Griffintown is above and beyond a soaring neighbourhood, revitalized in part thanks to citizen action. Discover the inspiring story of Silvia Spampinato, the creative impulse behind Griffintown Market.
A meeting place
As essential as the town hall, the café and the museum, the market is today one of the last places of sociability capable of counterbalancing our modern world’s hectic pace. A city without a market, is – almost- a city without meetings. Montreal proudly boasts several permanent or ephemeral markets, a central hub for young families, couples and active professionals.
Since last year, on Sunday mornings (and up and running until September 24th), you can now add Griffintown Market to your weekend must-do pit stop. Located at 1470-1500 Ottawa Street in the Gravel Basin Park, the market boasts flowers, spices, meats, microbrewers and more.
Inspired by a local citizen
You may be wondering what makes this market so unique? Well, it’s the initiative of one Griffintown resident: Silvia Spampinato. "It started with personal consideration because at the time, in my opinion, there was a deficiency in the supply of fresh food in the neighbourhood. On the other hand, with the rapid transformation of the neighbourhood and the increase in its number of residents, there was also a lack of community spirit, opportunities for encounters, and opportunities for socialization among residents", she tells us.
If Mrs Spampinato likes to cook, she has long been interested in knowing where her beloved ingredients come from. For many years, she has taken the habit of sourcing directly from local producers. When Mrs Spampinato first arrived in Québec she was taken aback by the distance between individuals and what lies on their plates. "It was not satisfying for me to just go to the supermarket."
To create Griffintown Market, Mrs. Spampinato contacted several organizations, several existing markets and even farmers. She quickly realized that she couldn’t afford to create a market on her own. She decided to use the services of L'Autre Marché to do this. "They take care of everything: materials, gazebos, they know how to get permits from the city, and so on. "Mrs. Spampinato admits very humbly that even though she instigated the relationship with L’Autre Marché, today they are at the helm of every decision.
For the second consecutive year, the neighbourhood’s residents can enjoy the market every Sunday and its fresh products. This year however, a small relocation took place: the market, previously located on Smith Drive was moved to its current location to be closer to the residents. And this year too, it features live music - a nice touch to an already quite lively atmosphere!
Change is possible and easier than you might think
One thing is certain for Mrs Spampinato: "In the creation of the community, the role of the citizen is essential. And it's much easier than you think. There is often a tendency to say that it is the city's role to create public spaces for encounters, but the city cannot do everything."
She also tells us "it costs nothing to try and that very often there is an open ear on the side of the authorities to create opportunities like the market. "And she says the role of the market goes beyond simple grocery shopping. "We are outside and in an environment that promotes contact. We always have an opportunity to exchange with the merchant or a neighbour that passes by. We forge links and the neighbourhood becomes a real neighbourhood not just a set of individuals in condos. "
So take your baskets and see you at the market!