Friday, June 14, 2013

Why I Attend Events Like Canada's Gluten Free Market

If you follow Celiac Baby! on a regular basis (thank you, btw) you'll know that I try my best to make it out to gluten free events like the one I attended this weekend, Canada's Gluten Free Market.  Sometimes people ask if I get tired of going to so many, or why I bother if I'm already familiar with many of the gluten free products on the market. 

I don't get tired of attending these events.  I attend for several reasons, the most important of which is to support the gluten free community.  This weekend, in addition to vendors there were speakers and advocates, and the Canadian Celiac Association.   It's also the perfect opportunity to meet others in the community, including other attendees.  I had several casual conversations, getting tips and recommendations from others.  I love that my son can accept a cookie or a cracker from someone without needing to check with me before eating it, and it's a great way for me to see what's new on the market.

 I am fairly up-to-date with what's available, but often events like this allow smaller vendors to shine.  I discovered a new line of Indian cooking sauces available only through one supermarket chain that happens to have a location near my house.  The vendor explained to me that they were a small family business, slowly trying to make their way into the market.  I probably wouldn't have discovered their product otherwise.  After trying their vegetable curry sauce, I've been won over. 

Some of the vendors

I also love learning about new bakeries and bistros, and I spend a lot of time gathering business cards and flyers. Some of this is research for my blog, so that I can pass on new finds to readers, but mostly it's to expand the range of places I know I can take my son where he can have a safe meal.  We don't eat out a lot, but when we do, I try to spend my money at restaurants that are safe for my son. 

This past weekend I was lucky enough to win a pair of tickets to the event through CityBites, and like always, I took the whole family.  Yes, I sometimes get dirty looks as I navigate the baby stroller down the aisles, but I try to be considerate of others, parking the stroller to one side and keeping out of the way as much as possible.  Our house is gluten free because my 4 year old needs to be.  If he's going to be capable of managing his diet one day, it doesn't make sense not to include him. 

My youngest, checking out the literature!

The market place was pretty large, and included several aisles of vendors, including more than one stall focused on travel, another on beauty products, a wholesale service, and much, much more.  I took home several samples, business cards from almost every stall, and a list of bakeries & eateries to visit.  We didn't stay as long as we usually do at these events because my son didn't feel well, but it was still a great event.  I'm looking forward to the next one!

If you're new to gluten free, events like this can help connect you to the larger community and help familiarize you with the range of options available.  For those who have been gluten free for a long time, these outings are a great way of showing your support, connecting with others, and maybe even discovering something new. 


  1. Hey Kathleen,
    I also attended this event with my boys. I loved all the samples and variety. I also took business cards, flyers and bought a few things too. Too bad we didn't see each other there. Next time :)