August 24, 2013 - 8:06 AM
PENTICTON - The city's downtown transforms every Saturday from a collection of retail outlets to a gathering of neighbours.
Supporters hope the communal quality of the Penticton Downtown Market, as well as its size and diversity, will make it stand out in the Great Places in Canada contest, run by the Canadian Institute of Planners.
The City of Penticton and the Downtown Penticton Association nominated the market for the contest and if it receives enough votes by the public it will move up to the finals. Judges will decide which of the finalists are the tops in each of their respective categories which are public spaces, neighbourhoods and streets. The city's market is in the public spaces catetogry and will face off against Vernon's Kalamalka Lake, Red Deer Alberta's the Red Deer Public Market and Ottawa's Rideau Canal.
City spokesperson Simone Blais did not sound surprised city planning staff picked the market for the contest.
"I think it was a natural fit," she said, "by sheer numbers alone there was enough support for the market to gain some traction for the contest."
Since 1991 the market has attracted residents and visitors alike. It has grown from a farmer's market in Gyro Park to a five-block extravaganza that boasts 5,000 visitors every Saturday morning. It is looked after by the association, the Farmer’s Market Association and the Penticton Arts Council.
"It is such a a great place," Blais said. "The community really loves to come together every Saturday morning. It has a great feel with the people there."
Downtown Penticton Association staffer Bev Tiel said "it's the place to be. There is so much activity."
She also said the market's exceptional for allowing pretty much any good or service.
The support for the market has been pouring in. It already has 2,431 votes and dozens of comments. Facebook user Bill Laven called the market "a celebration every Sat. morning." Facebooker Anne Eggert loves it as a chance to sip locally roasted coffee, buy local-grown vegetables and bump "into everyone you know."
Blais said a new vote can be made every hour.
To contact a reporter for this story, to send photos or videos, email Shannon Quesnel at email@example.com, call 250-488-3065, tweet @shannonquesnel1 or @InfoNewsPentict
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013