Seattle has Pike Place, Vancouver has the Granville Island Public Market and now Victoria has the Public Market at the Hudson. The Victoria Public Market at the Hudson held it’s grand opening Sept. 14 and 15. Despite my best intentions, it was weeks before I visited, and it is not a place that you should wait to experience.
The Market is located at 1701 Douglas Street and takes up almost the entire bottom floor of the Hudson building. It has an open-concept feel, with cement floors and walls, but the entire market is indoors, keeping shoppers safe from the elements. Winter is coming, and with winter many farmers markets tend to go into hibernation. The Victoria Public Market offers a unique opportunity to buy locally farmed and produced goods year-round despite the weather, which in itself is a reason to use this market.
But then there is a variety of goods and vendors available. It is the perfect place to fill your basket before a picnic in Beacon Hill Park, or gather all the ingredients you’ll need for a delicious dinner. It may also be the best-kept secret food court in Victoria, with most of the food vendors also cooking meals for those wishing to eat at the Market. The store called Roast is hard to pass up for the carnivore, as large pieces of roast meat sit on chopping blocks waiting to be carved into a sandwich or salad, or you can take home some of their sausages and pickled preserves available for sale. For those looking for a more vegetarian-friendly option, Sutra serves up dishes such as curried kale with navy beans or samosas and also sells the Vij’s brand curried mains and side dishes for later enjoyment.
Roast and Sutra are just a few of the vendors; some others include Pie Co., which sells sweet and savory pies, and their peach crumble pie isn’t too sweet and tastes of fresh peaches instead of canned. Olive the Senses offers a large selection of olive oils, truffle oils, and vinegars, which customers may sample to pick their favourite and then fill available bottles with their picks. For those that enjoy free samples, (I know you’re out there), Olive your Senses is just one of the many places that offer them to help you make an informed decision in your purchases.
The Victoria Downtown Farmers’ Market can be found every Wednesday on the back carriageway of the Hudson Building with local farmers selling their produce, and musicians providing entertainment. But, perhaps the greatest thing about the Public Market is the sense of community that they are trying to cultivate. In the middle of the market is the community kitchen, which, according to the market’s website, can be rented 24 hours a day and can be used as a demonstration kitchen or for private cooking classes and also to help non-profits process and preserve produce. I can’t say enough good things about the market. As the first major public market to open in Victoria in over 50 years, it is a welcome addition to the downtown core.
The Victoria Public Market at the Hudson (1701 Douglas St.)
Tuesday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Sunday 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Victoria Downtown Farmers’ Market
Wednesday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.