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Night market to return to Sidney’s Beacon Avenue

Organizer of the existing Thursday market at Mary Winspear Centre says the Beacon Avenue event would be "direct competition."
A file photo of the Sidney market, taken when it was held on Beacon Avenue, pre-pandemic. TIMES COLONIST FILE PHOTO

The Town of Sidney hopes to bring its Thursday Night ­Market back to Beacon Avenue this ­summer, but it could be run by someone new.

The town plans to post a request for proposals next week to find a contractor to organize the market on its main drag.

The market, which did not run in 2020 due to the pandemic and moved to the Mary Winspear Centre parking lot for the past two years, has been organized by Laurie McDermid and Darren Westwood of Westcoast Impressions since 2012.

“It’s been greatly missed. The community’s been reaching out to see it come back to the main street and council has expressed the desire to see that happen this year,” said Sidney Mayor McNeil-Smith.

McNeil-Smith said under the council’s memorandum of understanding with McDermid’s company, the market was to be held on Sidney’s main street. For the past two years, they “gave permission for it not to be held” there and left it to McDermid and Westwood to make other arrangements.

They did, signing a deal with the Mary Winspear Centre for a market in the centre’s parking lot. And it appears they intend to keep it going. “We will continue to operate our Sidney Outdoor Market events at this fabulous location,” McDermid said in an email to the Times Colonist.

McDermid said the town’s plans for a Thursday night market will be in direct competition with Westcoast Impressions.

“This has nothing to do with us, other than the sad fact that [the Town of Sidney] would definitely be promoting direct competition to a small business already offering a well-established and advertised Thursday Night Market event in Sidney,” she said.

The night street market on Beacon Avenue typically saw between 3,000 and 5,000 visitors every Thursday night between June and September.

The request for proposals will be open until mid-February.

McNeil-Smith said the town hopes to award a contract as soon as possible.

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