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The Bedrock of Quebec’s Produce Trade — Montreal Rocks

Run by the Quebec Produce Growers Association (QPGA), the terminal market is located at the corner of Metropolitan and L’Acadie boulevards—yet there has been much discussion about a potential move in the future. The market is currently based in the Marché Central, a massive retail center that has exploded in growth over the past several years.

Last year, André Plante, general director of the QPGA, said the market had been under pressure to relocate. The landowner, Bentall Kennedy, had completed construction on the first two phases of Marché Central and was eyeing the terminal market’s space when planning the launch of Phase Three. 

Since then, however, there have been no new developments. “We are still looking for land around the market where we could move,” Plante says, explaining that the only offers the market has had are in eastern Montreal, and terminal merchants don’t want to move away from their customers in the western part of the city.

Although the landowner would like to edge out the terminal, the Place des Producteurs still has 40 years remaining on its lease. “Nobody wants to move,” Plante explains. “The problem is we’re worried because the Marché Central is a big shopping center, and it’s going to be very complicated for us to work and deal on the market with all these retail stores around us. But legally, they cannot move us, and we’re going to wait and see what’s going to happen in the future. We want to do the right thing.”

Though some prefer to stay, others like Canadawide Fruit Wholesalers, Inc. have already moved to a new facility near the market. Although Canadawide had eight years remaining on its lease, the wholesaler came to an agreement with the landowner to leave sooner. According to George Pitsikoulis, president and a buyer at Canadawide, the move turned out to be a boon for the company. “It consolidates our operation which used to be fragmented between three different warehouses; now everything is under one roof,” he says.

Sylvain Mayrand, co-president of Global M.J.L. Ltd. says the opportunity to relocate the market came and went two years ago when all of the wholesalers turned it down. “Since then, most of the wholesalers have bought, renewed, or renovated their buildings, so I don’t see [a move] happening in quite a while,” he adds.

Tony Bono, vice president and an owner of Chenail Fruits et Legumes, says he isn’t too concerned about the possible terminal move. “Whether the market is relocated or stays where it is, I don’t believe it will change my business,” he remarked. “I believe my business is what it is because of the service we provide.”

Budding Trends & Opportunities

Quebec produce businesses have noticed a few predominant trends in the past year, including unprecedented growth in greenhouse operations as well as higher demand for organics, locally grown, and ethnic produce.