St Lawrence Market North – Rich in Toronto’s Food History

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1971 – Looking north from Front St E and Jarvis St towards the former St Lawrence Market North and notice the cupola of St Lawrence Hall in the background
1971 – Looking north from Front St E and Jarvis St towards the former St Lawrence Market North and notice the cupola of St Lawrence Hall in the background (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, File 2, ID 115)

The new St Lawrence Market North building will be located at 92 Front St E, at Jarvis St (the northwest corner), in the St Lawrence neighbourhood of Toronto.

The Market Block

In 1803, Lt Governor Peter Hunter declared the land north of Front St E, east of Church St, south of King St E, and west of Jarvis St to be known as the Market Block. The land was donated to the Town of York on the condition that farmers use it as a marketplace.

Previous North Markets

Between 1885 and 1895 - Looking northwest towards the third St Lawrence Market North and the Cathedral Church of St James steeple from Front St E and Jarvis St
Between 1885 and 1895 – Looking northwest towards the third St Lawrence Market North and the Cathedral Church of St James steeple from Front St E and Jarvis St (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1478, Item 21)

There have been many market structures built on this particular block, including:

  • In 1803, the first market structure was made of wood.
  • In 1831, the second market was a brick structure that fronted King St E and stretched to Front St E. This was destroyed in the Great Fire of Toronto 1849.
  • In 1851, the third North Market building was completed on the northwest corner of Front St E and Jarvis St. It was accessed through the main Front St E entrance or via the new St Lawrence Hall.
  • In 1904, the previous North Market was demolished and replaced with a fourth building resembling the South Market. A canopy was added between the North and South Markets over Front St E.
  • In 1968, the North Market was once again demolished and replaced by a 2-storey, school-like fifth market building. The farmers market was held on Saturdays, and during the warmer months, there were vendors on the exterior.

The Project’s Three Phases

While plans for the new North St Lawrence Market building began in 2002, things did not start until 2015. At the time, the budget was set at approximately $91.4 million. Phase 1 was the construction of a temporary market structure at 125 The Esplanade. 19th-century rail track beds and wharf cribbing were unearthed during the dig for this temporary market building. Phase 2 demolished the 1968 building, while Phase 3 constructed the new North Market building.

Historical Foundations & Artifacts Found

In 2016, the demolition of the 1968 building got underway. The foundations of the previous 1831, 1851 and 1904 markets were found, along with several historical objects. A team of archeologists and researchers sifted through the 200-year-old site and found many ancient finds, including eating utensils, meat hooks, broken pottery, and a bottle from JJ McLaughlin, the chemist who created Canada Dry ginger ale. They hope to put the artifacts on display in the new building. The discovery set the building schedule behind by a few years.

The New St Lawrence Market North

April 9, 2023 - Looking northwest towards the corner of Front St E and Jarvis St, where the 6th St Lawrence Market North is near completion
April 9, 2023 – Looking northwest towards the corner of Front St E and Jarvis St, where the 6th St Lawrence Market North is near completion

In 2019, construction began on the new North Market. It will be the home of market vendors, courtrooms, offices, a 250-space parking garage and more. In terms of architecture, the 20,000 sq m five-storey market building will be constructed of glass and steel with a glass-ceilinged atrium.

The main floor will feature a large hall for the Farmers Market, commercial events and a cafe. The space on the mezzanine floor will be for hospitality use, kitchen incubators, Court Services, administrative offices and a seniors centre. The third floor will be home to the Court Services head office, administrative offices and Police Services. The space on the fourth floor will be for Justice of the Peace offices, city and provincial Prosecution offices and five courtrooms. The top floor will house nine courtrooms.

Using the latest codes for environmental design, the current total budget for the new north marketing building is approximately $116 million. The construction is expected to be completed and in operation by Fall 2023.

Visit the St Lawrence Market website for more information, or read our post on the St Lawrence Market South building.

St Lawrence Market North Photos

1971 – Looking northwest from Front St E and Jarvis St towards the former St Lawrence Market North. Notice the cupola of St Lawrence Hall in the background
1971 – Looking northwest from Front St E and Jarvis St towards the former St Lawrence Market North. Notice the cupola of St Lawrence Hall in the background (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, File 2, ID 115)
Between 1988 and 1991 - A vegetable stand in front of the former St Lawrence Market North at the northwest corner of Front St E and Jarvis St
Between 1988 and 1991 – A vegetable stand in front of the former St Lawrence Market North at the northwest corner of Front St E and Jarvis St (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 696, Item 20)
Between 1980 and 1994 - An aerial view looking northeast towards the former St Lawrence Market North at Front St E and Jarvis St. Built in 1968, it was the fifth market structure constructed on the site
Between 1980 and 1994 – An aerial view looking northeast towards the former St Lawrence Market North at Front St E and Jarvis St. Built in 1968, it was the fifth market structure constructed on the site (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 385, Item 19)
Between 1980 and 1994 - Looking north towards the former St Lawrence Market on Front St E
Between 1980 and 1994 – Looking north towards the former St Lawrence Market on Front St E (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 385, Item 22)
October 1981 - A vegetable stand in front of the entrance at the former St Lawrence Market North on Front St E and Jarvis St
October 1981 – A vegetable stand in front of the entrance at the former St Lawrence Market North on Front St E and Jarvis St (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, File 12, ID 74)
July 6, 1974 – Looking southeast from the King Edward Hotel towards the St Lawrence Market area. From right to left are St Lawrence Market South, the former St Lawrence Market North and St Lawrence Hall
July 6, 1974 – Looking southeast from the King Edward Hotel towards the St Lawrence Market area. From right to left are St Lawrence Market South, the former St Lawrence Market North and St Lawrence Hall (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1526, File 16, Item 3)
1972 – Looking northwest towards the former St Lawrence Market North located at 92 Front St E, at Jarvis St in the St Lawrence neighbourhood of Toronto. Notice the cupola of St Lawrence Hall in the background on the right and the Cathedral Church of St James on the left
1972 – Looking northwest towards the former St Lawrence Market North located at 92 Front St E, at Jarvis St in the St Lawrence neighbourhood of Toronto. Notice the cupola of St Lawrence Hall in the background on the right and the Cathedral Church of St James on the left (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 2032, Series 841, File 2, Item 12)
April 1971 - A hitching post and flowers at the former St Lawrence Market North on Front St E and Jarvis St
April 1971 – A hitching post and flowers at the former St Lawrence Market North on Front St E and Jarvis St (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, File 12, ID 20)
2013 – Looking north from Front St E just west of Jarvis St towards the former St Lawrence Market North. Built in 1968, this was the fifth market structure on the site. It was demolished in 2016
2013 – Looking north from Front St E just west of Jarvis St towards the former St Lawrence Market North. Built in 1968, this was the fifth market structure on the site. It was demolished in 2016 (Google Maps)
2010s - Looking towards St Lawrence Market North at the corner of Front St E and Jarvis St. Notice the Cathedral Church of St James steeple in the background
2010s – Looking towards St Lawrence Market North at the corner of Front St E and Jarvis St. Notice the Cathedral Church of St James steeple in the background (photo taken from a display at Market Lane Park)
February 2020 – Excavation for St Lawrence Market North. Notice St Lawrence Market South building in the background
February 2020 – Excavation for St Lawrence Market North. Notice St Lawrence Market South building in the background (City of Toronto)
April 2021 – Looking south towards the construction of the new St Lawrence Market North parking level foundation. Notice the St Lawrence Market South in the background
April 2021 – Looking south towards the construction of the new St Lawrence Market North parking level foundation. Notice the St Lawrence Market South in the background (City of Toronto)
May 23, 2021 - Looking northwest toward the corner of Front St E and Jarvis St, where the 6th St Lawrence Market North will be built. Notice St Lawrence Hall in the background
May 23, 2021 – Looking northwest toward the corner of Front St E and Jarvis St, where the 6th St Lawrence Market North will be built. Notice St Lawrence Hall in the background
December 12, 2021 - Looking towards the northwest corner of Front St E and Jarvis St during construction of the sixth St Lawrence Market North
December 12, 2021 – Looking towards the northwest corner of Front St E and Jarvis St during construction of the sixth St Lawrence Market North
May 28, 2022 - During construction of the new St Lawrence Market North at the northwest corner of Front St E and Jarvis St,
May 28, 2022 – During construction of the new St Lawrence Market North at the northwest corner of Front St E and Jarvis St,
 April 9, 2023 - Looking northwest towards the corner of Front St E and Jarvis St, where the sixth St Lawrence Market North is nearing completion. The first market structure was built on the site in 1803 and was made of wood
April 9, 2023 – Looking northwest towards the corner of Front St E and Jarvis St, where the sixth St Lawrence Market North is nearing completion. The first market structure was built on the site in 1803 and was made of wood
April 9, 2023 - Looking northeast from Front St E and Market St towards the construction of the new St Lawrence Market North building
April 9, 2023 – Looking northeast from Front St E and Market St towards the construction of the new St Lawrence Market North building
April 1968 – Looking east from the Toronto-Dominion Centre toward the St Lawrence area of Toronto. Notice the Gooderham Building, St Lawrence Market North, St Lawrence Hall and St Lawrence Market South
April 1968 – Looking east from the Toronto-Dominion Centre toward the St Lawrence area of Toronto. Notice the Gooderham Building, St Lawrence Market North, St Lawrence Hall and St Lawrence Market South (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, File 2, ID 25)
1952 - Looking east towards the canopy over Front St E connecting St Lawrence Market North to St Lawrence Market South
1952 – Looking east towards the canopy over Front St E connecting St Lawrence Market North to St Lawrence Market South (Toronto Public Library R-4967)
Circa 1911 – The William Davies stall at St Lawrence Market; however, it's not known if it's inside the North or South Market building
Circa 1911 – The William Davies stall at St Lawrence Market; however, it’s not known if it’s inside the North or South Market building (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 338B)
1950s - Looking northwest from Front St E at Jarvis St towards the fourth St Lawrence Market North. This version of the North Market closely resembled the South Market building
1950s – Looking northwest from Front St E at Jarvis St towards the fourth St Lawrence Market North. This version of the North Market closely resembled the South Market building (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1128, Series 380, Item 293)
1950s - Looking south from Jarvis St just south of King St E towards the fourth St Lawrence Market North with a canopy connecting to St Lawrence Market South. The corner of the building in the foreground on the right is St Lawrence Hall
1950s – Looking south from Jarvis St just south of King St E towards the fourth St Lawrence Market North with a canopy connecting to St Lawrence Market South. The corner of the building in the foreground on the right is St Lawrence Hall (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1128, Series 380, Item 132)
March 1959 - Looking northeast from Front St E towards portions of the fourth St Lawrence Market North and St Lawrence Hall. This version of the North Market building was constructed in 1904 and demolished in 1968
March 1959 – Looking northeast from Front St E towards portions of the fourth St Lawrence Market North and St Lawrence Hall. This version of the North Market building was constructed in 1904 and demolished in 1968 (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, File 1, ID 42)
1898 – Looking northwest from Front St E and Jarvis St towards a herd of cattle in front of the third St Lawrence Market North. Notice the Cathedral Church of St James steeple and St Lawrence Hall cupola in the background
1898 – Looking northwest from Front St E and Jarvis St towards a herd of cattle in front of the third St Lawrence Market North. Notice the Cathedral Church of St James steeple and St Lawrence Hall cupola in the background (Toronto Public Library R-6039)
Circa 1898 - The interior of the third St Lawrence Market North before alterations
Circa 1898 – The interior of the third St Lawrence Market North before alterations (Toronto Public Library R-6036)
Circa 1898 – Looking northwest towards the third St Lawrence Market North (1850-1904), from Jarvis St, just north of Front St E. St Lawrence Hall is in the background
Circa 1898 – Looking northwest towards the third St Lawrence Market North (1850-1904), from Jarvis St, just north of Front St E. St Lawrence Hall is in the background (Toronto Public Library R-6040)
1885/95 - Looking northwest towards a herd of cattle, the third St Lawrence Market North and the Cathedral Church of St James steeple from Front St E and Jarvis St
1885/95 – Looking northwest towards a herd of cattle, the third St Lawrence Market North and the Cathedral Church of St James steeple from Front St E and Jarvis St (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1478, Item 21)
Circa 1890 - Looking northwest along Jarvis St from Front St E. Notice a portion of the third St Lawrence Market North (1850-1904) in the foreground on the left and behind it, St Lawrence Hall
Circa 1890 – Looking northwest along Jarvis St from Front St E. Notice a portion of the third St Lawrence Market North (1850-1904) in the foreground on the left and behind it, St Lawrence Hall (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1441, Item 22)
May 24, 1877 – City government officials and prominent citizens at St Lawrence Market North for the unveiling of the fountain donated by Angus Morrison, Toronto's 21st mayor. The cast iron fountain for "Man and Beast" came from the Paris Exhibition and was crowned with beautiful flowers
May 24, 1877 – City government officials and prominent citizens at St Lawrence Market North for the unveiling of the fountain donated by Angus Morrison, Toronto’s 21st mayor. The cast iron fountain for “Man and Beast” came from the Paris Exhibition and was crowned with beautiful flowers (Toronto Public Library R-4405)
1800s - Sketch of the second Market in the Town of York, later Toronto (1831-1849). The structure fronted King St E, was on the west side of Jarvis St and stretched to Front St E
1800s – Sketch of the second Market in the Town of York, later Toronto (1831-1849). The structure fronted King St E, was on the west side of Jarvis St and stretched to Front St E (Landmarks of Toronto Volume 1 by J Ross Robertson – 1894)
1800s - Sketch of the first Market in the Town of York (1803-1830)
1800s – Sketch of the first Market in the Town of York (1803-1830) (Landmarks of Toronto Volume 1 by J Ross Robertson – 1894)
2021 – Looking southeast towards the temporary North Market at The Esplanade and Market St
2021 – Looking southeast towards the temporary North Market at The Esplanade and Market St
2015 - Archaeology showing original lakebed sand and 19th-century Esplanade crib wall and wharf cribbing during construction of temporary North Market at the southeast corner of The Esplanade and Market St
2015 – Archaeology showing original lakebed sand and 19th-century Esplanade crib wall and wharf cribbing during construction of temporary North Market at the southeast corner of The Esplanade and Market St (City of Toronto)
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