Skip to content

ICYMI: New neighbourhood market aims to build north end community

Series of handmade craft and good markets launches in the Waverley Drive neighbourhood, with additional events taking place in May and June

This article was previously published on GuelphToday.

A new, north end market aims to offer a unique social experience for neighbours to connect and build community.

The first Waverley Makers Market made its way to the parking lot beside Waverley Drive Public School last week and featured handmade crafts by local vendors.

Knightswood Clay House, a Guelph-based jewellery small shop, operated by Angus and Christina McLellan, launched the series of handmade craft and good markets in the Waverley Dr. neighbourhood being held on April 11, May 9, June 13, and possibly beyond.

The goal for the first outdoor market is to connect Guelph’s north end neighbourhoods with a variety of local makers and to create events which are fun for customers, successful for vendors and that build community.

“Christina and I, we are makers, so we do a lot of these community markets, but never in our neighbourhood. It's never really had anything like this. We've seen how The Ward market really gives the community a place to go, and so we really wanted to build something like that here,” Angus said.

“We live in this neighbourhood, and the gardener who runs the community garden, is also my father-in-law. So, it just seemed like a really good fit.”

Monthly markets are designed as a fundraiser for the North Riverside Neighbourhood Group, a community organization that delivers a variety of supports and programs for children, youth and their families in Guelph’s north end.

All proceeds from vendor fees are donated to the organization.

Despite a rainy evening, the April 11 market included handmade goods such as pottery, hive products, bath products, hair and fashion accessories, skincare, jewellery, beads, up-cycled fashion, custom printed clothing and home decor.

“Most vendors made it out tonight except for a couple because their products would not do so well in the rain. But we will have another market in May and in June. And then we may continue to have them after that,” Angus said.

“We really just wanted to explore it with this one and see how it goes.”

The aim is to offer something beyond a pop-up marketplace and bring the community together by offering unique learning and entertainment opportunities for youth and adults.

North Riverside Neighbourhood Group support worker Caroline McCullough said the market is a great way to help build community in the neighbourhood.

“I have looked after the neighbourhood group for 27 years. I went to this school, my kids went to this school, all my nieces and nephews went to this school, and I live in the neighbourhood,” McCullough said.

“We have families that deal with mobility issues and so having this in our neighbourhood, they can walk here. Angus and Christina want to give back to the community. Money raised goes back to our programs. It’s a win-win, for the vendors and for us. It’s just nice to have something in our neighbourhood.”

Angus said he has also reached out to other organizations to try to make it more than 'just a market.'

“Maybe there can also be an educational component for kids. I really want this to become something, especially when the weather is nice, a place for something to do and somewhere to shop,” Angus said.

Angus and Christina hope this market series will be a step towards a more connected community.

“It really does bring connection to people, and I think since COVID-19, we’ve done so much shopping inside our houses versus meeting people,” said market vendor, Katie O’Connor, from JK Customs.

“A lot of us started working from home, trying to figure out different things that we are interested in. That happened to me. All of the money raised at the market goes back into the community. So, not only are people spending in their community, but they are giving back to their community too.”

Lead gardener Kenneth Pilgrim, of the North Riverside Neighbourhood Group's community garden, was also on hand to offer tours of the garden and explain how he is preparing the land and plants for a busy growing season.

Food grown in the garden is available to all members of the neighbourhood to enjoy. 

“I’ve been doing this for 18 years. I grow it, and anyone who wants it, can pick it,” Pilgrim said.  "It makes me happy. It keeps me going. I’m 75 and this just makes my heart feel good.”

Angus and Christina hope to create something that is unique for Guelph’s north-end. As frequent market vendors, the couple says they have has seen how some neighbourhood markets have the ability to become community building events that create a real sense of place and identity for people.

“We are not trying to replicate other community markets,” Angus said.

 “We just want to bring something to this neighbourhood and bring everyone together.”


Verified reader

If you would like to apply to become a verified commenter, please fill out this form.

Barbara Latkowski

About the Author: Barbara Latkowski

Barbara graduated with a Masters degree in Journalism from Western University and has covered politics, arts and entertainment, health, education, sports, courts, social justice, and issues that matter to the community
Read more