The St. Lawrence Market is quite simply one of the World’s Greatest (and oldest) markets. It was named The World’s Best Food Market by National Geographic in 2012.
The Market is comprised of a three building complex. Each building serves a different purpose. The North Market is known for it’s Saturday Farmers’ Market, and for good reason — it’s been on since 1803! On Sundays, the North Market and surrounding plaza is home to over 80 antique dealers peddling their wares. The South Market accommodates over 120 specialty vendors who have made the Market their life’s work. Finally, St. Lawrence Hall, built in 1850, houses retail business on the ground floor, city offices on the second and the third floor can be rented out for special events. We talked to Amanda Diep, Program Development Officer for the St. Lawrence Market Complex, to see how they keep things fresh after so many years!
Amanda, what produce and products are in season this Fall at the Market?
Fall harvest in Ontario allows for delicious produce such as flavourful Brussels sprouts, beets and a wide variety of squashes, perfect for homemade soups (one of Fall’s best comfort foods).
When does the outdoor market close its doors for the season?
Farmers with outdoor stalls generally come inside at the end of October. However, one of the great things about our Farmers Market is that the indoor farmers are open all year round so that our customers always have access to in-season, fresh and locally grown products.
Are there any fall events at the Market that our readers will want to know about?
Readers will be excited to know that “Evening at the Market” is happening again next month onThursday, November 9th. The entire South Market will come alive after hours with cooking demonstrations, live entertainment and chef-inspired dishes from each of our 64 vendors. Proceeds will go to our charity partner Second Harvest. Tickets can be purchased online at www.stlawrencemarket.com.
Which vendors in the South Market are the most popular?
I think what makes the Market so special is that each vendor is popular for its own special set of products, and locals know it. From Cotton Candy grapes to crocodile steaks and raw vegan to peameal bacon, our customers know that they can always find what they’re looking for at the Market.
When’s the best time to visit the Market (in your opinion)?
Not a lot of people know that we open at 5 a.m. every Saturday morning. That’s when a lot of dedicated customers come to purchase products that sell out quick, such as fiddleheads during springtime. At 5 a.m., the Market is still calm, almost magical, and you can notice a lot of details that you might miss during a busy Saturday afternoon such as the original archways at the Front St. entrance when the space once served as Toronto’s City Hall.
That’s so early we might have to take your word for it! St. Lawrence Market has been around for a very long time. Is there anything different about the Market in recent years? What keeps the Market fresh?
Our Market Kitchen, which has remained somewhat of a hidden gem over the years, is gaining a large following with the rising popularity of home cooking and baking. The Market Kitchen has a wide variety of classes from Knife Skills to Taste of Tuscany. More details about these courses can be found at http://www.stlawrencemarket.co
There really is nothing else quite like the St. Lawrence Market. It has stood the test of time and remains a major Toronto landmark and community hub to this day. It connects us to our food and those who provide it, to our community and to our past. It’s life as it was centuries ago, evolved and adapted to suit our needs and wants today. It is an icon of our city.
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