Seaport Farmers' Market 

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Photo Credit: Lydon Lynch Architects


Research by: Nicole Brekelmans 

Edited by: Samantha Miller 

Case study compiled in 2019



Project: Seaport Farmers' Market and Green Roof 

Type of Urban Strategy: Permaculture, Sustainable Design, Circular Economy

Type of ProjectFarmers' Market / Post Industrial

LocationHalifax, Nova Scotia

Date Designed/Planned: 2010

Construction Completed: 2012

Designer: Lydon Lynch Architects, Vollick McKee Petersmann & Associates Ltd. and Ange Dean (Land Studio East)


“The Seaport Farmers’ Market is an award-winning, platinum designed ecological showcase on the Halifax Waterfront. The Seaport Farmers’ Market uses 75% less power and 75% less water than a typical market building. Harvesting free natural resources and responding to the seasons, the new Market is one of the most sustainably designed, low energy buildings in North America.” (Lydon Lynch Architects, n.d.)


 The Halifax Seaport Farmers Market is a significant project for the locals and visitors of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The new market showcases multiple sustainable and smart technology systems with the main focus of reducing water and energy consumption during construction and operation. With one of the largest green roofs in Canada, this market is not only functional but also has a strong visual impact making the space become a major tourist attraction within the city and waterfront. The sustainable strategies used within the project include solar heating, greywater systems, and natural ventilation created through the green roof (Nova Scotia, n.d.). The market acts as an effective model for sustainable design through its multiple self-sustaining systems and strategies, and also acts as a space for the community to practice permaculture as well as circular economy through supporting local vendors.


The Seaport Farmers’ Market and Green Roof is an ecological and sustainable based design that aims to reduce water and power usage by 75%. Created in 1750, The Halifax Farmers’ Market has operated in many locations throughout Halifax. However, in 2010, the farmers' market along with other vendors were moved to a new location in the Halifax Seaport on the waterfront (Nova Scotia, n.d.). This change in location provided the city an opportunity to redesign the market, and transform the space into a model of sustainable design that can be used by other communities in Canada and across the world. The market was designed with the goal of becoming LEED certified and incorporating water and energy conservation elements to drastically reduce the building’s ecological footprint. The Seaport Farmers’ Market was awarded with LEED platinum and the corresponding green roof won the 2012 Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Award for Excellence for Extensive Commercial/Industrial Green Roof (Vollick McKee Petersmann & Associates Ltd.).


The new location of the Halifax Farmers’ Market was previously a seaport terminal along the Halifax waterfront. The old warehouse was transformed into a public plaza while maintained the outline of the original structure (The Globe and Mail, 2012). The site is also a main destination for cruise ships, therefore bringing large crowds of visitors to the area at a time. The new location of the farmers’ market offered multiple opportunities for expansion, design, and tourism, however, the site also brought new challenges. Due to the site being located on the edge of the sea, the market was now exposed to heavy winds, salt spray and other weather issues. Developing the design and plant list for the green roof and other uncovered areas required a strong understanding of the site and what vegetation can be maintained on it (Land Studio East, n.d).


The Halifax Farmers’ Market was founded by the Royal Proclamation in June 1750, making it the oldest continuously operating farmers’ market in North America. For 50 years the market sold fresh produce and livestock delivered from Acadian farms in the Annapolis Valley and local farm production. In 1848 the farmers’ market became official property to the city and continued to operate in several locations across the Halifax. In 2010, the market moved to its current location at the Halifax Seaport where a cargo shed along the waterfront was repurposed and designed to accommodate the operate the market and its 250 vendors. The location change then led the market to a new name of Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market, while the few vendors who remained in the previous location rebranded themselves as the Historic Farmers Market (Nova Scotia, n.d).


The main goal of the project was to develop a market space that will act as a model for sustainable and environmental-focused design, through its construction as well as its daily functions such as heating, cooling, water consumption, lighting, etc. Along with creating a model for sustainability and smart technology, the project also aimed at designing a space that highlights the market’s new location on the Halifax Waterfront as well as designing an extensive green roof for visual impact and aiding the building’s sustainable systems through natural ventilation (Cagbc, n.d).


Lydon Lynch Architects, the project’s lead architectural firm, believes in viewing a new design in four distinct phases; research, collaboration, conceptual design, and solution. These phases encourage collaboration, creativity and innovation providing a project that explores the limits of design and what is best for the site and its clients (Lydon Lynch Architects, n.d.). The process of the Seaport Halifax Farmers’ Market began with the renovation of the waterfront warehouse which included opening a pushing back the original facade to create an overhang for a corresponding public plaza. The main task of the warehouse renovation was to maximize natural day lighting to maximize energy efficiency while still reusing the building’s original frame and structure (The Globe and Mail, 2012). The additional materials used during the renovation construction were chosen to reduce waste and embodied energy. One third of the materials were recycled while the other two thirds were all sourced locally or from sustainable sources. Additionally all sealants, adhesives, paints, etc. were subjected to green certification. During construction, 95% of the waste produced was diverted from the landfill (Nova Scotia, n.d.). The renovation of the warehouse also included the implementation of multiple smart technology systems to make the building more efficient and self-sustaining. To reduce potable water consumption rainwater cisterns were implemented to provide grey water to toilets as well as for irrigation of the vegetation on-site. Energy use was reduced by 70% through high-performance wall and window insulation, high-efficiency lighting and heat pumps, a passive ventilation system for the summer, and a heat recovery ventilation system for the winter. Electricity generation is also provided on-site through roof-mounted solar photovoltaic cells and microwind turbines (Nova Scotia, n.d.). The farmers’ market design also included an extensive green-roof. The green roof designed by Vollick McKee Petersmann & Associates Ltd. and Ange Dean (Land Studio East) required substantial research of plant species to see which species could withstand the specific weather conditions on site, along with creating a diverse planting palette with visual interest through multiple seasons. The final produce involves 10 different species including local red and green sedum and a drought-tolerant native succulent. The green roof also is incorporated in the building’s smart technology systems through naturally cooling and ventilating the market, therefore reducing fossil fuels by 100%, as well as naturally heating water for bathrooms through sunlight. The green roof also offers a natural habitat and is further supplemented by a composting system inside the market. The final product is the second largest green roof in Canada (Vollick McKee Petersmann & Associates Ltd., n.d.).


Lydon Lynch Architects were the lead architectural firm for the warehouse renovation building while Vollick McKee Petersmann & Associates Ltd. and Ange Dean (Land Studio East) were the lead landscape architects working primarily on the green roof. However, because the green roof was connected directly to the rest of the building's systems, the firms collaborate throughout the project, developing a well-balanced design and space.


About. (2018, November 15). Retrieved from Advanced Solutions International, Inc. (n.d.). LEED Spotlight: LEED Gold certified Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market. Retrieved from Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market. (n.d.). Retrieved from Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market Greenroof. (n.d.). Retrieved from In pictures: Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market. (2012, April 09). Retrieved from News & Media. (n.d.). Retrieved from Seaport Farmers' Market Green Roof. (n.d.). Retrieved from Sustainable ProjectsLydon Lynch. (n.d.). Retrieved from


The Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market has been very successful through its operation as well as the sustainable elements of the building and exterior components. The renovated warehouse received LEED platinum certification, and is seen as one of the most sustainable and energy efficient buildings in North America. The green roof remains very successful visually and functionally despite the hard conditions. The green roof also won the 2012 Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Award of Excellence for Extensive Commercial/ Industrial Green Roof (Land Studio East, n.d.).


The Seaport Farmers’ Market and Green Roof design was first established in 2010, when the market moved to a new building that is part of the Halifax Seaport along the waterfront and boardwalk. Although some of the vendors remained in the old location and rebranded themselves as the Historic Farmers’ Market, the market’s new location provided new design and operation opportunities for the majority of the vendors and local farmers who relocated. The market’s new site included an old warehouse which was the basis for the new design, providing more space as well as a blank slate for integrating new smart technologies and other sustainable systems to create a low energy and waste facility (Nova Scotia, n.d.).


The Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market provides visitors and locals with 250 vendors, ranging from produce and livestock to a large selection of artisanal products. The market emphasizes the importance of buying locally for a healthy lifestyle and reducing the environmental impact of the products you are purchasing regularly. The market also includes a public plaza and a rooftop walkway with a green roof and a direct view of the water.


The budget of the market was $13 million with the province of Nova Scotia contributing 20% of the cost of construction. Many of the operational costs are significantly decreased from the energy efficient strategies and systems implemented (The Globe and Mail, 2012).


The new site of the Halifax Farmers’ Market produced two main issues with designing the space. First, the new site brought challenges with the harsh conditions such as strong winds and misting due to the close proximity to the edge of the sea (Land Studio East, n.d.). This led the designers to carefully develop the plant list for green roof, ensuring the plants chosen can withstand the specific weather conditions on the site while also creating a strong visual impact through multiple seasons. The other design challenge was the new building being situation in a cruise ship terminal area with lack of ground level access due to security reasons. This led the team to design to supplement the building with a full-length rooftop deck (The Globe and Mail, 2012).