Located in the heart of the historic village of Thornhill (founded in 1796) York Farmers Market first opened in the Spring of 1953, on a 10 acre parcel of land fronting on Yonge Street. It was a true farmers market in every sense of the word, set up in a large tent that first summer, surrounded by farmers’ fields and located right next to “Dean’s Feed Store”. It was open only on Saturday mornings from 7:00 a.m. to noon . The Market provided a central location for local farmers to sell their produce, grown on farms all around the Market, and to showcase homemade baked goods, preserves, crafts and a wonderful assortment of fresh, natural delights.
The building, substantially in its current form, was built in the fall of 1953 and within a short time was a huge draw for local customers coming from Thornhill, Richmond Hill and even Toronto which had its own renowned St. Lawrence Market. In its early years the Market served as a social hub for the community, hosting Saturday night dances, Wednesday wrestling matches, antique shows, dog shows and bingo nights to mention but a few. You can still see remnants of the ring and the old fashioned loudspeakers on the ceiling.
As the years passed, the neighbourhood began changing. The farms surrounding the Market disappeared, replaced by commercial stores and businesses on Yonge Street and residential subdivisions with upscale homes and condominiums springing up. But the Market has survived, pretty much intact, for over 60 years. From one morning a week, the Market is now open 4 days a week, Thursday through Sunday, right through the year. A few small additions and a bit of renovating has improved the building itself but the wonderful spirit and family feel of the Market has remained unchanged. Walking through the front doors is a bit like walking though a time warp, transporting you into the middle of the last century. Small town…big heart!
Today, the Market boasts 19 fabulous full time vendors, also hosting weekend vendors in its entry lobby from time to time. Some of our vendors have been at the Market for over 40 years. During the spring and summer months, a huge garden centre springs up in the parking lot which, by the way, offers ample free parking, a real find on Yonge Street.