“Here, try this,” was a familiar refrain heard during my visit to Montreal’s Jean-Talon Market. Vendors smiled widely and extended their arms to offer taste-tests of plump Peruvian figs, crisp Lobo apples, hunks of decadent Gruyère cheese, slices of juicy oranges and the promise of “The best tasting mangoes in the world.” They tasted as promised.
The market was opened to the public in 1933 and is the largest open-air market in North America. During the peak summer period, between May and October, its open-air stalls are occupied by about 300 vendors, mostly farmers from Montreal’s countryside. The market is open year-round and walls are placed around the central section of the market to keep Montreal’s brutally cold winters at bay.