St. Lawrence Market - Rediscover Toronto Week 1

Monday, June 23, 2014

Week one of my challenge to rediscover Toronto brought me to the St.Lawrence Market.

I have always liked going to the market around lunchtime.  On a weekday it is undeniably the busiest time to go, but I like to see what people are buying and watch the vendors as they interact with the passersby. Also it's a great place to stop for lunch and pick up some treats to enjoy later at home.

What I didn't realize before taking this challenge was the long standing tradition of the market and history of the buildings which make up the St. Lawrence Complex - South Market, North Market and St. Lawrence Hall.

St. Lawrence Market, Front Street East Toronto, Local recommendationSt. Lawrence Market (South Market) at the Corner of Market St and Front Street East

A Brief History

A market has existed in this area since 1803 when it was designated by Lt. Governor Peter Hunter as Market Block. Every Saturday you can still find the farmer's market here in the North Market. (Note: If you come on Sunday, you'll find antiques on display instead of Ontario grown produce.)

St. Lawrence Market, south market, Fresh Ontario produce, Local produce, fresh berries, local recommendations

Fresh, ripe berries caught my Eye

Fires, Demolitions and Renovations

In 1831, the wooden structure that housed the farmer's market was replaced by the first brick structure on the site of the North Market. When the market expanded to the other side of Front Street around 1844, the South Market was born. This new building was home to many shops in addition to being the location of Toronto's first official City Hall, the police department and the local prison.

Unfortunately, the North Market and much of the old city was destroyed in the Great Fire of Toronto. The grand St. Lawrence Hall and a new North Market building were constructed in 1851.

In 1904, the original South Market building was mostly demolished and what remained was integrated into the new structure. In the mid sixties, public outcry ensued when it was recommended that the entire building be demolished.  Instead the city restored the historic building. Renovations and restorations were completed in 1978.

The North Market which was torn down and rebuilt in 1968 is currently undergoing construction once again with plans to be complete in 2016.

St.Lawrence Market Photoessay

Every day of the week you can find all sorts of delights, delicacies and treasures in the South Market building.  Here's how I spent my afternoon.

Brown Brothers Meats, St. Lawrence Market, South Market, Local butcher, Local recommendationBrowsing at the choice cuts of Canadian meatSt Lawrence Market, Fresh produce, Fresh fruit, Local recommendationVibrant colours of the fresh fruitsSt. Lawrence Market, South Market, Fresh Produce, New PotatoesRoot Vegatables and New Potatoes anyone?St. Lawrence Market, Gourmet Maple Syrup, Local recommendationGourmet Maple Syrup, eh

Freshly Roasted CoffeeSt Lawrence Market, Ssouth market, Fresh Roasted Coffee Beans, Local recommendationWith plenty of selectionOrganic chocolate milk in a glass bottle - You had me at chocolateThe Lunchtime crowd gets spoiled for choiceThe fresh seafood choices are quite extensive tooThe Future Bakery has always been a favouriteKozlik's wall of gourmet mustard - Give the Balsamic Fig and Date a try

Three Bean salad - Why limit yourself to just three?

What's next?

Week two of my challenge will take me west of the old city to the area of Kensington Market.

Toronto, Flat Iron Building, Local recommendation,Looking west toward downtown Toronto from St. Lawrence Market

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