Annapolis Royal’s Farmers and Traders Market is getting a roof, and a former bus garage just across the street is being refurbished into public washrooms and a retail space.
Federal and provincial funds were announced Tuesday by West Nova MP Colin Fraser and Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil. The $350,000 project is receiving $175,000 from ACOA’s Innovative Communities Fund while Tourism Nova Scotia contributed $110,000 through its Tourism Revitalization and Icons Program. The farm market itself is chipping in $10,000 and the Town of Annapolis Royal is contributing the rest.
“This is one of the largest outdoor farm markets in Atlantic Canada and has become an attraction for both Nova Scotians and for visitors,” McNeil said. “Additional amenities such as an expanded visitor-focused retail space and washrooms will help address a gap in services identified by the Town of Annapolis Royal, and increase the appeal of the market for visitors.”
He said the new space will also provide additional retail opportunities for businesses to offer products that appeal to the higher-spending visitors the province is trying to attract.
“If you’ve been here on market days, you know the kind of energy the market generates in the downtown,” he said. “This investment will help extend the market’s open season through the spring and fall and provide additional space to include more businesses.”
The farm market, which brings in more than 30,000 visitors each year, is a landmark attraction, said Fraser.
“Tourists get to purchase a taste of the rich agricultural and artisanal products that the area is well known for,” he said, adding the funds will help ensure the market continues to flourish and remain a fixture for many years to come.
The design work for the farm market roof is currently being done while the bus garage conversion has already started and will hopefully be finished by June.
“A new permanent roof structure over the farmers market will protect shoppers and vendors from the outdoor elements, leading to fewer cancellations and extending the tourism season,” ACOA said in a media release. “Complete interior and exterior upgrades to a former bus garage will house amenities including a comfort station and an extension of the market.”
It said the changes will provide an enhanced experience to all market-goers and will facilitate continued growth through its strengthened tourist facilities.
“These projects will greatly enhance the experience and quality of life of everyone visiting and living in the Town of Annapolis Royal – proudly the cradle of our nation; and a tourism destination icon worthy of everyone’s bucket list,” said Annapolis Royal Mayor Bill MacDonald in a prepared statement read by Deputy Mayor Pat Power. MacDonald was unable to attend the announcement.
“History, culture and creativity are at the heart of Annapolis Royal, making it a well-loved tourist destination along our iconic Bay of Fundy,” said McNeil. “Today’s infrastructure investment will provide an opportunity for more businesses to participate in the market and enhance the visitor experience.”