In Toronto, Scenes from a Market

St. Lawrence Market's diverse offerings and lively atmosphere have led some to call it the world's greatest food market

By / June 2015

St. Lawrence Market, on the eastern side of Toronto, exhibits a lively intersection of food culture. Where else can you find free-range pork from local Mennonite farmers next to Vietnamese dumplings, or New Zealand honey alongside German strudel? Ranked best food market in the world by National Geographic, the expansive arcade features artisan bakeries, fresh grocers, ingredients international and rare, as well as eateries aplenty. Local standbys include hot peameal (Canadian) bacon sandwiches with an assortment of mustard dressings. Confectioners peddle finger-friendly custards, another traditional treat, with a luxuriously simple filling and flaky crust. The already-expansive market nearly doubles in size every Saturday at 5 am when the opposite side of Front Street becomes a farmer’s market. Sunday brings the Antique Market, plus innumerable vendors creating and displaying their own wares. Open daily except Mondays, the market ( is a great place to explore global cuisine, people watch, or simply scratch off the week’s grocery list. — BM


Photograph by Brian McKannaArtwork of Toronto’s signature CN Tower on display outside the market.


Photograph by Brian McKannaFiddleheads, indigenous to northeast North America, fill the Farmer’s Market stalls along with other fresh local produce, such as rhubarb and asparagus.


Photograph by Brian McKannaEveryday Gourmet Coffee Roasters, in the basement of St. Lawrence Market, attracts a steady crowd of patrons in search of caffeine and fresh roasted bean.


Photograph by Brian McKannaLocal artisans exhibit paintings on Front Street across from the market.


Photograph by Brian McKannaSalmon heads for sale.


Photograph by Brian McKanna
A Mennonite family sells fresh-cut pork, jerky and handmade sausages from their farm.


Photograph by Brian McKanna


Brian McKanna is a regular contributor to EthnoTraveler.