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Owner feeling 'surreal' as unique urban market opens in Thunder Bay,

Nov 14, 2021 10:35AM ● By Editor
Goods & Co. Market opened on Red River Road in Thunder Bay, Ont. earlier in November. Photo: Chondon Photography

From CBC News · November 13, 2021 

If the initial response to the Goods & Co. Market in Thunder Bay, Ont., is any indication, the future is looking bright for the future for the long-empty Eaton's building in the city's north core.

A line around the block full of eager shoppers greeted Maelyn Hurley when she first opened the doors of her new business. 

Hurley, the local entrepreneur behind the long gestating project, said people of "all walks of life" came out for the opening of the space at the beginning of November. 

"A couple of people were in tears that it was coming, you know, coming back to life, it's been really crazy," said Hurley.

She said some of the city's older population were in attendance to see the revitalization, many of whom remembered the original Eaton's shopping centre.

Leaning into the future 

Aesthetically speaking, Hurley said it was important to lean into the future while still paying tribute to the past.

"Anything that was iconic to Eaton's or that was really good about the building, I wanted to restore. But I also wanted to bring this fresh, modern, really just simple Nordic vibe as well to the space," she said. 

With 35 to 40 permanent vendor spaces, a common area and a variety of different products ranging from food to handmade items, the 20,000 square feet of market space has been put to use in all sorts of interesting ways.

The pinnacle of the market, in Hurley's eyes, is the "Woodside Bar", where thirsty shoppers can grab a signature cocktail or some delicious local fare.

"The Woodside Bar on the corner, is definitely the highlight, I think, for a lot of people in this space. We opened up the display case windows and made it so that people could actually see fully into the market space from the street," said Hurley.

'A good blend'

Another highlight of the market is the Co. Lab Art Gallery, currently showcasing an exhibition organized by The Solidarity Collective.

An onlooker admires a painting at The Co. Lab Art Gallery in The Goods & Co. Market Photo: Chondon Photography

"We have about 20 BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, people of colour] artists in this exhibition, all working in different mediums," explained Lara Northway, the director of the space. 

"So some really large, colourful canvases and some screen printing, some felt work, some actual regalia and beadwork. It's a good blend."

Northway said they wanted to open the space with a show that reflects the goals and the "heart" of the space.

Currently the Goods & Co Market is open Wednesday to Sunday, but that's something that could change if there's an appetite for more, said Hurley.

To listen to an audio interview associated with this report and see related arts reporting, follow this link to the CBC Thunder Bay website.

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