St. Lawrence Market

I was going through some pictures I took last year, looking for some material and inspiration for today’s post when I found some that I took at the St. Lawrence Market one day whilst shopping.

I LOVE the St. Lawrence Market. When we first moved to Toronto and had just finished viewing the apartment we now live in, we decided to take a walk around the neighbourhood to see what it was like and if we wanted to live here. Well, we stumbled across the market completely accidentally and went inside to check it out. I hadn’t even known of its existence prior to this. As we wandered around its hallowed aisles, taking in the sights, the smells, and samples from various vendors, I was in awe of its amazingness. You could find almost anything there. I knew after a few minutes that I wanted that apartment because I wanted to live by that market.

A little history: from 1845 to 1899, the market was Toronto’s first city hall, newly incorporated from the Town of York. The building housed not only the municipal offices, but a police station on the main level and a jail in the basement, as well as shops on both floors and a market area in the rear which featured fresh produce and poultry. About six years after it was completed, reports were made that the jail cells continuously flooded, and they had to be relocated to elsewhere in the city. Eventually the civic offices became overcrowded and the building was vacated in favour of the “new” City Hall at Bay and Queen streets (now known as old city hall). Since 1899 and to the present, it has been known as the St. Lawrence Market and has been renovated several times, but still retains its old-world charm.

The North Market building houses a farmer’s market each Saturday and an Antique Market each Sunday, but the South market is open for business every Tuesday-Saturday. The merchants feature everything from baked goods, spices, meats, seafood, cheeses, specialty items, produce and almost any other edible thing you can think of. It also has a kitchen gadget store, in case you need to pick up ramekins or a meat thermometer while you’re getting your chicken. They offer cooking classes and tours and more.

I have my fave little vendors that I tend to frequent, and have a little story about each one. First, I always get my meats from Brown Brothers meats, mostly because of the excellent quality, but also because there’s a lesbian butcher there that calls me cute names and I with whom I can flirt to get a good price. Once I got a $37 rack of lamb for $30 even, and she threw in 2 chicken breasts for nothing. My favourite cheese monger is way in the back, almost obscured from view, and there’s always like, 12 guys working behind the counter, but I always end up with the same one. He is so knowledgeable, I can go in and tell him what I’m making and he will pick out the perfect cheese, usually something I’ve never heard of, along with limitless samples. I prefer my veggies and fresh herbs from downstairs in the basement, where the cashiers still happily bag my goods – but if it’s a Saturday, I head across the street to the farmer’s market. Finally, there is the Lively Life, a miscellaneous mercantile store in which I found my treasured Ajvar. I’ve never walked into that place and not found what I was looking for. They have everything. Masa corn tortillas. Ancho chile powder. Edible lavender. Garam masala. Really, really nice expensive chocolate. Nearby to this is the rice booth, where you can buy about ten thousand different types of rice. Ok, I exaggerate, but they do have many varieties, including that chinese secret black rice or whatever it’s called. Help me out here, people, if you know what it is. I get all of my seafood from Domenic’s, because one time I ordered up a nice piece of swordfish, and while he was wrapping it for me, I realized that I had dropped my last 20 bucks somewhere and I had no more money. He said just to take it and pay him back next time. I must have looked really pouty.

I don’t get to the market nearly enough – but when I do go, it’s pure Sophie-time. I am in my element. I just have to make sure to bring lots of money.

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Categories: Food, Photography

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  1. Niçoise salad | Soph n' Stuff - June 23, 2013

    […] are only $2.99, and I didn’t feel like spending an exorbitant amount on them at my beloved St. Lawrence Market where they are sure to be […]

  2. A farmer’s market feast | Soph n' Stuff - June 16, 2013

    […] I first discovered my love of markets when we moved from BC to Toronto 5 years ago. We lived in an apartment downtown, which I hated, except for the fact that it was within walking distance of the St. Lawrence Market. […]

  3. Riga, Latvia « Soph n' Stuff - December 1, 2010

    […] then another trip through the Central Market. God, this place was amazing. It puts my beloved St. Lawrence to shame! It is made up of a bunch of old zeppelin hangars, each one with different types of goods […]

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