On Friday, Sept. 19th, UVic’s long-awaited replacement to Centre Caf, dubbed Mystic Market, officially opened to the public, after being closed since December 2013. Despite remaining closed at the beginning of the semester, organizers say the new food outlet opened on time.
“We were saying that we closed end of December, and we were saying all along ‘Coming Fall 2014’. September 20th is the last day of summer, I think, so we’re actually a day early,” laughed Sarah Dusterbeck, co-ordinator of marketing and communications at University Food Services.
Being on schedule doesn’t make this project any less complicated. “Anytime you have such a large project, there’s so many details that are involved,” said Dusterbeck.
All the recipes and menus were custom-made for UVic by food and beverage manager Heather Seymour. Mystic Market will also have only recycling and composting bins, with a strict “pack it in, pack it out policy” on non-compostable or recyclable items.“We are going to be the first zero-waste facility, so [Seymour] can only source from suppliers where the products, the packaging, everything has to be either recyclable or compostable,” she said.
Both acting Vice President Valerie Kuehne and associate Vice President student affairs Jim Dunsdon were there to cut the ceremonial ribbon, made to look like a garland. Both Kuehne and Dunsdon held a large set of hedge clippers to cut the ribbon, officially announcing the opening of the new cafeteria. The ribbon cutting seemed fitting for the market itself, which takes a lot of its colours and structure from B.C.’s forests.
According to /The Ring/ the Mystic Market name pays homage to Mystic Vale, a protected natural woodland on campus. The visual elements of this new dining area, modelled after the West Coast Trail, include a living wall, a waterfall, and live ferns. Mystic Market will also be the first to support the OneCard as a way of paying for items on campus. While the outlet will accept cash (an ATM is outside), it will not accept debit or credit.
“We’re doing [the OneCard] first with Mystic Market, because they anticipated it was going to be quite busy and to cut down on line ups.” The OneCard is an identification card equipped with simple tap-and-go technology. It’s available to students, staff and alumni and will allow users to receive a five per cent discount on what they buy at the market.
“[UVic is] really trying to push for everyone to use the OneCard on campus.”