As any walk through the main streets will show, Toronto’s early history is filled with grand tales of Renaissance, Victorian, and Romanesque revival in its architecture. It is displayed eloquently in projects ranging from the bank buildings of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce at 144 King Street East as well as the Bank of Montreal at 2 Queen Street East in the downtown core to the old City Hall at 60 Queen Street West. The historic city districts, such as the recently revived Distillery District and the Market District, in which the St. Lawrence Market resides, speak of famed architects of the 19th century.
St. Lawrence Market was designed as part of the “Market Block” created in 1803 by Governor Peter Hunter preceded by recommendations as far back as 1796 for a new marketplace in what was formerly known as York. However, the south building of the St Lawrence Market, which resides on the corner of Jarvis and Front, was not always the grand marketplace that encompasses an entire city block as it does today. The south building is a testament to Canadian history and heritage as it is part of the oldest continuously operated market on the same site in North America as well as proof of the architectural survival and greatness from the 19th century.
The building was originally the first permanent city hall of Toronto designed by Henry Bowyer Lane. In 1899 when the offices became too crowded, a new city hall was built at Queen and Bay, while the building at Jarvis and Front became a grand marketplace under renovations designed by John William Siddall and remains almost the very same to this date as it was over 100 years ago.
City of Toronto. “St. Lawrence Market: History of the Market Complex.” History of the St. Lawrence Market. Web. 14 Oct. 2010. <http://www.stlawrencemarket.com/about/history/index.html>.
History Horizon Incorporated. St. Lawrence Market, North Building 92 Front St. East (at Jarvis Street) City of Toronto Stage 1 Archaeological Background Study. Rep. Toronto: Ontario Ministry of Culture, 2006. Print.
Krause, Kathryn. “St. Lawrence Market South Building.” Thesis. Toronto: Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, 1991. Print.