bus tour of potential locations to move to. Rumours are all over town that Sobeys is going into the barracks. The big talk for them is to go to Balzac or the very north of the NW which are 2 areas they were taken to see. They've all been talking for a few months that the big development in Balzac is the likely place. Who the heck is going to drive there from their existing customer base?

                            1. re: market gal

                              Me for one...I'm at CFM just about every weekend and live closer to Balzac than the barracks.

                              1. re: maplesugar

                                I would go too. I think I live not too far from you maplesugar.

                                1. re: sweeterpea

                                  It'd be funny if we were neighbours :)

                                  Speaking of that...have you joined the facebook group? This is the link to the Introductions thread

                                  I'm curious about the development in Balzac but I can't see CFM moving there since there's the accessibility issue John mentioned... I have concerns about Sweetgrass for the same reason but at the same time I hope they succeed.

                                  1. re: maplesugar

                                    I'm up in the NW (practically south balzac) too. I love CFM but it is a trek for those of us in the 'burbs unfortunately. Though I must say that the schnitzel on a bun makes me go there more often. :)

                                    1. re: Merry113

                                      Now if they developed the Bearspaw Farmer's Market more, it would be great for us NW people ;o) However despite the trek down south, I do make the effort once a week during summer to go to CFM.

                                      That would be funny, Maplesugar, if we've been in the same supermarket check out or something ;o) Though I find Facebook a bit tedious, I'll check it out.

                              2. re: market gal

                                I want to hear BagelGuy's reply to this. Cannot even fathom it plunked down in Balzac where nobody- LITERALLY, nobody- lives.

                                1. re: John Manzo

                                  Actually about 2500 people live in the Balzac area....
                                  The mall and race track is going to be a huge destination! If anyone has driven by lately the building alone is massive. Land is being subdivided for communities at alarming rates and prices, even though nobody lives there....
                                  I'm excited to see the final project and will conitnue to be a customer. And you may be right market gal, however to think that the market can only survive and be successful on their existing customer base is rather pretentious. Millarville is very a successful rural market full of urban and rural customers and if Balzac is the final destination it will be too.

                                  1. re: John Manzo

                                    I can’t even imagine the current Board of Directors of the Calgary Farmers’ Market voting to go to the Balzac location (CrossIron Mills). Of five possible locations, CFM’s consultants rated it poorly, as second-from-last. It would be located on a separate parcel of land north of the planned racetrack, and only accessible by car from the Balzac mega-mall. Projections are that most customers would come from Airdie and NW Calgary.

                                    It’s also estimated that CFM would lose 75% of its current customer base. With the huge investment required by vendors, and the time required to build up a new customer base (perhaps 5-10 years), such a move would be a financial disaster.

                                    It would also be a social disaster for Calgary. The Balzac location could not possibly be the social gathering place, and the start of so many Calgary events, that is today’s Calgary Farmers’ Market; nor would it be inside the City. Almost every visitor would have to drive a considerable distance to arrive at another mall-like wasteland. It’s not pretty.

                                    How the CFM Board of Directors will vote on this issue (by the end of May) is as unpredictable as a jury, but I do believe they will recognize that a Balzac decision will spell the demise of the “Calgary” Farmers’ Market.

                                    The CFM is important to Calgarians. It’s an important social venue, and a great way of keeping farmers and nature part of our urban lifestyle. Let’s keep the Calgary Farmers’ Market in Calgary, where it belongs.

                                    1. re: Bagel Guy

                                      what he said. :-)

                                      The very idea of having a farmers' market in unsustainable, automobile centred sprawl- an area that is IMPOSSIBLE to reach on foot, bike, or transit- is repugnant, to put it mildly.

                            2. re: cdn

                              Maybe those who want an URBAN market should have spent more time supporting eau claire . Sweetgrass is a much smaller market than CFM and much needed up in this area of the city.I think the support that Sweetgrass will receive from the residents of the growing SW (focus on west) should more than supplement their profits. Anyone who lives up here knows how busy Sunterra and Sobeys are. I guess we should consider ourselves lucky that the 15 min drive from downtown is too far for all you urbanites.......... In most other cities I have lived in if you could drive D/t in 15 you were pretty much considered downtown living!! Thank god Calgary has not caught on to that yet and I can live quietly up here WITH great food options!

                              1. re: lacart

                                Eau Claire was never a farmers market. It was a that 1990s panacea called a "festival market" and will soon have died along with almost all of that species, and good riddance. What replaces it will be magnificent.

                                1. re: John Manzo

                                  Panacea? What ills was it seeking to cure? It was a logical attempt to exploit the natural family destination that was Prince's Island Park. Any parent will testify that good food shopping and children's diversions seem mutually exclusive, which explains in part the success of the CFM.

                                  1. re: toutefrite

                                    In the 1990s the "Festival Marketplace" was considered to be the magic bullet for urban renewal based on the success of developments in Boston, Baltimore, and other places. It was not, in the end, an appropriate thing in every city. It failed in Calgary in part because it did not and does not integrate with the park or riverfront- it is a suburban mall, and an ugly one, surrounded (almost literally) with parking. The new Eau Claire will integrate high-density housing, retail that meets the street instead of being hidden behind garish metal walls, sustainability, and just a better buildout in general.

                                2. re: lacart

                                  Calgary's problem is that *most* of us live at least fifteen minutes' drive to downtown. That means, for the urban many who don't live in the Westhills zone, at least half an hour. For us, that means we may as well make the scenic trip out to the Millarville Market. And those are going to be the challenges for the new market to overcome. I think it will do well, but it is still just another neighbourhood niche market, and Calgary continues to suffer from the lack of a real destination city market. Just another example of what urban sprawl can do to make us feel disassociated from one another.

                                  1. re: ahemjay

                                    There are almost 200,000 people who live withing 10km of the core- that's actually good by NA standards or even Canadian ones. Where this myth about Calgary having worse sprawl than, say, Vancouver is complicated by people's misunderstanding of our unicity system. When you get a few km outside of Calgary, it's empty. Empty. Try that in Chicago or Vancouver. The suburbs never end. Ours end, with scant exceptions (and those exceptions, like Airdrie and Chestermere, are building dense as well), at the city limits.

                                    The Edmonton CMA covers TWICE the geographic area of the Calgary one with fewer inhabitants- and the city of Edmonton has 300,000 fewer people in a city virtually the same size of Calgary. Edmonton has a huge sprawl problem, MUCH worse than Calgary's, but it not only has a superb central-ish market- you also hear nobody wringing their hands and stereotyping it for its sprawl.

                              2. re: John Manzo

                                Suburban or semi-rural ;) In this case John I think you live closer to this bit of suburbia than I do lol.

                                9th Av and 85th Street SW is the epi-centre of West Springs and according to mapquest is 12.3km from TD Centre (random downtown landmark) It looks as though there are two options: Bow Trail or 17th Av to 85th Street and head north. While it's not Cochrane it's certainly a hike.

                                I'm on Sweetgrass Market's email list and I have't recieved anything in what seems like months so I emailed them to see if there's anything more definitive than early '08. Something tells me they're suffering the same construction delays that plague a lot of projects in town. If I hear anything I'll pass it along :)

                          2. I guess my hot gossip turned into a hot topic! Im glad to hear there is talk of a few more markets possibly opening in the city though. And as a car depentant suburbanite I will have no problem gettting in my car, a big pickup truck to boot, and exploring them all. teehee.
                            Seriously though....Im just happy that places like this are opening up and bringing a lifestyle back and a sence of responsibility that encourages supporting local growers. As part of a mixed farming (grain and beef) family I truely see the effects the "100 mile" lifestyle. We try to live like that but with the size of the city 100 miles hardly gets you to Airdrie from MacTowne. hahaha.
                            There is still merchant space available to rent at SG so I'm guessing that their not quite ready to open early 2008 nor are they having the success they thought filling the place. So I guess will see what unfolds.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: cdn

                              just a footnote about Sweetgrass they won't be open week-long. Their site says they'll be open Wed-Sat.

                              1. re: maplesugar

                                West Springs Village
                                9th Avenue and 85th Street SW,
                                Calgary, Alberta

                                Wednesday to Friday
                                9am - 7pm

                                Saturday and Sunday
                                9am - 5pm

                            2. Email from Anne Lambert re Sweetgrass opening:

                              If I hear ‘it’s construction in Calgary’ as an excuse one more time…

                              That seems to be done. The floor is poured, the drywall inside is almost finished. The floor is being polished this Friday. Then my guy gets in to start our inside work while the landlord finishes there. Yeah – work together. I’m aiming for beginning of April. Just need to get more merchants who can see the vision. If you have any favourite storekeepers – tell them they should be in Sweetgrass.

                              Here’s a couple of pics. Do you like our tree complete with painted balls and real lights. What a fun surprise that was!

                              Thanks for the inquiry.

                              The pix she sent dated 01/03/2008 showed them at the drywall stage, and of the tree (made of plywood)perched on top of the roof of the outside of the market. It looks like a decent space but it's hard to judge size from the pictures. It looks as though the info floating around about them needing more vendors was correct. If anyone wants to see the pix I can post them on our facebook group. :)

                              1 Reply
                              1. The original comment has been removed
                                1. I don't have any "hot" gossip, but I do know that they have been looking for vendors since January 2007, and still only have of which is a candy seller, and still no produce. The prices to move into the space are incredibly high, which I think are preventing people from moving in. Anne Lambert, the director of the market is the former director of CFM, so I wonder if that is part of the reason that it is having a hard time filling up. Let's face it, they have been looking for vendors for 13 months and only have 4, and they only need 15 to fill the market... supposed to open in 2 months....seems a bit odd.