Little piggy that I am, I went to market the other day. Toronto’s St. Lawrence market, that is. Well, I was in downtown TO
and I found myself at Front Street and Jarvis Street.
Amid all the mega-city concrete is the site of one of the older buildings in Toronto. In 1803, the land around here was designated as the “Market Block”. The first wooden structure was built and in 1831 it was replaced by a brick structure. A few years later, city council took up residence in 2nd floor offices. In 1845, the Great Fire of Toronto burned most of it down…! It was hastily rebuilt.
In the new structure, prisoners (it was also a bit of a jail) complained about flooding which frequently left them up to their knees in water. Of course, that didn’t stop the public meetings, lectures, concerts and exhibitions that were held on floors above. However, in 1904 we tore it down and built a new one. Between 1950 and the early 60s, we added a third floor. In 1970, an effort was made to have it all demolished but someone drew the sword of “official, recognized not-to-be torn down historical building” and it was renovated instead. And, it’s all still there.
Open Tuesdays to Saturdays, it houses a cornucopia of meat, produce and a ton of dry goods and miscellany.
And, Across the street, there’s a Sunday “stuff” market. Some of the stuff are real antiques, some is somebody’s idea of antiques and some of it is everybody’s idea of junk. It’s delightful. If you like poking around for everything from china dolls to authentic wooden shoes – you’ve found your Valhalla.
Along with this you get a great open courtyard and a bunch of good restaurants, a multi-screen movie theatre, bars and, oh, yes, a liquor store…!
If you’re ever in Toronto and you’ve never been to the St. Lawrence Market — find it and enjoy!