The market was located in University Square across of FSS. Photo: Parker Townes.

Locally powered market arrives at University Square for inaugural event

On Friday, Sept. 21, Market U landed on University of Ottawa’s campus. Powered by Catherine Landry from Call Betty, an Ottawa-based marketing and event planning firm, the event brought together over 30 local vendors selling everything from fresh baked goods to skin care products.

In an interview with the Fulcrum, Landry said she conceptualized the idea for Market U when considering the vulnerable state of students when they first arrive at university.

“I was always wondering how students come to the university and about how difficult it is to get and find things when they come.”

From there, she came up with her solution—bring everything directly to the students.

By assembling an “eclectic mix of some of Ottawa’s best local businesses,” Landry said she expects the market will promote connections between students and the local community. Market U also provided two free yoga classes and a workshop on the “hidden hot spots for special food diets” in Ottawa.

Hannah Séguin, a second-year student at the U of O, said to the Fulcrum, “it was nice to have things brought here at student-friendly prices.”

After developing the idea, Landry pitched it to the university. She said, “it took a bit of convincing,” but once the U of O gave its support, all effort was put towards finding local vendors. She called this process, “like picking out the best diamonds.” After getting 30 businesses on board, Landry turned to marketing and fostering the essence of the event.

Landry says while the event focuses on connecting students with local businesses, “the influence is very global, it was very important that we have diversity and global representation.”

Miryame El Gueribi, owner of the bakery, Cupcakes by Miryame, told the Fulcrum she wasn’t sure how to reach out to students but Market U provided her with the opportunity to “meet the students in Ottawa.”

Landry mentioned ketogenic meals inspired by Africa and the Caribbean from Exo Gourmet, Henna tattoos from Designs by Mumtaz, a U of O graduate, and Ondarez, an Indigenous coffee and culture business, as just some examples of vendors who embody this spirit.

Dawn Evans, co-founder of Eleven Love, said she came out today because, “Catherine said that what we bring can help students because a lot of our products are energy based—things that uplift, bring balance, and are joyful … it’s good to be part of something new.”

The U of O was chosen to host the first Market U because Landry views the campus as a “great university with a central location that is business oriented.” However, looking to the future, she is planning a holiday-themed market next and hopes Market U will be adopted at other universities.

Landry says she has already been contacted by interested parties hoping to replicate the event, including a university in Australia.

“I’m hoping all the Market U’s will create their own genre for what’s fresh where they are.”

Landry said the event can be wrapped up in one statement.

“It’s all about enhancing the student lifestyle.”