St. Lawrence Hall and The North Market Building

The early market here was an open air gathering place, a shoreline fish market. In 1803, Governor Peter Hunter proclaimed, that the area between Front and King, and between Jarvis and Church Streets would be designated the “Market Block.” The first permanent market was built facing King shortly thereafter. This simple thirty-five by twenty foot wooden building was enclosed on the east, west and south sides in 1820. A brick building, stretching from King Street to Front Street, with an assembly hall and shops and officers at the King Street end, replaced it in 1831. For the first eleven years following its incorporation in 1834, The City of Toronto used the assembly hall and some offices as temporary quarters. This building along with much of the City, was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1849.

St. Lawrence Hall from the east

It was replaced in 1850 by the St. Lawrence Hall which still stands today. The new buildings erected here were named the St. Lawrence Buildings for Canada’s patron saint and for the local city ward, St. Lawrence. St. Lawrence Hall was the social centre of the city hosting public meetings, concerts, lectures and exhibitions. It was restored in 1967 to commemorate the centennial of Canada’s Confederation.

St Lawrence Hall rear view and North Market Building with South Market in the distance South of St. Lawrence Hall, a new north market building was also built in 1851. Its main entrance was a large archway facing Front St. At the turn of the century, the north market building was demolished and a new one completed by 1904 following recommendations of the Market Commission. The north and south markets were also connected by a canopy that spanned Front Street. Shoppers could enter off King Street and proceed all the way to the south market completely sheltered. In 1968 the north market was demolished and replaced by the present building. Farmers come every Saturday to sell their meat and produce just as they have been doing for many years. During the rest of the week, the north market building is available for rent.

Much of this information came from The St. Lawrence Market website