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Fifteen years ago I wrote a column for the "Londoner" newspaper to tell the people that we were going to have a new farmerís market at the Western Fair complex on Kingís St.

Wim Overbeek met me at my farm to tell me of his hopes and dreams of creating a warm welcoming place for all to shop starting on Saturday Dec 2/03. There would be a wide assortment of butchers, fish mongers, bakers, flower vendors, fresh eggs and fresh vegetables to choose from.

The market has been a great success attracting people from London and area to shop. Wimís dreams have been realized.

My wife, Ella and I looked forward to Saturday mornings to go to the market to go shopping and enjoy a cup of hot tea and a muffin before we went to Or Shalom Synagogue to pray.

The smiling young women from Country Style Meats ,with their prayer hair covering bonnets, greeted us from behind the counter to help us choose our poultry for the week. A delicious breakfast from the Farmerís Kitchen prepared with care by Wynís sister-in-law, Joanne, delivered right to your table by one of her 40 grandchildren was a welcome start to the day. Annie the jovial manager of Grandmotherís Oven Bakery & Cakes taught us that her mouth watering pastry was low calorie as long as we chewed and did not swallow.

It has all changed. A letter/e mail to the vendors from the management on June 22/18. "October 2018- The Market will open as a week-end market with hours on both Saturday and Sunday each week" There is no choice vendors have to agree to be open for business on Sunday or they can not renew their monthly leases.

Many of the vendors who are Mennonites/Christians had to choose between their religious beliefs or to work on their Sabbath which is Sunday. With no viable alternative the vast majority have decided not to renew their leases from the market. For many the revenue was a major source of their family income for the past 15 years.

I suspect Wim, a devout Christian, with a strong moral compass, will shed a tear when he sees that many of his original tenants will no longer be in attendance at the market.

The new world of commerce has no boundaries: twenty- four-hour day, seven days a week. If the Western Fair Board Administration is not flexible, "my way or the highway" business model I suspect that Wimís dreams will quickly disappear.

In time the number of shoppers will dwindle to a trickle and the market will close to make way for a parking lot, casino/ hotel. The warm Mennonite, Christian welcoming ambiance will sadly disappear.

Len Lesser is an education/career counselor in Dorchester, Ont.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com