The Port Dalhousie Supper Markets almost didn’t make it this year, but it’s hard to keep a good thing down. Since 2016, the markets have been run and organized by Silversmith Brewing Company, but this year, there’s a change at the reigns.
This year, Christopher O’Connor, and the non-profit O’Connor Social Initiative have been busy tackling the high waters, ongoing construction projects, and other issues that have threatened the port markets. “There’s no way I’m letting this go,” reflected O’Connor, “I love the supper market personally, as a guest, and part of my vision for the Initiative is to create community impact in a unique fashion.”
O’Connor has deep family roots in Port Dalhousie and has been involved in several projects that centre on the small, robust community. The question he keeps coming back to is: “How do we really dive into the sense of place that is Port Dalhousie? Everyone has a story about Port Dalhousie or a friendly feeling, for me it’s where all my childhood memories are, it’s where my first kiss happened.”
In 2016, O’Connor launched The Port Dalhousie Supply Company, starting off by selling t-shirts out of the back of his truck: “It started with a simple idea; I just wanted something to wear that said port Dalhousie on it, that’s it. I wanted Port Dalhousie to stand as a brand by itself.”
Since then, the Supply Company has entered the craft beer market, teaming up with brewing partner, Kame & Kettle Beer Works in Fonthill. The first two creations, Blondie and Village Wheat, will be available at the supper markets. The Tuesday evening markets will also feature plenty of food and drink options, including Mexican, Indian, BBQ, pizza, specialty coffees, local beers, and local wines. The musical lineup includes local and touring acts, including The Vaudevillian, J.I.N., Tin Roof, and Broken Cadence in July.
According to O’Connor, the markets are engaging and inclusive, which makes them essential to the health of the community and the spirit of Port Dalhousie: “It’s not supposed to be anything fancy, it’s supposed to be a market for the community, whoever you are you can come down and have a good time. It’s a place to sit down and vibe and enjoy music, enjoy the atmosphere and the park setting with all your friends, family, dog, everybody is welcome.”
For the month of July, the markets will be held at Henley Island, due to the high water levels at Lakeside Park. “We’re really laying the groundwork for a long-term community based non-profit centred around the Port Dalhousie Supper Market,” said O’Connor, “I think for this year I need to ask the community to come and support us. Help us celebrate summer and joy and make it a successful year because we want to build on the success of this year for the future. We’re here for the community and we’d love to see you out, we’re ready.”
The Port Dalhousie Supper Markets begin Tuesday, July 9, from 4:30pm until dusk, and run every Tuesday until the end of August. The July markets will be at Henley Island and the August markets will be at Lakeside Park.