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Bustling St. Lawrence Market

St. Lawrence Market. (Photo by Dane Brian.)

The historic halls of St. Lawrence Market (Photo by Dane Brian).

Our offices here at Where Toronto are located at Queen Street East and Church Street, just a few blocks north of the St. Lawrence Market, a bustling indoor market with independent vendors carrying fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as cheese shops, bakeries, butcher shops, fish mongers and endless options for take out. (You could eat your way around the globe here between the souvlaki, sushi, sweet and sour chicken balls, pasta, pizza and, of course, the legendary peameal bacon on a bun from Carousel Bakery—your trip to Toronto isn’t complete unless you’ve had one.)

Even though it’s only a five minute walk to the market, it feels far away, and, well, I confess to being a bit lazy. But today it was beautiful and warm outside so I made my way to the market during my lunch hour with the intent of picking up some fresh vegetables for a weekend barbecue. Apparently many others also had the same idea as the market was a bustling cornucopia of sights, sounds and smells.

Each time I visit the market, I’m bowled over by the magnitude of choices—who knew that there were so many varieties of feta cheese—as well as how fresh and colourful the fruits and vegetables are, or how the fish is so fresh, the smell of the salty ocean water still lingers in the air. (If you’re an adventurous foodie, many of the vendors will often give you a sample before you make your purchase. If you’re not sure about that havarti, you can have a little nibble before making your selection.)

I would’ve spent all afternoon happily wandering the market if I didn’t have an inbox full of work to do. But before I returned to the office, I made sure to visit some of my (many) favourite shops. If you find yourself at the market, try one—or all—of these places. I promise, you won’t regret it.

Future Bakery—Flaky butter pecan tarts and the most rich, chocolate cakes you’ve ever tasted.

St. Urbain Bagel—Stop by here first thing in the morning and you won’t regret the early wakeup call. You’ll be well-rewarded with a warm, airy bagel right from the oven with soft cream cheese.

Olympic Cheese Mart—This was the original cheese shop at the market and is run by a very personable family. I can never resist picking up some of their homemade chipotle dip.

St. Lawrence Pizza & Ice Cream—If you’re feeling peckish—or a whole lot hungry—this is the place to visit for fresh, hearty pasta with a big ladle of homemade pasta sauce.

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