The Riley Park Farmers Market is a year-round weekly market. It takes place by Vancouver’s Nat Bailey Stadium near Queen Elizabeth Park on Saturdays.
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Riley Park Saturday Market
Formerly called the Nat Bailey Farmers Market, the Riley Park Farmers Market is an old and well-loved market with a new name.
The size of the market size varies by the season. In the summer it’s smaller and takes place at Riley Park. In the winter (from the end of October until late April) it happens at Riley Park as well as in the parking lot at Nat Bailey Stadium.
Riley Park Hours and Location
Riley Park Farmers Market takes place on Saturdays between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. (Note: The first half hour has for the past year or so been reserved for people who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 such as seniors.)
Summer Market Location
The Riley Park Summer Farmers Market happens at Riley Park at 50 East 30th Avenue which is just across the street from Nat Bailey Stadium.
The market runs at its summer location at the park between the beginning of May and the end of October. During the rest of the year (when it’s not the Vancouver Canadians‘ baseball season) it also sets up across the street outside Nat Bailey Stadium.
The 2021 summer market began on May 1st and ran until October 30th. The 2022 summer market runs from April 23rd until October 29th.
Winter Market Location
The Riley Park Market takes place in the winter season in the parking lot of Nat Bailey Stadium at 4601 Ontario Street as well as at Riley Park. The venue is next door to the Hillcrest Recreation Centre and on the other side of West 29th Avenue and Midlothian Avenue from Queen Elizabeth Park.
The market’s winter season ran from November 6th in 2021 until April 23rd in 2022. The next market runs from November 5th in 2022 until March 25th in 2023. In addition to dozens of farmers and artisan vendors, there are usually half a dozen or more food trucks at the event too.
In winter there is free parking in a gravel parking lot just south of the stadium.
What to Expect at the Market
The Riley Park Farmers Market is different in warmer months than it is in colder months.
The Market in Summer
In summer the Riley Farmers Market is smaller, with only between 30 and 35 vendors. It’s still an excellent market, just with better weather and half the size compared to its winter version.
There is no cost to enter the market as a shopper and prices are reasonable for a farmers market. Prices aren’t cheap, but the quality is high, the products are fresh, the atmosphere is friendly, and money spent supports local farmers and stays in the local economy.
The Market in Winter
The winter market at Nat Bailey Stadium is huge. Every Saturday from November until April it has at least 5 dozen vendors, but usually more.
The winter version of the Riley Park Farmers Market is the largest winter market in the region with vendors selling everything from organic meat to home-baked goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, homemade preserves, honey, handmade candles and even wines and craft-distilled spirits.
During the winter season the market is impressive. Even in the colder months there is always fresh produce.
The Riley Park Farmers Market is more of a farmers market than an artisan market compared to many other markets. Most vendors sell some kind of food product, although not just fruits and vegetables. There are usually also vendors selling arts and crafts, but a smaller percent of total vendors than some other markets. The range of products for sale though is huge.
At the Riley Farmers Market in winter you can expect 70 or so vendors on average and hundreds of shoppers at any given time. You can also expect at least one musician providing background entertainment. Often there is actually someone performing at one end of the main row of vendors and another musician at the other.
Riley Park Farmers Market Video
To give you a good idea of what to expect at the market, check out the video below. It’s of the winter market and includes scenes of vendors in both the parking lot of Nat Bailey Stadium and Riley Park.
The video begins along Ontario Street. In the video you’ll see a band performing, produce at a couple of different farm vendor stalls and people wandering around and shopping. The video ends with a scene of the market at Riley Park.
As you’ll see in the video, most of the vendors in winter set up by Nat Bailey Stadium. Only a small number are in Riley Park in winter. Far more though are there in the spring, summer and fall.
There is always live music at the market. The band playing in the video are The Duo Twangs.
Market Tips and Advice
Below are some tips and bits of information to help you make the most out of your visit to the Riley Park Farmers Market.
TIP #1: If you like fresh produce, enjoy farmers markets or have never been to one, go! The Nat Bailey/Riley Park Farmers Market is a fabulous one, especially in winter.
TIP #2: Consider combining your trip with a visit to other places close by. The Hillcrest Recreation Centre is a great facility with a skating rink in the winter and an indoor swimming pool year-round. Queen Elizabeth Park is also a beautiful place for picnics, as well as strolls through its gardens or rounds of pitch and putt golf.
TIP #3: Go with an appetite! You can buy lunch while you’re there.
TIP #4: Don’t forget to take your own reusable shopping bags.
TIP #5: If it’s not too busy, chat with the vendors. Learn about their products and listen to their stories.
TIP #6: All vendors accept cash, of course, and some but not all accept credit card payments as well. For a small fee, the market also offers debit card services where you can make a debit card withdrawal at a central location and then spend the money at the market.
Riley Park History
The Riley Park Farmers Market launched in 2017. It ran initially as a small summer market with 30 or so vendors on Saturdays from late June until late October that year. The Nat Bailey Winter Market has been running for years. In 2018 the two markets became one under the Riley Park Farmers Market name.
From Nat Bailey to Riley Park
Everyone in Vancouver who loves fresh produce, buying local and supporting area farmers knows about the Nat Bailey Farmers Market. It has been British Columbia’s largest winter farmers market for years.
Located at 4601 Ontario Street in the parking lot of Vancouver’s professional league baseball stadium of the same name, the Nat Bailey Farmers Market’s season has always been from early November until late April. It was a winter market.
Unlike its Nat Bailey predecessor, as of 2018, the Riley Park market runs all year. In fact, in the late spring of 2018, when the Nat Bailey Farmers Market officially ended for the season, the Riley Park Farmers Market started up in its place. It will now continue going, replacing its predecessor in the fall, but primarily just in name.
In short, since 2018, Riley Park is the new Nat Bailey market!
Check out any of the following for a list of other markets in the Lower Mainland:
- Wednesday Farmers Markets: Main Street, Surrey and Whistler.
- Thursday Farmers Markets: New Westminster and Granville Island.
- Friday Farmers Markets: North Vancouver’s Shipyard Night Market.
- Saturday Farmers Markets: Abbotsford, Burnaby, Fort Langley, Maple Ridge, Squamish, Trout Lake and the West End.
- Sunday Farmers Markets: Ambleside, Coquitlam, Kitsilano, Ladner, Mt. Pleasant, Steveston Village, White Rock and Whistler.
- Lower Mainland Winter Markets: for a comprehensive list of most major winter farmers markets in the region.