St Lawrence Market South – One of the World’s Greatest Markets

1895 - Former City Hall on Front St E (1844 to 1899), now St Lawrence Market, looking southeast
1895 – Former City Hall on Front St E (1844 to 1899), now St Lawrence Market, looking southeast

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.

Extensive Renovations

1975 - St Lawrence Market under renovation, looking southeast
1975 – St Lawrence Market under renovation, looking southeast (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 16, Item 13)

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

2020 - St Lawrence Market at Front St E & Jarvis St, looking southwest
2020 – St Lawrence Market at Front St E & Jarvis St, looking southwest

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.

St Lawrence Market South Photos

1972 - St Lawrence Market at Front St E & Jarvis St, looking southwest
1972 – St Lawrence Market at Front St E & Jarvis St, looking southwest
2020 - St Lawrence Market at Front St E & Jarvis St, looking southwest
2020 – St Lawrence Market at Front St E & Jarvis St, looking southwest
1980's - The interior of the St Lawrence Market with the former City Hall Council Chambers windows in back, looking north
1980’s – The interior of the St Lawrence Market with the former City Hall Council Chambers windows in back, looking north
2020 - Inside St Lawrence Market looking up at former City Hall Council Chambers
2020 – Inside St Lawrence Market looking up at former City Hall Council Chambers
1978 - The entrance and facade of the former City Hall at St Lawrence Market
1978 – The entrance and facade of the former City Hall at St Lawrence Market
1975 - View of the interior of St Lawrence Market under restoration
1975 – View of the interior of St Lawrence Market under restoration
1975 - Side view of St Lawrence Market under renovation, looking southeast
1975 – Side view of St Lawrence Market under renovation, looking southeast
1975 - St Lawrence Market sign during restoration and The Cathedral of St James steeple, looking northwest
1975 – St Lawrence Market sign during restoration and The Cathedral of St James steeple, looking northwest
1975 - St Lawrence Market under renovation, looking southeast
1975 – St Lawrence Market under renovation, looking southeast (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 16, Item 13)
2020 - St Lawrence Market sign
2020 – St Lawrence Market sign
1974 - Overhead view of St Lawrence Market and surrounding area from the 11th floor of the King Edward Hotel, looking southeast
1974 – Overhead view of St Lawrence Market and surrounding area from the 11th floor of the King Edward Hotel, looking southeast
1973 - Overhead view of St Lawrence Market and harbour, looking southeast from the MacKenzie Building
1973 – Overhead view of St Lawrence Market and harbour, looking southeast from the MacKenzie Building
1971 - View of the loading area at the south end of St Lawrence Market, looking northeast
1971 – View of the loading area at the south end of St Lawrence Market, looking northeast
2020 - View of the loading area at the south end of St Lawrence Market, looking northeast
2020 – View of the loading area at the south end of St Lawrence Market, looking northeast
1968 - Aerial view of the St Lawrence Market area looking east from the Toronto-Dominion Centre
1968 – Aerial view of the St Lawrence Market area looking east from the Toronto-Dominion Centre
1955 - Chestnut vendor outside St Lawrence Market (Library and Archives Canada e010956655)
1955 – Chestnut vendor outside St Lawrence Market (Library and Archives Canada e010956655)
1955 - Fruit vendor and patron inside St Lawrence Market (Library and Archives Canada e010959727)
1955 – Fruit vendor and patron inside St Lawrence Market (Library and Archives Canada e010959727)
1952 - Canopy over Front St E connecting St Lawrence Market North to St Lawrence Market South, looking east (Toronto Public Library r-4967)
1952 – Canopy over Front St E connecting St Lawrence Market North to St Lawrence Market South, looking east (Toronto Public Library r-4967)
1904 - Flower, fruit and vegetable show at St Lawrence Market
1904 – Flower, fruit and vegetable show at St Lawrence Market
1895 - Former City Hall on Front St E (1844 to 1899), now St Lawrence Market, looking southeast
1895 – Former City Hall on Front St E (1844 to 1899), now St Lawrence Market, looking southeast
1895 - Illustration of City Hall, now St Lawrence Market
1895 – Illustration of City Hall, now St Lawrence Market
1844 - Former City Hall on Front St E (1844 to 1899), now St Lawrence Market, looking east (Toronto Public Library r-2314)
1844 – Former City Hall on Front St E (1844 to 1899), now St Lawrence Market, looking east (Toronto Public Library r-2314)
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