The Stockyard Farmers’ Market, now known as the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market dates back to 1952.
Formerly located on Victoria Street North in Kitchener, the ‘Stockyard Farmers’ Market’ was operated alongside the Kitchener Stock Yards.
Abner Martin – one of the owners of the Kitchener Stock Yards – recalls having approximately 25 – 30 vendors at the market.
In 1975, the Kitchener and Waterloo Stock Yards merged and moved to the present site. The Stockyard Farmers’ Market decided to open its doors on Saturdays in the mid 1980’s, however this was a slow process for the first couple of years.
In 1987, Ross and Milo Shantz facilitated the construction of the 2-level Farmers’ Market Building. The main floor was designed as a food fair, while the mezzanine level housed arts and crafts vendors. After the grand opening of this building in September, the Stockyard Farmers’ Market experienced tremendous growth.
Late 80’s-Early 90’s
The Peddlers Village building was renovated in 1988 and 1989 to house even more craft and flea market stalls which resulted in the building being doubled in size. With each addition, more vendors were admitted to the Market to sell their products, and the Market again experienced wonderful growth. From horse barn to flea market, the Peddlers Village has seen thousands of visitors during its history.
In July 1991, the name of the market was changed to the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market & Flea Market. The Tuesday market was also added at this time, running from June to Thanksgiving.
The St. Jacobs Outlet Mall opened in 1994.
On the west side of Weber street, the Waterloo Farmers’ Market was purchased and renovated by Mercedes Corporation in April 2000.
In April 2005, the Sunday Market (now known as Market Road Antiques) opened its doors, and was home to an additional 200 inside vendor booths and 140 outdoor booths.
After 3 years of operation, it was decided that the building would be converted to Market Road Antiques, and was re-opened under the new name in April 2009 after extensive renovations. The building currently houses over 100 antique and vintage dealers and is a major part of the St. Jacobs Market District.
On the morning of September 2nd 2013, the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market was devastated by a fire that destroyed the 2-level market building. Thankfully, no people, livestock, or any other buildings were harmed – however this displaced all the vendors inside for several months. People from around the region, both employees of the market as well as market-goers, aided the displaced vendors after the fire. The Kitchener-Waterloo Community Foundation (KWCF) launched the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market Vendor Relief Fund to help vendors affected by the fire. Thanks to an outpouring of support from the community, as well as the determined efforts of Mercedes Corp., Market Managers, the Township of Woolwich and countless hours from dedicated local tradespeople, a replacement structure was erected just months later in December 2013, and vendors were back in business.
Although it was originally constructed as a temporary measure, the Market Tent was preserved and remains an essential part of the market, now home to about 50 vendors.
In June 2015, the new two-story Market Building was completed with a grand opening in September 2015, on the 2-year anniversary of the fire. More than 100 people attended the grand opening, and with a shiny new sprinkler system, the Market Building was upgraded and ready for business.
In May 2016, a fire struck the market for the second time, this time in Peddlers Village. The fire did not cause as much damage; however, the building was closed for approximately three months, at which time upgrades to structure, safety and lighting were completed. Now, the building is an even brighter and more inviting environment than ever for shoppers and vendors alike.
From one local family to another, the Shantz family (which owns Mercedes Corp.) and more than 40 independent shareholders sold the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market and three nearby properties to the Schlegel family’s Schlegel Urban Developments in 2017. This included the Farmers’ Market, Market Road Antiques, the St. Jacobs Outlets, and the TSC store (now Peavey Mart) property .
Feeling as though the St. Jacobs Market District needed new vision and energy, the Shantz family were happy to pass the torch to someone who is local, known to the community, and who respects the long history of the local gem that is the Farmers’ Market. Nothing was to change at the market in the short term, but the properties together in the Market District have huge potential – for vendors and the community alike.
In April of 2021, the Schlegel family announced their partnership with another local family, the Hubers, owners of Ignite Group of Brands, to reimagine and revitalize the St. Jacobs Market district by introducing a coffee house, brew pub and restaurant at the site of the St. Jacobs Outlet Mall.
Stockyards Beverage Co., formerly Red Circle Brewing, located at Catalyst137 in Kitchener, will move into the renovated structure.
In addition to the brewery and coffee roaster, the building will house 70,000 square feet of event space.
Opening is currently scheduled for late 2023.