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The St. Lawrence Market is a Toronto food institution. First dates, work lunches, a desperate shopping spree to impress dinner party guests, St. Lawrence Market holds centuries of our collective cultural memory, sharing moments over incredible food.
Other than fresh produce, dairy, meat, seafood, baked goods, and flowers, St. Lawrence Market also has delicious dining options (very specifically the eggplant parmigiana at Uno Mustachio in the basement, you're welcome). You can also attend cooking classes and knife skills classes at the market kitchen. The market has so much to offer, that even National Geographic listed it as one of the best food markets in the world.
This year marks 220 years of St. Lawrence Market. Opened in 1803, it's Toronto's oldest market and welcomed merchants, farmers, and residents from all over Ontario to hawk their goods and provisions. Chief Wabakinine of the Mississaugas was a popular salmon seller at the time. If you were coming out of town, the inns and taverns that lined Yonge and King Streets would accommodate you during your market trip. A portion of the South Market also served as city council chambers, a jail, and government offices, so you could really run all your errands in the same place.
The market didn't always look like this; it has undergone years of repairs, rebuilds after fires, and demolitions. Most notably of the north side in 1968. Threatened with another demolition in 1971, citizens successfully petitioned for the preservation of the South Market, but the North Market has constantly been undergoing renovations. This year will finally be the launch of a newly built St. Lawrence Market North, designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners in a joint venture with Adamson Associates (Rogers Stirk designed the Centre Pompidou in Paris). It will replace the temporary north market that has been up these past few years to host the Farmers’ and Sunday Antique Market vendors.
Other than our usual antique and farmer's market taking place in Market North, it'll host court rooms on the top floor, and also have a café and gallery. The new structure will be an enclosed outdoor space with functionalities to allow it to operate year-round. It'll also feature green roofs and solar water heating panels! The St. Lawrence Market North is hoping to open in the summer of 2023.