Exploring St. Lawrence Market in Toronto
Situated in the heart of the historic neighborhood known as Old Town Toronto and housed in a magnificent 200 year old building, the St. Lawrence Market offers a feast for the senses and has been named by Food and Wine magazine as one of the top twenty-five food markets in the world.
The main and lower levels of the South Market in the St. Lawrence Market Complex contain more than fifty specialty vendors with a reputation for both the variety and the freshness of their vegetables, fruit, fish, meat, grains, dairy products and baked goods. A number of the vendors offer unique and unusual non-food and craft items. The Market Gallery on the second floor of the South Market serves as the official exhibition center for the archives of the City of Toronto.
The North Market continues a tradition that began way back in 1803 – the ever-popular Saturday Farmer’s Market, where farmers from Southern Ontario sell their seasonal fresh produce to people who travel from far and wide to buy it. On Sundays the Farmer’s Market gives way to more than eighty antique dealers, providing hours of treasure hunting for discerning buyers, who seldom leave empty handed. From Monday to Friday the North Market is hired out for all types of functions, both private and public.
Special events and celebrations are held at the St. Lawrence Market throughout the year. Upcoming events include Commfest, a non-profit community film festival featuring noteworthy local, national and international films, which will be held 26-28 September. Halloween Celebrations will take place on 25 October, while St. Lawrence Market will celebrate its 205th anniversary on 1 November. Visitors can celebrate an Old Town Toronto Christmas at the St. Lawrence Market from 16 November through to 30 December 2008.
Way back in 1803, Governor Peter Hunter decreed that the land which the St. Lawrence Market stands on today be officially designated as the “Market Block”. The Market Block expanded over time and has remained the center of commerce, government and cultural activity. The St. Lawrence Hall, which was built in 1850 and forms part of the Market Block, has played host to the City’s public meetings and continues to host many high-profile events, both serious and light-hearted. The impressive, beautifully preserved building is often the venue of choice for film-makers and appears in a host of TV series, films and music videos.
Local historians are more than willing to take visitors on a walking tour of the St. Lawrence Market and the surrounding area, complete with food sampling and fascinating story telling. If you should have the good fortune to visit the vibrant city of Toronto, be sure to include a visit to the St. Lawrence Market.