Shoppers pack Lansdowne for 613flea on Saturday
OTTAWA -- A steady flow of foot traffic made its way through Lansdowne Park to the soundtrack of live music and to the sights of the 613flea market.
"I’m looking around and maybe I have to buy,” said one shopper.
In its fifth event this year, the local labour of love featuring one-of-a-kind items is enjoying a late boost in buyers attributed to summer-like weather in September and rising vaccination numbers.
"At one point, we actually saw a decrease of people just because of what was happening, so to see some sense of normalcy is pretty amazing," said Johnnel Francis, co-owner of Clarendon Trading Co. and one of the vendors at the market.
He noticed as the number of people rolling up their sleeves rose, shifting to was their behaviour with in-person shopping.
"It gives us the opportunity for monetary success, to be able to interact with a large amount of people instead of going to events where people aren’t as comfortable due to the pandemic,” said Francis.
Five hundred people are allowed into the marketplace at a time with volunteers monitoring the numbers and ensuring masks are being worn upon entry.
While the province’s latest measures have allowed an increased capacity for some venues, it currently does not affect the outdoor market.
However, those rules could come into play in November— should the market move back inside the Aberdeen Pavilion.
"We did an event in November 2020 but we could only have 50 people in the Aberdeen at a time so we're thrilled to be able to move back inside in a safe way," said Catherine Knoll, market manager of 613flea.
"Once we move back inside the pavilion we will need to check vaccine passports and there will be capacity numbers that apply to us."
Vendors and shoppers so far are staying optimistic ahead of the move indoors slated for Oct. 9.
"It’s a beautiful day, I love the market, I’m glad it’s open. I feel safe with the mask on,” said shopper Valarie Campbell. "I feel a little more safe knowing people are double vaccinated now, some people aren’t but if we are masked up and keeping our distance then we feel safe.”