Observers fear ‘chaos’ if DTES street market shut down by city
As early as 9 a.m. each morning an empty lot between two Downtown Eastside buildings starts buzzing with vendors hawking cellphones, clothing and other wares from behind tables.
Jason Taylor, 54, a regular vendor at the market at 26 East Hastings St., buys hockey cards, collectible key chains, bobblehead dolls and DVDs in bulk at discounted prices from retailers or from eBay and then resells them.
He uses the few hundred dollars he makes “on a good day” to supplement his disability assistance and cover rent and groceries. Many others who sell second-hand goods at the market are just like Taylor — unable to work traditional forms of employment due to health or life constraints, including substance-use disorders, mental illness or simply not having a legal work permit.
“This place allows me to take care of myself, to sell from my own collection without having to pay for a $1,000 vending licence I cannot afford,” Taylor said.