Definitely a summer of exciting new openings and happenings downtown and none were bigger than welcoming the Global Market on Rosser Avenue.
Like many new entities whether business or non-profit, they usually meet with some struggles, a sprinter, trying to stay in the race. Size restrictions, scheduling issues, advertising and exposure opportunities are all hills for a new business to eclipse and the Global Market, although supported by various agencies in the community, I’m sure it was subject to the same level of growing pains.
I wanted to take a moment though and point out some of the positives an entity like this brings to our community and what the future could hold for the market in the years to come.
The CMHA has taken on the project and administration this past year, a fact I’m sure has made for some lean times as far as staffing and planning, all while trying to maintain its current operations as an important player in the well-being of the community. Moving forward though I can see they are going to need some help to allow the opportunities at the market to grow and flourish in 2013.
Whether financial or commitment as vendors, entertainment, administration or the like, it is going to need a boost to see the potential realized.
For anyone who happens upon our city as a first-time visitor or a resident long removed from the city, knows Brandon has changed. Languages and cultures once only heard or seen through world travel are now common fare in most any establishment and on every corner.
Events like the Lieutenant Governor’s Winter Festival have filled the need to showcase the diverse range of cultures that now call Brandon home. But one weekend once a year seems not to be enough. I’m not detracting from the event in any way and kudos to the organizers as we know Brandon puts on quite a show with the festival. Relatively speaking though, it is a flash of light and then it is gone.
Groups and various ethnic communities have long sought more permanent showcases for their culture, diversity and enterprise to recognize the community we have become.
In my opinion, with the institution of locales like the Brandon’s Global Market and events such as Culture Days and the aforementioned winter festival, we have inched far closer to realizing that goal.
Having spent some Saturdays and the odd evening down at the market this past summer, it was amazing to see the melding of food, family, artisans, music and entrepreneurship all under the brightly coloured rooftops. Already established events like Downtown Cruise nights aided the foot traffic and the weather was co-operative to allow vendors to make the most of their nights on Rosser. I think that is when the market was at its very best, people melding with music, food and celebration, a beautiful sight to see and an opportunity we should not take for granted. This is a great community and places like the Global Market allow us to be close to that community, to feel the heartbeat, to know what makes a neighbourhood tick.
As the fall sets in now though, we must look with a bit of anticipation for what is to come next. The ball has been firmly placed in our court, Brandon, for next year to grow the idea.
As residents, we are fortunate to have a diverse array of culture waiting right outside our door. For a community that has often been criticized for not doing enough, in this project I feel the team in place has hit it right and I look forward to climbing out of our soon-tobe wintery hibernation to spend some warm summer evenings at the market in 2013.
We have been presented with a unique opportunity here and what an opportunity for us to take another step toward making Brandon a destination where the world can be seen.
» Shaun Cameron is a lifelong Brandon resident. He has dabbled in politics and is now chair of Renaissance Brandon, the city’s downtown development corporation. His column appears regularly.