St. Lawrence Market, Toronto
St.Lawrence Market is popular with locals and sightseers alike. Two of the best representatives of unique local food that I found in the south building would be the peameal bacon and the Canadian mustard.
I first went into the south building, which houses various stalls selling mainly food (raw, semi-processed, processed or even ready-to-eat) such as peameal bacon, bagels, meat, cheese, pasta, seafood, staples, vegetables and even Canadian mustard! Carousel Bakery here is renowned for their peameal bacon sandwiches, though they also sell other food. The place felt clean and tidy, unlike most markets in Asia which're busier and more chaotic.
I was lucky enough to catch a farmer's market in the north building. There you can find fresh farm produce ranging from more run-of-the-mill stuff like honey, apples, plums, grapes, bell peppers, brussels sprouts, cauliflowers, eggplants, pumpkins, potatoes etc to more exotic (and frequently, splendidly colourful) fare such as kumato tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, apple cider and even whole dehaired pig carcasses strung up from their back trotters, tails waving at passer-bys.
What to buy: Highly recommend that you get a peameal bacon sandwich from above-mentioned Carousel Bakery for breakfast, a jar of Canadian mustard for a unique souvenir (put it in your check-in luggage!) and takeaway a bottle of apple cider for drinking as-you-go. If you like you could also buy some peameal bacon for eating later.
After having brunch at the Hot House Cafe' , we wanted to check out the Sunday antique market at the ST. LAWRENCE MARKET just a short walk away. Kat and I snooped at all the neat old stuff.
The area is the site of the city's original market and features fabulous historical architecture. Though popular most of the week, the market comes to life on Saturdays with local farmers, artists and artisans plying their wares. This historic area, affectionately called Old Town, also has numerous old warehouses that have been converted into residences, stores, restaurants and pubs.
Uncle George's speciality is organic sprouts and herbs.
What to buy: They also grow their own organic catnip and make it into several different kinds of toys for cats.
My cat Sumo received one as a gift recently from one of our friends and he went bananas over it. That is saying a lot because it takes quite a bit to get our chubby old guy to get moving.
St. Lawrence Market has been called one of the ten best markets in the World. While that claim is very debatable, it is certainly worth visiting for its wonderful atmosphere and for its wide range of produce.
Historically there has been a market on this location since 1796. The market is presently held in a large, grande building that dates from the 19th century. In fact the facade was actually part of second city hall, built in 1850. It was turned into a market in 1899 when a serious renovation was undertaken. It was more recently restored again in the 1970's. Today it little resembles the market that I visited with my family as a boy in the 1960's. When it was restored back in the 70's, a Market Gallery was included where there are frequently changing exhibitions featuring the history of Toronto. The Market Gallery is located on the second floor of the South Market Building. Today there are more than fifty vendors located in the St. Lawrence Market. They sell a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat products, all very fresh and of high quality.
St. Lawrence Market is actually two buildings. What most people think of as the market itself, is in fact the South Building. The north building on the other side of Front Street is in a modern building that has far less character than the south building. Still in Sundays there is a good flea market held in the north building. The South Market is open on the following days and hours:
Tues-Thurs 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Fridays 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
Saturdays 5 a.m.-5 p.m.
It is free to enter.