St. Lawrence Market

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St. Lawrence Market South
Interior of the south market

St. Lawrence Market is one of two major public markets in Toronto, the other being Kensington Market. It was named the world's best food market by National Geographic in April 2012.[1][2]

It features two buildings, both on the west side of Front St. East and Jarvis St. Each building holds different purposes: St. Lawrence Market North, on the north side of Front St, hosts weekly farmer's markets and antique markets. St. Lawrence Market South, on the south side of Front St, hosts restaurants, the St. Lawrence Market Gallery, and a variety of areas to shop for food, such as delis and bakeries, as well as meat shops.

History[edit]

By 1803 the population in York was dense enough where a public market was needed. The Governor established a weekly market day and designated an area. This was announced in his proclamation appearing in the November 3, 1803 issue of the Gazette saying, “Whereas great prejudice hath arisen to the inhabitants of the town and township of York and of other adjoining townships from no place or day having been set apart for exposing publicly for sale, cattle, sheep, poultry and other provisions, goods and merchandise brought by merchants, farmers and others for the necessary supply of the town of York and whereas great benefit and advantage might be derived to the inhabitants and others by establishing a weekly market at a place and on a day certain for the purpose aforesaid;”[3]

The original market was called the Market Square and people gathered there on Saturdays at the corner of Market Street and New Street, stretching from King Street to Church Street. It wasn't until 1820 that a wooden structure was built in the square. The Market Square was the centre of the city's social scene where auctions took place, public punishments were carried out, and people wandered the market. In 1831 the wooden market building was torn down and a quadrangular brick building with arched entrances at the sides was built. This building was used until 1841 when a fire destroyed the northern side of the building and it was torn down. The present St. Lawrence Market was erected in 1850.[4]

In the nineteenth century, Toronto had three public markets named after the wards within which they were located. St. Lawrence Market, founded in 1803, was the first, St. Patrick's Market at 238 Queen Street West was the second, created in 1836, and still exists in the form of a organic food court within its current building, constructed in 1912,[5] and St. Andrew's Market at 450 Adelaide Street West (at Brant) was built in 1850 and is now a park.[6]

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