The Riley Park Farmers Market is a weekly market that takes place at Vancouver’s Nat Bailey Stadium near Queen Elizabeth Park on Saturdays.
The market runs at its summer location from April 28, 2018, until October 27, 2018.
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 Riley Park Farmers Market actually launched in 2017 and ran as a small summer market with 30 or so vendors on Saturdays between 10 am and 2 pm from late June until late October. In 2018 the market continues for its second year, but with a longer-running format.
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.
The Riley Park Farmers Market is Vancouver’s newest market.
Unlikely 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 ends for the season, the Riley Park Farmers Market starts up in its place. It will then continue going, replacing its predecessor in the fall, but primarily just in name.
The size of the market size varies by the season though, and its location shifts to the park across the street in the summer and then back to the Nat Bailey parking lot in winter during the non-professional-baseball season.
In short, as of 2018, Riley Park is the new Nat Bailey market!
Riley Park Hours and Location
The same as the Nat Bailey Farmers Market, the Riley Park Farmers Market takes place on Saturdays between 10 am and 2 pm.
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. 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.
Across the street from the baseball stadium, on the other side of Ontario Street, is a fairly newly renovated green space called Riley Park – which is the reason behind the new market’s name.
Summer Market Location
In 2017 the Riley Park Summer Farmers Market took place at Riley Park at 50 East 30th Avenue. In early 2018, the Nat Bailey/Riley Park winter-version of the market takes place in the parking lot of the stadium.
In warmer months, however, during the Vancouver Canadians‘ baseball season, the market moves back across the street to Riley Park where its maximum capacity drops to just 30 to 35 vendors because of space restrictions.
What to Expect at the Market
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.
It’s 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. It’s more of a farmers market than an artisan market though – with most vendors selling some kind of food product, although not just fruits and vegetables. There are vendors selling art and crafts, but less so 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, hundreds of shoppers at any given time and 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.
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.
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 small entrepreneurs and stays in the local economy.
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 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 and buy your 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.
For a list of other markets in the Lower Mainland, check out any of the following:
- Wednesday Farmers Markets: Main Street, Surrey and Whistler.
- Thursday Farmers Markets: New Westminster, Granville Island and Downtown.
- Friday Farmers Markets: the Mercato Italian Market (once a month) and 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.
For a list of other activities to do in the Lower Mainland, check out Vancouver’s Monthly Calendar or click Festivals & Events.