Night markets are a cultural staple in Asian countries, and it’s become a popular trend across Canada for their ability to bring communities together for leisurely summer strolls among local vendors.
Ian McAnerin is hoping to foster that community spirit with Night Market North – a bi-weekly outdoor market held in the Vivo parking lot that combines flavours of Asian night markets with the familiar farmers’ market model – bringing in vendors from non-profits to jewelry-makers and food vendors.
“Northern Calgary is a highly under-served area,” he says. “We don’t have a lot of infrastructure or community events going on. If you want to see something, you’d often have to leave our area of town to do it.”
McAnerin also thought the market would be a great way for neighbours to get to know each other and the businesses in their community — such as Shahba Shawarma, a food truck started by a family of Syrian refugees who fled to Canada in 2016.
When McAnerin initially reached out to the family, they’d had trouble filling out the vendor form due to the language barrier. To solve this issue, McAnerin reached out to Facebook, where users stepped in to help Shahba Shawarma complete the application process. The food truck has become a massive hit at the event.
“It was beautiful to see the community step up like that,” he says. “Helping these refugees that came to Canada to make a new life for themselves.”
Night Market North will continue to run through the summer, with markets on July 6, July 13, July 20, August 10 and August 24 from 5-9 p.m.
McAnerin hopes the series will help Calgarians shake off the long winter we survived to enjoy an evening out with their family, enjoying delicious food and perusing the 75 “cool booths” they’ve laid out – with plans to bring it back every year, making it bigger and better than the last.