After a long hiatus Hawkers Market is finally returning to Vancouver this fall, but it’s going to be a bit different from the one Vancouverites know and love from a few years ago.
Starting as a small market running out of an East Vancouver warehouse in 2013, Hawkers grew to organize markets in multiple locations in a few different cities during its early stages. After a while, the team decided to find something more permanent for the burgeoning food collective.
That’s when a long-time idea began to come into fruition. Hawkers Wharf, an ambitious project that aimed to create a food hub located on the North Vancouver waterfront was revealed, and people were excited.
This 2.2-acre lot had converted shipping containers as its main structure. It was built and slated to open summer 2016, but things didn’t go exactly as planned.
Chris Jerome, Founder and CEO of the market, told Daily Hive that the decision not to open Hawkers Wharf was an extremely difficult one.
“It was without question the most difficult decision of my life, in making the decision it felt like we were letting down Vancouver and all of the amazing people who were so excited to work on the project and see it come to fruition,” said Jerome.
Ultimately Jerome and the team either had to scale back their vision or forgo a launch entirely.
“Hawkers Wharf would have created a massive change in North Vancouver that ultimately the city was not ready for,” said Jerome.
The former chef and foodie also mentioned New City Market, a Vancouver food hub concept that was prominent around 2011-2012.
“[New City Market] didn’t get built like Hawkers Wharf did but both projects represent a dream to become more food secure in our cities and give better spaces to the people who work tirelessly to make and grow the foods we eat.”
Despite the overwhelming support for Hawkers Wharf, Jerome decided a hiatus was what was best.
Now in summer 2018, Jerome is ready to announce an exciting new chapter for the project.
Vancouverites can expect to see Hawkers back in action during a Vancouver event in the fall. Taking place at Rocky Mountaineer Station (1755 Cottrell Street) on October 20, attendees should be prepared for the beloved market they are familiar with, and then some.
“We are working with a lot of new collaborators in the music, art and design world which will really take the experience to an entirely new level,” says Jerome.
A strong ready-to-eat food and drink program, DJs, alcoholic beverages like beer from 33 Acres, a micro-grocery store, and non-alcoholic bars (think kombucha, coffee) are just a few of the features Jerome mentioned are in the works.
“The food experience will be dramatically improved from Hawkers events of the past,” says Jerome, “We will be working with everyone from small farms, CPG (consumer packaged goods) indie products, chefs, pop-ups, food tech, and some speakers.”
The market will also be shifting to a ticketed and tokenized system where guests will receive a swag bag and tokens upon purchase of a ticket at the event.
Hawkers has some serious love for the city it started in, or as Jerome puts it, “Vancouver is where we cut our teeth and will always be home,” but that doesn’t mean the market isn’t looking at nationwide activation.
Jerome says the market will be organizing an event in Toronto in 2019 and then next in Montreal.
“We want to make Hawkers for Canadians, we want to work with innovative food products and businesses in Canadian cities and make Hawkers the backdrop for those people and businesses,” says Jerome.
More than just a place to grab a week’s worth of groceries or a trendy cronut, Jerome explains Hawkers represents a bigger movement in food culture across the country.
“I think we are at a critical time in food history right now, Canada needs to become more resilient and consumers are demanding traceability and transparency. Large food and agribusiness are struggling with product sales and innovation, yet small independent startups launching food businesses are totally killing it,” says Jerome, “It represents a shift in our food culture that’s been growing for the last several years and Hawkers is here to welcome that.”
We’ll keep you posted on more details regarding the market as they come, but for now, mark October 20 on the calendar and get ready to hawk on come fall.
When: October 20, 2018
Where: Rocky Mountaineer Station – 1755 Cottrell Street, Vancouver
Price: $100 – $120 (tickets are not currently available)
Daily Hive is a proud media sponsor of Hawkers Market.