Toronto, Old School

My friend took me to an amazing place during our recent trip to Toronto. The St. Lawrence Market is the size of Union Station and every square inch is filled with anything your could ever need or want.

Fresh fish and clams are proudly displayed in one booth while across the isle, a vendor offers cheeses from every land. In another booth exotic clothing hangs next to a rainbow of colorful fruits in bushel baskets.

Slaughtered suckling pigs hang in roll-away coolers. Rhubarb tarts, apple pies, sausages and shrimp, cheddar cheese and yellow squash, Cornish hens, cuckoo clocks, and candies of every kind are available for a price.

In one section ice cream is scooped out in large portions. In another, people sit at small tables eating hot dogs. Around one corner, children share snacks in the childcare facility. Across the way, ham hocks are packaged and sold beside a table of newly picked mushrooms.

It is a magical place that can not fully contain all its wears. Vendors and their goods spill out to the surrounding streets. Necklaces and rings offer beauty for the buyer. Music CD’s line racks and are played loudly from one booth. Around the corner, a lonely violin echoes down one side street.

The St. Lawr
ence Market has a proud history that began in 1803 when then Governor Peter Hunter proclaimed the official designation of the “Market Block.” A short time later, the first permanent market was erected. It was a primitive wooden structure that was finally enclosed on three sides 17 years later.

The wooden building was replaced in 1831 with a brick structure but this building, along with much of the city of Toronto, was destroyed by fire in 1849. Construction on a new, improved building began immediately and was completed in 1850. This new building was named the St. Lawrence Hall and remained untouched until its renovation in 1967.

The St. Lawrence Markets remain virtually unchanged and for more than 150 years, farmers have come every Saturday to sell their meat and produce.

If you have the opportunity to visit the Market on a bright, sunny Saturday morning, you will not regret it. go with your own bags and an empty stomach and you will leave with both full.

Enjoy. I did.

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