The joy of shopping at Jardins St-Léon Gardens

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Early morning on the first day of August, the people came to saunter and to shop. It was the perfect holiday Monday, warm but not too warm, bright, sunny and relaxed. It’s just a few minutes away from our home but every time we tried to get to Jardins St-Léon Gardens in the past few months, it was packed, so we’d put it off for another time. Even though getting up super-early on a holiday is not one of my favourite things, this was a good time and a good place to be.

We leisurely made our way through the greenhouse showcasing local berries and fresh vegetables in all colours, shapes and sizes. Outdoor sections featured both indoor and outdoor plants, from stunning ferns to herbs perfect for the indoor window sill or outdoor garden planters. There were all kinds of pretty flowers in pots and in bouquets. The quaint market structure itself boasts an array of Manitoba-made products including baked goods, local cheeses, and more locally grown produce; almost everything we’d ever want to enjoy, a spread of colourful and delicious goodies, from vegan jerky and locally made fruit leather to fresh fruit in season.

Jardins St-Léon Gardens, as the name suggests, offers service in both French and English, which always feels like a treat for me and gives me the opportunity to work on my rusty first language. It has the comfortable feel of a family-run business, because it is.

Jardins St-Leon Gardens features local berries and fresh vegetables in all colours, shapes and sizes.

What started out in 1979 as a small youth gardening project in rural Manitoba has grown into a seasonal outdoor market with products from over 200 local producers. The market, open every day of the week, is run by friendly and helpful staff who seem to really love what they do. There are greetings and smiles, and a French-language instore playlist with some great tunes to enjoy while shopping. You can subscribe to their newsletter online (www.stleongardens.com) and be one of the first to know what’s coming in, fresh from the fields.

There’s an ambience about Jardins St-Léon Gardens. Being there on that holiday morning reminded me of how rare it feels these days to experience a place like this, a happy place, where one can easily see and feel the care that goes into making it what it is. I can definitely understand now why it always seems packed when we walk by. It’s a gem, and well worth waking up early on a holiday to get to.

There’s still time to get over there before the snow flies. The market, at 419 St. Mary’s Rd., is open until it gets too cold, sometime in October — hopefully very late October.

It feels rare these days to experience a place like Jardins St-Léon Gardens, a happy place, where one can easily see and feel the care that goes into making it what it is.

Janine LeGal

Janine LeGal
St. Boniface community correspondent

Janine LeGal is a community correspondent for St. Boniface who also writes the These Old Houses column for our Community Homes section.

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