For the first time since the pandemic, the Richmond Night Market is having a full scale reopening on April 28.
Owner and organizer Raymond Cheung says the 23-year-old outdoor market will have no restrictions and more vendors compared to previous years.
“This year is special because after the COVID-19 [pandemic] this is pretty much the first time that we are full scale compared to past years,” he said.
In 2020, the night market was canceled due to pandemic restrictions. In 2021, it returned with reduced capacity but ended early as COVID-19 case counts climbed and new restrictions were imposed.
In 2022, the market reopens with few vendors and some restrictions in place, Cheung says.
The market runs every weekend from April 28 to Oct. 9 from 7 pm to midnight.
‘Confident for the future’
Cheung says the market saw over 800,000 local and international visitors before the pandemic.
These past few years, with limited entries and restrictions in place, he says the market has barely received half of its usual crowd.
But Cheung is confident numbers will go back to normal, given the increased interest from restaurants and businesses to be part of the market.
“[Spaces for] retail and all our food stalls are 100 per cent sold out … a lot of small businesses [are] being very active in trying to come out this year,” he said, adding the market will have 120 food stalls and nearly 170 retail booths at its opening.
“This year it’s very big scale … so it’s pretty encouraging [and] we’re very confident for the future.”
The Richmond Night Market is one of North America’s largest outdoor markets, according to Nancy Small, CEO of Tourism Richmond.
She says the popular summer event is a unique offering in Metro Vancouver that brings together community and multicultural cuisine.
“It’s really unmatched by anything else [in Metro Vancouver] … There’s [new booths with] food from Indonesia, from Turkey and Mexico … That’s great because food is one of those ways we come together as a society,” he said.
Cheung recommends anyone visiting the market arrive 30 minutes early and prepare themselves for a lot of unique food.
“Don’t eat because we’ve got over 600 items of food… and [arrive] earlier because lineups do get very long.”