In October 1841 the newly formed Stratford Agricultural Society held their first fair. In 1855 Stratford purchased property where city hall is located today. Terms of that sale required the town to establish a market building and market on that site. And so in 1857 Stratford’s original city hall was constructed with its main floor dedicated to market stalls and shops, while the second floor contained city departments, council chamber and a concert hall.
When that building burned down, in 1897, city council decided against including a market as part of the new (present) building. The square behind city hall continued to be used as a farmer’s market into the early 1900s.
Previously, in 1876, the Stratford Agricultural Society had bought the Old Fair Grounds off Britannia Street, sold it a number of years later, and re-purchased it in 1911. The farmers’ market moved to the fair grounds, occupying rented space until 1965 when the Agricultural Society built the Coliseum. With construction of the Agriplex on McCarthy Road, the market moved there. Today the Sunday Slow Food Market occupies the site of Stratford’s original market, behind City Hall.
(Text by Carole Huband)