Did you know that the building at 238 Queen St West was once St Patrick’s Market? In 1836, D’Arcy Boulton Jr bequeathed land to the City with the promise that it would be used as a market open to all for perpetuity. It was Toronto’s second, named after the ward. St Lawrence Market opened about 50 years prior.
Mr Boulton was from a high-profile family. He trained as a lawyer; however, he worked as a merchant. Mr Boulton and his family lived at the Grange, which is now part of the Art Gallery of Ontario.
The Earlier St Patrick’s Market Structures
The first St Patrick’s Market structure was built in the late 1830s. It was of frame construction and served as the west end’s first fire hall. In 1854, a two-storey structure with Italianate features replaced the first building. The main front of the building had a tower with market stalls behind. This building was destroyed by fire in 1912.
That same year, the present-day building was constructed. City architect G.F.W. Price designed the brick building, and it remained St. Patrick’s Market until 1929. From 1929 to 1988, the building was a chicken slaughterhouse called A Stork & Sons. The building received heritage status in 1975.
Queen Live Fresh Food Market
In 1989, the City entered a 50-year lease with a company to manage and maintain the building as a mini food market. For years, Queen Live Fresh Food Market was home to various independent fast food outlets. In 2017, the market was temporarily shut down by Toronto Public Health, however, the market did not recover and was shuttered. In late 2019, the City won a court battle to take back control of the empty market. Located downtown, there are plans to re-imagine and revitalize the underutilized historic property.