Downtown market taking shape in Penticton

Group looking to convert former Ellis Street bus barn into a year round public market

It’s a project that has been a long time moving from the napkin to the planning board, but the concept of creating a permanent downtown market is slowly moving to reality.

Though it was identified as a project for the Vibrant Penticton downtown revitalization, the idea of converting the old Ellis Street bus barn into a year round public market predates the revitalization committee’s work, according to Barb Haynes, executive director of the Downtown Penticton Association and co-chair of the revite committee.

“Cal (Meiklejohn) and I were drawing on napkins about three years ago, looking at how many ways we could do this in different spots. The bus barn, that wasn’t a thought at the time,” said Haynes. The idea of using the bus barn, she said, came out of a conversation with Mayor Dan Ashton.

Haynes said the downtown is lacking in grocery, but considering the number of grocery stores in the city, it wouldn’t make sense for one of the chains to open another in downtown. But a public market, something that is already successful on Saturday mornings, could address the issue.

“The concept is a Granville Island-style market. That is what we are looking to create; it would provide unique grocery opportunities right here in the downtown. The market won’t be somewhere that you can buy your toilet paper or kitty litter, you are going to have to go elsewhere for that,” she said, adding that it would be, however, a place where people could shop for artisan cheeses, local fruits and produce, fresh herbs and spices, and similar products.

“Think Granville Island, Pike Place Market… some of those. Ours will obviously be on a much smaller scale, but that is the concept behind it, to really create that gathering place, very similar to the Saturday markets,” said Haynes, adding that the year-round market wouldn’t be competing with the farmers’, artisans’ and community markets that take place Saturday mornings from spring through fall.

“It will be open seven days a week but not Saturday mornings to make room for the Saturday market and in particular, the Farmers’ Market,” said Haynes. “The Saturday markets will stay as they are. Our community loves their markets for a lot of reasons, they love to come shop downtown … socialize with their friends, listen to the buskers and the entertainers and that will stay just as it always has and in fact, grow every year”

The DPA has begun fundraising to get the project rolling, asking for a letter of support from the City of Penticton to back their grant application for $160,000 in matching funds from a Western Diversification fund aimed at community infrastructure improvement.

If the DPA bid is successful, the city would need to commit matching funds in order for them to be able to access the funding, which could be used to cover rehabilitation costs for the structure, consulting costs for professionals and technical experts, signage and other direct costs relating to the success of the project.

“It is one of those opportunities that if the DPA doesn’t pursue it, we will never  know. I think we have as good an opportunity as anyone,” said Coun. Judy Sentes, one of council’s representatives on the downtown revitalization select committee.

“The outcome would be phenomenal, to see that bus barn become a year round market.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crystal Johns used her lunch break to film her audition video for the Vancouver Canucks.
VIDEO: Former Vees anthem singer wants to bring her voice to the Canucks

Crystal Johns made her audition tape during a lunch break

The Village of Keremeos is preparing to open up the village to in-province travellers as the province enters Phase 3 of its reopening plan. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
Electric vehicle use continues to rise in Keremeos

August saw 147 vehicles for the peak of the year

Four staff members at the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen were self-isolating on March 19. The regional district is also considering whether to continue keeping its doors open to the public. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Feedback wanted on plan to make West Bench age-friendly

Some 43 per cent of West Bench residents are over the age of 55

The Okanagan Regional Library is holding a pair of online contests for its young readers. (File photo)
Okanagan Regional Library challenges young readers

Pair of contests online aimed at kids aged up to 18

Penticton Real Canadian Superstore
New COVID case at Penticton Superstore

The last day the employee worked was Jan. 21

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

A Dodge Ram pickup similar to this one was involved in a hit-and-run in Lake Country on Saturday, Jan. 16. (Crime Stoppers photo)
Stolen truck involved in Okanagan hit-and-run

Incident happened on Highway 97 in Lake Country just before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Early morning downtown Kelowna dumpster fire deemed suspicious

RCMP and the Kelowna Fire Department will conduct investigations into the cause of the blaze

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Most Read