Monday, September 02, 2013

St. Jacobs Farmers Market Burns. A community rallies.

We woke up to some jarring news this morning: the main building at the St. Jacobs Farmers Market had burned to the ground overnight and was declared a total loss. Damage estimates exceed $1 million, as the 60 vendors who had storefronts in the building scramble to determine their next steps.

The market is a central player in the economy of this delightful community, a jewel that attracts visitors from the entire region and supports the local economy in a way that defies today's big box, superstore-dominated, detached retail landscape. It is difficult to put into words how profoundly this loss is being - and will be - felt.

On the plus side, no one was hurt. Buildings can be replaced, but people can't. And from that perspective, I am hopeful. What looks like an unspeakable tragedy today is already serving as the foundation for an inspiring story of community cohesiveness and gumption. The market has already confirmed it will rebuild, and intends to continue to do business in its other buildings and on its outdoor site. Local media outlets - including 570News Kitchener and CBC Kitchener-Waterloo - are up and running with special coverage that will doubtless allow citizens and leaders alike to begin pulling together their rebuilding plans. 570News host Gary Doyle has summarized his thoughts beautifully here on Facebook.

In other words, this is a hiccup. And a big one. But what comes next will teach us all a number of important lessons about what matters most. And when the building is inevitably rebuilt, that's what we'll carry forward.

Your turn: Thoughts?

1 comment:

Ron J said...

A total shock to read about it this morning. It's a happy place for us, we drive from Peel Region several times a year. The other building, antique markets, the village are all still there but the main building was the heart of it all. Sad to hear, this might take a while.