Used shipping containers will be turned into 'vendor village' on Saint John, N.B., waterfront
The stage is being set for a new development along the Saint John, N.B., waterfront from the team behind the Area 506 music festival, which would see shipping containers repurposed into a permanent vendor village.
The property, owned by the Port of Saint John, is located alongside the Marco Polo cruise ship terminal on Water Street – it was formerly being used as a parking lot – and will soon be the site more than 60 shipping containers.
"The idea is really starting to become a reality," says Area 506 logistics and operations director Darcy Leblanc. "The ground is breaking for all the infrastructure that has to happen underground – all the power and electrical."
It's a familiar concept for those who have attended the Area 506 music festival – container villages have been part of the programming since its inception back in 2016.
"The shipping container itself is such a critical part of the DNA of Area 506," says Area 506 founder and chairperson Ray Gracewood. "I think right here on the Saint John waterfront, being a port city, it's always been the thing that has set us up as a different kind of event."
They're now accepting expressions of interest for vendors for the site and Gracewood says when it comes to what type – they're casting as "wide a net as possible" and looking for a diverse range.
"Our mandate is to make sure we're populated enough with local products," he says, "so specifically New Brunswick and Maritime-based products – but also national retailers, services, local arts and crafts, galleries … also food and beverage is a big one for us."
The container village is expected to open in June of next year, and organizers say the idea is to mirror the local cruise ship schedules.
"It's going to be something exciting for the cruise ship passengers to come and see as they embark off the cruise," says Leblanc. "Tourists and our local community really have not had a chance to really visit and experience something like this."