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It's Our Heritage... Since the 1840's - "Get your Boots to the Roots"

Orillia has one of the longer running outdoor markets in Ontario.  In the early days, there was a busy trade in hay, firewood, chickens, geese, milk and pigs as well as the ever popular farm produce and baked goods that are still the mainstay on our bustling market today.

The following information is taken from "Market Memories" written by Mrs. Ethel (Dunlop) Fagan, a longtime and fondly remembered Orillia Farmers' Market vendor.

  • Previous to 1867, the market square was bounded by the present Tecumseth, Laclie, Canice and Brant streets. 
  • 1867 - Orillia was incorporated as a village and market meetings were held in the Temperance Society Hall on Matchedash Street. 
  • Mr. Goldwin Smith, a former lawyer in Orillia, offered to donate two lots to the rear of Lot 1 on the Cameron survey for a market. With these two lots, and the $1,000 for selling the old market square, the farmers bought Lot 1. 
  • Controversy - the farmers wanted a market with stalls and sheds. The village council wanted a town hall. The council won.  
  • 1884 - Municipal Hall built on West Street. This hall was demolished in the 1960's. 
  • 1885 - a market shed was constructed of wood. 
  • 1887 - a proposal was made to replace the shed with a new structure to become the Orillia Opera House. 
  • 1895 - Completion of the Orillia Opera House and vendors took possession of the market square. 
  • 1910 - Fire damaged the Opera House. 
  • 1917 - Opera House repaired and re-opened.

In recent years the Market has been administered by a Management Committee. Since becoming a department of the City, and self-sustaining at that, the Committee consists of three 'citizen-at-large' representatives - one of which may be from an adjacent municipality -  appointed by City Council from among people who apply, three representatives from among the Market vendors, and one City Council member.

The market is run entirely from stall fees generated from the vendors and does not receive funding from the city.

The following are members of this Committee:

  • Kathy Webb (Chair), Market Vendor 
  • Max Durnford, past chair, City Resident
  • Sarah Valiquette, City Councillor
  • Tom Bouhs, Market Vendor 
  • Scott Wilson, City Resident
  • Mary St. Vincents, Downtown Orillia Management Board (DOMB) 
  • Don Porter, City Resident
  • Paul Gillett, Market Vendor 
  • Mariano Tulipano, Orillia Chamber of Commerce 

Scheduled meetings of the FMMC are every second Thursday of the month.

For further information please visit our Committee Page >>

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