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 ’70s, 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.
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.
This 22 storey building with only 6 suites per floor, is located on Wellington Street East between Yonge and Church. Polished granite exterior and dusky smoked windows are highlighted by a cascading water sculpture in front, during the summer months. The renovated lobby exudes a stately air and residents and visitors are greeted by a professional concierge here, before proceeding into the well regarded and maintained building. There are 120 suites in six different layouts, varying from one bedroom up to 1844 square feet in a 2 bedroom + den. Some of the suites above the 19th floor have the ultimate in coziness, a wood-burning fireplace. The amenities include concierge and 24 Hour security, a party room and lounge area, billiards room, library, meeting room, exercise room, racquetball, an indoor pool and whirlpool.
The Wellington is an ideal building for professionals or empty nesters. All the key life support elements are only minutes away: the St. Lawrence Market, the 24-hour Metro (formerly Dominion), theatres (The Sony Centre, Can Stage, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, Roy Thompson Hall), sports at the ACC & Rogers Centre, The Distillery District, Union Station, Metro Convention Centre and the Entertainment District along with a variety of restaurants that cater to many different tastes. There are many shops & boutiques on Front and Yonge Streets. Though the streets are pedestrian-friendly, reminiscent of European avenues with landscaped islands making street crossings easy, longer distances are also easily achieved, with the DVP and Gardiner Expressway nearby, while the subway and streetcar are virtually around the corner.
Olde York is located at 160 Frederick Street. The complex, comprised of two 10-storey buildings (the second being 25 George Street), includes an indoor pool, gym, squash court, sauna, lounge and concierge. The classy duo houses approximately 100 massive suites ranging in size from 2100 square feet to 2600 square feet, many upgraded, just a stone’s throw from the Market. The living areas are spacious and every suite has a fireplace and at least two bedrooms! Penthouses can have ceilings up to 10 feet high. Some of the best-situated suites have an unobstructed view of the financial district. Amenities include an exercise room, indoor swimming pool, recreation room, sauna and squash court. Opposite the building, at George Street, Market Place houses a variety of shops including dry cleaners, PetCuisine and a tanning spa. On the southwest corner, a strip of casual pubs, trendy chain restaurants such as Spring Rolls (chic atmosphere, patio, Thai/Asian fusion; pad thai, $) and coffee shops ranging from humble Tim Hortons to chi-chi Lettieri, continues for two city blocks.
Residents need not venture further than their own building to meet some of their daily needs, as a Starbucks, Subway sandwich shop, sushi restaurant, and designer eyewear shop are at street level. The huge Rogers video at the corner offers a wide selection of movies and games.
A 24/7 Metro store, a multiplex cinema, the Hot House Café restaurant, a branch of TD Canada Trust, and a shoe repair store are all within Market Square. The Metro contains a pharmacy and a branch of the Bank of Montreal, with additional ATMs nearby for convenience.
This impressive duo (completed by the second building, at 80 Front Street East, two blocks east of Yonge) houses 310 condo apartments. Large open floor plans and multi storey layouts are highlights of these 800 to 2800 square foot units. Building amenities include a party room, exercise room, and rooftop terraces, plus the year round benefit of an indoor swimming pool located on the 10th floor and surrounded by glass, so that it offers spectacular views of the city and large, open inner courtyard. A hot tub and a mixed sauna are located near the pool and there is a sauna in each of the change rooms. The building also boasts a 24-hour concierge. One of the first condo buildings in Toronto, Market Square, with its three bedroom penthouses, is not for the financially challenged.
Residents enjoy the spectacular 8,000 square foot professionally landscaped rooftop deck with custom furniture, gazebo and barbecues. Other decadent amenities include the extra large indoor rooftop swimming pool, heated spa and saunas, the library with custom bookcases, a fully equipped exercise room, squash court, and spacious party room with complete kitchen. The secure underground residents’ parking and concierge desk manned 24 hours a day, add a feeling of safety and comfort.
Market Square Condos is adjacent to the theatre district, shops, bookstores, cafes and trendy restaurants. Downtown workers can cut the commute, as the address is easy walking distance to Toronto’s financial district!
81A Front Street
These true “hard lofts” in this converted 4-storey Heritage Building are in one of the most convenient locations of the city, in the heart of the St. Lawrence Market and just a short walk from Union Station. Of course, the Financial District is also steps, making lunch at home during the work week a realistic option! Expect to see exposed brick and duct work, wood posts, beams, hardwood floors, granite counters and more. Sizes of the St Lawrence Market Lofts range from 593 square feet to 1290 square feet, with studios starting at approximately $200K – truly great value for a true loft created from a 140-year-old building.
New Times Square – 109 Front Street East
New Times Square represents the opportunity to live in an incomparable setting with effortless access to Toronto’s finest shops, the 24 Hour “Front Street Market” now in 80 Front Street East ~ Market Square, fun & fashionable restaurants like Richtree (Movenpick, individual stations providing a huge range of fresh foods & hot Euro-inspired dishes, $$), Le Papillon (relaxed French brasserie atmosphere since 1974, $) the Hummingbird theatre, galleries and entertainment venue of all varieties. The King & Yonge subway station is one of Toronto’s most active and a short walk from Times Square. Amenities include a magnificent roof-top terrace with barbecues, a wonderful exercise room with a whirlpool and sauna, a spacious party room, billiards room, and 24-hour concierge. Some of the suites overlook the interior private courtyard. The building is pet friendly, a big relief to downsizers and animal lovers. In total, 109 Front Street East contains 375 units ranging in size from 550 sq. ft. to 1,300 sq. ft. Some of the units have been upgraded, with veined marble flooring in the kitchens and baths. Most units have balconies or terraces, and the two-storey loft-style units have both.
95 Lombard Street
Located near St. James Park, St. James Square houses only sixty, one-bedroom condo apartments. Units range from almost 800 square feet to a bit more than 1,000 square feet. Residents of this exclusive building keep fit in the well-appointed fitness room or entertain friends in the party room. A mere five suites occupy each floor of this brick building, lending a feeling of community that is the exact opposite of the stereotypical anonymous condo living. Completed in 1988, the building is a Ronto Development Corporation project.
Up and Coming
If you love the neighbourhood but can’t seem to get in, rest assured that more condominium units will soon be available!
- Market Wharf by award-winning developer Context is coming soon! The complex will include flats, ‘water’ suites, towns and penthouses to suit every budget. Standard to all suites, quality features include porcelain tile flooring in the foyers, kitchens and baths; stainless steel appliances, quartz counters and porcelain tile backsplashes in the kitchens; 9 foot ceilings and ensuite laundry. The project incorporates a lengthy list of environmentally friendly practices conducive to saving energy and water, as well as organic recycling. There will be a green roofs and terraces landscaped with drought-resistant vegetation to reduce the urban heat island effect. Understanding that the corporate can mix with the environmentally kind, Market Wharf will have a fully equipped boardroom for its professional residents’ morning meetings, as well as the standard condo amenities, a yoga studio and his & hers steam rooms.
- Those considering a move to St. Lawrence Market will have no trouble furnishing their new digs; along Sherbourne especially, 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.
- The Modern on Richmond at Sherbourne, by Cityview Homes and Dutoit Architects, will be a 17-floor glass and brick complex with 343 suites devoted to trendy living, with Euro-chic kitchens and spa-like baths. Sizes range from studiosto two bedrooms, an all have French balconies and/or balconies or terraces. Amenities will include a resident’s guest suite, visitor parking, bike storage, 24-hour concierge, and access to The Mod Club which is comprised of party lounge, catering kitchen, bar, billiards, exercise room, co-ed steam & dry sauna. They will also enjoy the M-Lounge, is a stylish rooftop terrace with dining, BBQ area, plunge pools and cabanas.
- Bauhaus Condos on Sherbourne at King, will be an18 storey luxury building with 147 suites rising out of a stunning 3 storey Heritage building reconstructed by award winning Prish Jain of TACT Design Inc, with interior design to be completed by award winning Mike Niven Interior Design Inc. The suites will feature dramatic floor to ceiling double glazed windows, with private rooftop patios for penthouse suites. Standard amenities include fully secured access with concierge, parking and storage lockers available, private residents’ lounge with fully integrated fireplace, a designer decorated hotel-style guest suite, and executive style meeting room.
- The recent emphasis on ‘green’ construction hasn’t been ignored here – in fact Bauhaus exceeds City of Toronto GREEN building standards: suites will be individually metered for energy consumption, and this LEED® registered building will boast a multi-sorter recyclable waste system, low maintenance green roof, low VOC paints, dual flush toilets, low flow faucets and showerheads, Energy Star® washers and dryers, fully integrated whisper quiet dishwashers with delayed-start green feature, environmentally friendly flooring (carpet, hardwood, tile), high efficiency, low emission thermal double glazed windows, an Auto-share program located in the building, in suite heat pump units allowing for independent control of heating and/or cooling year-round, and so much more.
The St. Lawrence Market, located west of Jarvis Street, between King Street East and the Esplanade, is owned by the City of Toronto. The City operates several programs at the Complex: the Farmers’ Market, Market Carts, Occasional Use, Special Events, Rental Facilities and Permanent Tenancies.
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.
In March 1979, The Market Gallery of the City of Toronto Culture Division opened as the official exhibition centre for the display and storage of the City’s art and archival collections. Located inside the South St. Lawrence Market on the south-west corner of Front Street East and Jarvis Street, The Market Gallery is on the second floor in the original council chamber of what was once Toronto’s City Hall.
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.
Every other day, the 10,000 square feet of modern showroom space in the North Market is available to rent for promotional functions, flea markets, displays, large social gatherings, meetings and exhibitions.
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.
Inside The Market and St. Lawrence District
It would be remiss not to better showcase the incredible array of products available at the St. Lawrence Market itself. People come from all over to shop here. In addition to outstanding pastries and baked goods, cheese, dairy, eggs, delicatessens, flowers and plants, fruit and vegetables, gourmet teas and coffees, meats, organic products, poultry, caviar and seafood, all so fresh that many commercial vendors shop here themselves, there are also seasonal products like Christmas trees and wreaths; specialty items; and restaurants, snack bars and take-out food ranging from crepes to pasta and Chinese.
Often the neighbourhood is referenced only for the Market. As if this thriving hub were not enough, there is a lot more to the neighbourhood! This lively, exciting area boasts a hip night life where friends meet for live theatre, music, entertainment and cinema. Within the heart of the neighbourhood, find the SONY Centre for the Performing Arts, the largest performing arts venue in Canada with 3200 seats, and an historical and cultural landmark in Toronto which is operated for the benefit of the people of Toronto and the continuation of cultural diversity and entertainment excellence in Canada. The St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts features some of the city’s best live entertainment including theatre, music, operetta, musicals, dance, spoken word and comedy. Moviegoers appreciate the Rainbow Cinemas Market Square at 80 Front Street, which shows First Run films at an affordable price. The Bier Markt offering over 100 brands of beer from 24 countries, and C’est What where notable international acts such as The Tea Party have appeared, are great live entertainment alternatives. Of course, Roy Thomson Hall, Massey Hall and the Lorraine Kisma Theatre for Young People (LKTYP) are all nearby.
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 neighbourhood is a commuter’s delight, with the frequent service King streetcar, Sherbourne bus, and King subway all within walking distance. Adult students can easily walk to George Brown College, and everyone appreciates close proximity to such big box conveniences as the Sobey’s at Princess Street, the 24-hour Rabba, Pro Hardware, and Staples Business Depot (all on Front Street east of Sherbourne). 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 Future of the Neighbourhood
If you enjoy great food, live theater, interesting wine and fine dining, the St. Lawrence Market could be your area. Within a 10 minute walk of any of the condominium buildings in this guide, you can find dozens of great restaurants (try The HotHouse Cafe for a wonderful award-winning Sunday brunch and a daily menu considered to be as creative as it is inexpensive – and yet with outstanding food, $) This area is a great place to live for urbanites seeking remarkable culture, affordable and architecturally interesting living spaces, and close proximity to all the amenities the city core has to offer.