St. Lawrence Market is a popular public market and tourist destination located at the corner of Front St. E. and Jarvis St. in downtown Toronto. It was named the world’s best food market in 2012 by National Geographic.
St. Lawrence Market started out as a public market in 1803, in response to the growing population of what was then York, Upper Canada. It wasn’t until 1820 when the first permanent structures were erected.
The proclamation of Lieutenant Governor Peter Hunter established a weekly market day at the corner of King St. and New St.
Originally known as Market Square, locals would gather at the 5.5 acre to participate in slave auctions and to witness public punishments.
The purchase of food and livestock were limited only on Saturdays from 6 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon.
St. Lawrence Market is made up of two locations, St. Lawrence Market North and St. Lawrence South.
The first St. Lawrence Market North structure was built in 1820 and was the location of York’s first public well.
The original wooden structure was replaced by a brick building in 1831, but was later damaged in the Great Fire of Toronto in 1849. It was rebuilt two years later.
At the turn of the century, St. Lawrence Market was expanded to include a new buildings, and even served as home to the Toronto City Hall at one point.
The last St. Lawrence Market North structure was built in 1968, and had hosted weekly farmer’s markets. It was torn down in 2016 to make way for a brand new building.
The new four-storey building will feature an atrium and is scheduled for completion in 2022.
St. Lawrence Market South features food stalls, restaurants and the St. Lawrence Market Gallery.
It was originally built in 1845 and has since been rebuilt twice.
What to see at St. Lawrence Market
Market Gallery – once home to the Toronto City Hall, the Market Gallery, Market Gallery features exhibits that showcase the cultural and social development of the city in photos, maps and paintings.
Antique Market– every Sunday, the Antique Market is home to weekly antiques and collectibles show and sale. Torontonians from all walks of life go to the Antique Market to discover one-of-a-kind items, including books and jewelry.
Market Kitchen – featuring a cooking school and an event space, the Market Kitchen is the destination of choice for foodies.
Featuring state-of-the-art kitchen appliances, the Market Kitchen hosts workshops, product launches and appearances by top chefs.
The Market Kitchen is also available for private events for private organizations and family gatherings.
St. Lawrence Hall – first built in 1850, St. Lawrence Hall is a national historic site. The 19th century building continues to be a social and cultural centre for the city of Toronto.
Its external features including delicate store work, ornate roof cresting and the domed cupola is a treasured part of Toronto’s architectural history.
Hours of Operation
Saturdays: 5:00am to 3:00pm
Tuesdays to Fridays: 9:00am to 5:00pm
Saturdays: 5:00am to 4:00pm
Sundays and Mondays: closed
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