The St Lawrence Market South building is located at 93 Front St E, at Jarvis St (the southwest corner), in the St Lawrence neighbourhood of Toronto.
Once Toronto’s First Permanent City Hall
The Great Fire of Toronto in 1849 destroyed much of the city. It did however spare Toronto’s first permanent City Hall which was built in 1844 and designed by Henry Bower Lane. The multi-use municipal building had a police station on the ground floor with Council Chambers and the Mayor’s Office on the upper floor. There were jail cells and a corn exchange in the basement. In the back of the structure, there were stalls to sell fresh goods.
Throughout the mid and late 1800s, offices and stores were added to the building and there were alterations to the façade. In 1899, City Hall moved out when what we know today as Old City Hall at Queen St W and Bay St was completed.
At the turn of the 20th century, the then municipal building underwent extensive alterations and additions to turn it into a large marketplace. John Wilson Siddall was the architect behind the renovations. A portion of the first City Hall was kept and incorporated into the structure. The cupola, pediment and side sections were removed. A huge new steel truss roof was added over the entire structure.
Saved from Demolition
In the 1970s, the St Lawrence Market South narrowly escaped demolition thanks to a group of citizens who helped save the historic gem. Heritage status was given in 1973. The structure had undergone renovations which were completed in 1978.
St Lawrence Market Today
Today, St Lawrence Market is a huge draw for both residents of the City and tourists. There are over 100 vendors selling produce, baked goods, meats, fish, dairy products, artisan goods and more.
For further info on the history, gallery, antique market, hours and tours, visit the St Lawrence Market website.
Did You Know?
- When you enter the South Market through the archways on Front St East, you’re walking through the entrance of the first permanent City Hall. On the façade, it’s the centre front portion that’s outlined with white stone trim.
- The Georgian style, first City Hall structure is an example of work created by one of the City’s first architects, Henry Bower Lane. Mr Lane also designed Little Trinity Church, St George the Martyr Church, portions of Osgoode Hall and more.
- The St Lawrence Market Complex is made up of three main buildings – the South Market, the North Market and St Lawrence Hall.
- Remnants of the old jail can be found in the lower level of the South Market.
- Right in Toronto, this landmark is considered one of the world’s greatest markets.
- Toronto’s new City Hall is located at 100 Queen St W and Bay St.