St. Mary’s Hall in Summerside open on Saturdays and Sundays
by Peggy Miles
Summerside has a new venue for the community’s creative sector to showcase its handiwork. Known as the Artisan Market, it takes place every Saturday and Sunday afternoon from 1–4 pm at St. Mary’s Hall in Summerside.
The Summer Street hall is known to locals as the setting for children’s dance lessons, an Election Day poling station and a gathering place for church functions. As you enter, you detect a distinct scent not uncommon in these types of older historic buildings…it’s comforting. A whiff of history welcomes you as you walk down the short hallway into the main auditorium.
Constructed in 1927, the white wood framed church hall is located immediately north of the brick St. Mary’s Anglican Church. The gable roof and diminutive round window above the front door are visually pleasing.
Susan Gower is one of the organizers of the new market. She’s also active with St. Mary’s Church, the parish that owns and operates the hall. Gower expresses that having the Artisan Market as a tenant of the hall helps the church to sustain the 85 year old building as an important space for community functions. Along with Gower, local artisans Penny Hebert and Ruth Sudsbury have been key in getting the market off the ground. After successfully hosting a Christmas craft fair at the hall in 2011, the group decided to begin regular operations in June of this year.
Roughly ten vendors offer their goods each week including a children’s writer, jewellery makers and paper craft artists. The community venture also offers baked goods, preserves, children’s clothing and other handiwork. A fundraising table and coffee club are further initiatives.
The group expresses itself as a union of like minded individuals with a passion for creating. “We needed somewhere for our talented people to sell their wares” says Gower. In addition she shares that participating artisans practice their networking skills on market days, sharing ideas and materials. “There’s lots of swapping going on” she smiles.
One of the messages organizers want to communicate is the availability of space for new vendors. Gower describes the atmosphere as “very friendly” and a place where crafters and artisans can feel at home. She welcomes inquiries from individuals interested in showcasing their craft commodities.
Organizers are pleased to see repeat customers entering the doors of the hall each week. The feedback from patrons indicates their appreciation for the cross section and variety of items. In addition to their regular operations, the vendors plan to have extended hours during the holidays on December 8 and 9.
For those interested in participating as a market vendor, contact Susan Gower at (902) 315-2866. The public is invited to join the Facebook page: St. Mary’s Artisan Market.