St. Lawrence Market

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St. Lawrence Market is one of two major markets in Toronto (the other being Kensington Market). It is located South-west corner of Front and Lower Jarvis Streets. It was established in the early part of the city's history and was once home to Toronto's first permanent city hall and jail house from 1845 to 1899. Designed by English immigrant architect Henry Bowyer Lane which he also designed Little Trinity Church in 1843, Holy Trinity Church in 1847 and expansion of Osgood Hall in 1844. Henry incorporated his design with Georgian tradition style using white stones and red brick wall. A “cupola” was built on top front side of the building with a clock , the first floor was formerly Police Station # 1. The south building is located at 92 Front Street East, contained by Market Street, The Esplanade, Lower Jarvis, and Front Street. Currently, it is one of major market in Toronto’s downtown core. It remains over 50 vendors selling fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses on the lower and first level to providing goods and services. The building also has The Market Gallery operate by City of Toronto on the second floor and a cooking school (market kitchen) on the mezzanine floor.


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St. Lawrence MarketIn 1899, city of Toronto decided to vacate the facility and move to a next city hall located on Queens and Bay Streets designed by E.J Lennox. However a municipality and market commissioners decided to renovate the old city hall into a large marketplace. John William Siddall was the selected next architect for this project. John decided to demolish the cupola, the pediment and the side wings. The new steel trusses roof was proposed to cover entire building structure, allowing more open space with high ceiling and more light into space.

Since 1901, the north façade and city council chambers have served as a museum for the city's archives as well as a north entrance to the South Market. A large steel and glass canopy used to connect the north and south building during the renovations in the early 20th century. This was then taken down in 1954. Renovations were also made in 1978 following public outcry over a proposal to demolish the entire building in 1971.

A newer market, known as the North Market was built in 1803 under orders of Lieutenant Governor Peter Hunter. Destroyed by fire in 1849, it was rebuilt in 1851, replaced in 1904, and replaced again by the current building in 1968. A canopy that once connected the North and South Markets was removed in 1954. Today the North Market is different things on different days, but its principal claims to glory are associated with the colourful Farmers' Market, the largest in Toronto, that takes place on Saturdays starting at 5 am and is truly a local institution for Torontonians and the Sunday Antique Market, open every Sunday from 5 am to 5 pm. Today’s South St. Lawrence Market is the result of the last renovation took place in 1977. Once completed the all the major renovation and changes made to this building, the City of Toronto put effort to preserve this property as city’s prominent historical piece.

On June 7, 2010 former Mayor David Miller announced the winners of the design competition for a building to replace the existing North Market. The new building is expected to open in 2012. During the construction of the new building, the Saturday and Sunday North Market vendors will be selling from a location one block south on the Esplanade. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the South Market building, provided by Wireless Toronto. The St. Lawrence Market, is one of the two locations in Toronto that house the majority of businesses accepting the Toronto Dollar, a local currency that raises money for fighting poverty.


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