I shop at a supermarket, but have rarely been to a truly Super Market. In the heart of downtown Toronto is the Saint Lawrence Market. The market, founded in 1803, is the easily the size of any big box store and is filled with hundreds of vendors. The first thing you notice when you walk into the large brick building is lots of people pulling their grocery carts behind them, each overflowing with fresh produce and fresh bread. Saint Lawrence is a locals’ market. The population of downtown Toronto hasn’t abandoned their individual market vendors for the allure of national grocery store chains (yet) and after a quick walk around you’ll see why. The soaring ceiling gives even the most claustrophobic among us a since of space while walking along the crowded market floor.
The second thing you notice is the color; an explosion of reds, greens and yellows surround you as you walk into the produce section. I was even tempted to fill a bag with fresh produce, and as my wife will tell you, for me eating a salad is an accomplishment.
The produce isn’t the only attraction, the fresh bread, meat and cheese are there to fill up you cart, too. We even found a vendor selling every baking accessory you could ever need if you chose to make your own bread and cookies.
If you’re a tourist, you don’t really have the option of cooking your own meals; most hotels frown on you setting fire to their rooms. I suggest eating at the market or grabbing an apple or some strawberries to go.
Have you ever had a fresh bagel? You won’t find a fresher one than at the shop at the market. I stood transfixed watching the bagel maker slide a six-foot pallet of bagels into the oven then scoop them up with ease and dump them into the bin. Amanda will tell you the bagel she got was the best she’s ever had.
I chose to go to the set of shops downstairs for my breakfast. I got a made-to-order sandwich (as in we watched them fry the eggs after placing the order) and downed it quickly. The multitude of eat-in options is one of the main reasons I recommend a visit to Saint Lawrence Market.
Even if you’re in Toronto for just a day you should stop and take a taste of Saint Lawrence Market.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 8 am to 6 pm
Friday: 8 am to 7 pm
Saturday: 5 am to 5 pm. (South Market and Farmer’s Market)
Closed Sundays and Mondays.