Artists impressions will be coming to life at the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets from this week as construction gets underway on a multi-million-dollar redevelopment.
The market has offered food grown in the Canberra region since 1976 but is preparing to morph into the new Capital Food Market from 2023.
In the meantime, the markets will relocate to an old Petbarn warehouse behind the existing building and take the name ‘Belco Market Shed’.
All traders will be closed from 9 to 13 February while they move to their new temporary home before re-opening in the Shed on Wednesday, 16 February, for normal trading hours.
Director Christopher Young says the Shed will become the temporary new home for their traders while the new Capital Food Market is built.
Last week, as part of those works, Belconnen bid farewell to one of its icons, The Mushroom.
The Mushroom and children’s playground was built in 1998. It has amused and entertained generations of kids who have visited the market with their parents ever since.
Mr Young said kids have loved climbing up the Mushroom’s stalk, spying on their friends through the triangular windows and going down the slides, but that it now was harvest time for The Mushroom.
“Unfortunately, management had to close the playground earlier last year because of COVID-19 regulations, and because we were aware the playground did not meet new Australian standards for playground safety.”
The removal of The Mushroom was also a component of the new market’s development approval.
Mr Young said it was originally supported by the Australian Cancer Council, “which is still at the markets most weeks, running stalls and raising money”.
“A new playground and garden area will be a part of the new Capital Food Market redevelopment and we are excited for the next chapter of kids that will visit with their parents and continue to have fun as a part of the Market experience.”
The new Capital Food Market will be a gastronomical hub where Canberrans and visitors alike can experience traditional cuisine from around the world and connect with local producers and artisans when it opens in the first quarter of 2023.
Food and beverage consultant Anthony Huckstep says it will be akin to markets seen in Europe such as the Borough Market in London, Barcelona’s La Boqueria and Torvehallerne in Copenhagen.
He says bespoke artisans of the region are at the core of these community markets where people gather to eat, drink and connect.
“They’re hubs of the community as much as they are destinations for those visiting the city,” he said.
“If you live in Canberra, the Capital Food Market will be your go-to for food, whether fresh or dining, but as a visitor to Canberra, it will be a must-visit for entertainment and dining.”
Visit the Belco Market Shed for more information.