Stouffville Country Market offers unique shopping experience…By Chris Shanahan

Stouffville Country Market offers unique shopping experience…By Chris Shanahan

By Chris Shanahan

It’s 62 years and counting for one of York Region’s most unique and popular shopping and tourism destinations. Standing out amongst a proliferation of regional strip malls, plazas and big-box stores is the Stouffville Country Market, one of Ontario’s largest original flea markets.

cfmWhat began in 1952 as a rural livestock auction barn and stockyard has evolved into a multi-faceted and contemporary marketplace with oodles of indoor and outdoor vendors offering everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to specialty meats, home-baked bread, honey, bedding plants, antiques and collectibles.

As someone who has been a regular visitor to this attraction since the late ‘70s, I highly recommend a trip to Stouffville’s 10th Line North to check it out. Include the whole family on your outing as there are great browsing and dining opportunities for those of all ages. A car show and other special spring and summer events compliment the buying experience, and there’s a nice café and expansive food court for when it’s time to take a break from your bargain-hunting exploits. All in all, it has the makings of a fun and adventurous day trip, and you don’t even have to leave the region!

After a three-month winter hiatus, the market is back in business every Saturday and Sunday through to the end of 2014. And for those early risers, a one-of-a-kind livestock market there offers a great selection of chickens, ducks, quail, rabbits and other small animals every Saturday starting at 5 a.m. As soon as the weather warms up, an outdoor vending space is packed with entrepreneurs hawking rusty-gold bargains ranging from old bikes and tools to rare coins and assorted knick-knacks.

fmGetting deals and saving big money is a part of this Whitchurch-Stouffville attraction.  But there’s much more to it than that; many visitors having described it as taking a step back in time to a simpler era where farmers would bring their produce to market each week. There’s a certain distinct country flavour as you wander through the cavernous barn structures and adjoining hallways. The smells, sounds and sites definitely brand it a world apart from a trip to the neighborhood shopping mall or retail chain outlet. And the ability to haggle with and get to know individual sellers – some of whom have been coming to market for more than three decades consecutively – is a big plus.

One of my personal favourite outlets is the candy barn, where you can buy bulk chocolate, jelly babies, wine gums, granola bars, cereal and other assorted goodies; much of it for a buck or less. The deals are amazing! And inside the main barn building, market owner Norm Clements and his staff peddle everything from discounted cosmetics to comfortable footwear and sporting goods.

sfmThis dog-friendly market located at 12555 10th Line welcomes your four-legged friends, so plan to treat the kids and pets to a memorable outing this weekend or next.  For more information, call 905-640-3813 or visit www.stouffvillemarket.com.