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St. Lawrence Market

The St. Lawrence Mar­ket neigh­bour­hood is known for its unique and vivid archi­tec­tural style as well as for the thriv­ing Mar­ket itself. The area used to serve as an indus­trial port back in the early 1900s. It had been neglected for decades when, in the 1970s, Toronto refur­bished the area.

This is where Canada’s Con­fed­er­a­tion began – in the notable St. Lawrence Hall build­ing, near the hub of today’s down­town. One of its land­marks, the Flat­iron Build­ing, was built before its younger (and more famous) brother in Man­hat­tan. Today, this thriv­ing pedestrian-friendly com­mu­nity is a rich blend of mod­ern con­do­mini­ums, his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant build­ings, and fine shop­ping, din­ing and enter­tain­ment. The neigh­bour­hood is safe, with peo­ple walk­ing about all hours of the day and night enjoy­ing enter­tain­ment, tak­ing pub­lic tran­sit, and socializing.

This his­toric neigh­bour­hood wears its her­itage on its sleeve. Down­town con­do­mini­ums and lofts in the St. Lawrence Mar­ket and Dis­tillery Dis­trict are often an intox­i­cat­ing blend of the vin­tage and con­tem­po­rary. Many still bear their orig­i­nal brick and stone facades, stately reminders of York’s indus­trial and finan­cial past.

St. Lawrence Market Real Estate Map

St. Lawrence Mar­ket Real Estate Map

With very few options to choose from, St. Lawrence Mar­ket con­dos are def­i­nitely in high demand. The St. Lawrence neigh­bor­hood was the actual down­town cen­ter and city hall loca­tion for Toronto dur­ing the late 18th and entire 19th cen­tury. The area is bounded by Yonge Street to the west, Par­lia­ment Street to the east and The Esplanade to the south. The area is also referred to the St. Lawrence Mar­ket, syn­ony­mous with the large retail ven­dor mar­ket which is the neigh­bour­hoods focal point on weekends.

The area boasts one of Toronto’s best loft con­ver­sions (the St. Lawrence Mar­ket Lofts at 81A Front Street East) and con­dos – as well as many great shops, cafés and restau­rants. This is one neigh­bor­hood to keep on the radar when search­ing for your new home.

The St. Lawrence Mar­ket neigh­bour­hood has long been con­sid­ered one of the most desir­able places to live in Toronto. The area offers a wide range of mod­ern con­ve­niences in a unique atmos­phere that owes much to its past. Today’s St. Lawrence Mar­ket is at the heart of a vibrant com­mer­cial, retail and res­i­den­tial neigh­bour­hood that is home to an amaz­ing vari­ety of restau­rants, pubs, the­atres, sports and recre­ational activ­i­ties, churches and his­toric structures.

St. Lawrence Market

St. Lawrence Market

At it’s heart, the 200+ year old his­toric St. Lawrence Mar­ket is sur­rounded by numer­ous other his­toric struc­tures such as the Good­er­ham Flat­iron build­ing and St. James’ Angli­can Cathe­dral. There is easy access to pub­lic trans­porta­tion and major highways.

One of two major mar­kets flour­ish­ing in Toronto, (the other being the grit­tier Kens­ing­ton Mar­ket) The St. Lawrence Mar­ket is one of the 25 best mar­kets in the world accord­ing to Food & Wine Mag­a­zine. Home to over 120 spe­cialty mer­chants offer­ing a cor­nu­copia of fresh food, nat­ural locally grown pro­duce and a vari­ety of goods, this empo­rium is a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for shop­pers from all over the city.

There is a dis­tinct neigh­bour­hood feel to this area, even though you’re right in the heart of down­town, min­utes to the Finan­cial Dis­trict, restau­rants, the Eaton Cen­tre and Dis­tillery Dis­trict. The res­i­den­tial build­ings are mainly low-rise and mid-rise – some with lots of ameni­ties, oth­ers with very few. This neigh­bour­hood is as diverse as it is fab­u­lous, easy to under­stand why it con­tin­ues to grow in both value and appeal.

St. Lawrence Market Condos and Lofts

St. Lawrence Mar­ket Con­dos and Lofts

Those con­sid­er­ing a move to St. Lawrence Mar­ket will have no trou­ble fur­nish­ing their new digs; espe­cially along King East, there is a high con­cen­tra­tion of furniture-meets-art shops with home décor rang­ing from prac­ti­cal condo-sized sec­tion­als to pricey, cus­tom designed mir­rors. Huge glass win­dows invite passerby to come in and try out the couches at shops such as Nor­walk Fur­ni­ture, EQ3, Tri­anon, The Pent­house Fur­nish­ings, and Italinteriors.

In 1803, fol­low­ing rec­om­men­da­tions made as early as 1796, Gov­er­nor Peter Hunter issued a procla­ma­tion that the land bounded by Front, Jarvis, King and Church streets be offi­cially des­ig­nated the “Mar­ket Block”. Since that time, the Mar­ket Block, expanded to include the land cre­ated by land­fill south of Front Street, has been a cen­tre of gov­ern­ment, com­merce and social activ­ity, first for the city of York, and then for Toronto. Since 1901, the South St. Lawrence Mar­ket has been known pri­mar­ily for its fruits, veg­eta­bles, meat and cheese, with the main and lower lev­els show­cas­ing over 50 spe­cialty ven­dors known for the vari­ety and fresh­ness of their fruit, veg­eta­bles, meat, fish, grains, baked goods and dairy prod­ucts, as well as for the unique­ness of the non-food items for sale.

The North Mar­ket is pri­mar­ily known for its Sat­ur­day Farm­ers’ Mar­ket, a tra­di­tion begun on this site in 1803 and con­tin­u­ing today, as the pro­duc­ers of South­ern Ontario bring their sea­sonal pro­duce to mar­ket in the city. On Sun­days, over 80 antique deal­ers fill the North Mar­ket and the sur­round­ing plaza, dis­play­ing their wares from dawn to 5 p.m. Admis­sion is free and the area is often crowded with peo­ple brows­ing tables filled with every­thing from hand-blown glass to antique watches.

Historical St. Lawrence Market

His­tor­i­cal St. Lawrence Market

St. Lawrence Hall, built in 1850, today houses retail busi­nesses on the ground floor and City offices on the sec­ond floor. The third floor, restored in 1967 as the City of Toronto’s Cen­ten­nial project con­tains the Great Hall which, with the ancil­lary rooms, is avail­able for rent.

The St. Lawrence Mar­ket Neigh­bour­hood also offers a vari­ety of his­tor­i­cal sites, land­marks and present day tourist des­ti­na­tions. Adding to the sights, the local Busi­ness Improve­ment Area sup­ports a sum­mer flower and Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tion pro­gram uti­liz­ing 150 Vic­to­rian lamp­posts through­out the neigh­bor­hood. Pop­u­lar local attrac­tions include the Cathe­dral Church of St. James, whose bells are heard on the hour; the Flat­iron Build­ing, often pho­tographed; the Hockey Hall of Fame; and the Sculp­ture Gar­den on King Street, show­cas­ing con­tem­po­rary sea­sonal out­door artwork.

The area just east of the Mar­ket is char­ac­ter­ized by large, impos­ing build­ings such as the home of the Cana­dian Opera Club, the behe­moth Toronto Sun head­quar­ters with its half-block wall mural, the Police Build­ing and the Impe­r­ial Oil Opera Cen­tre. The old brick fronts of these build­ings have a dis­tinctly New York feel, aug­mented by the seag­ulls whose cries lend a slightly melan­choly tinge to the air.

The neigh­bour­hood is a commuter’s delight, with the fre­quent ser­vice King street­car, Sher­bourne bus, and King sub­way all within walk­ing distance.

Con­tact Lau­rin Jef­frey for more infor­ma­tion – 416−388−1960

Lau­rin Jef­frey is a Toronto Real­tor with Cen­tury 21 Regal Realty. He did not
write these arti­cles, he just repro­duces them here for peo­ple who are
inter­ested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.


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