Earlier in the month Sean and I headed north to Toronto for the weekend and spent a huge chunk of time at the St. Lawrence Market. Well. Let me tell you, I was in foodie heaven.

St. Lawrence Farmers Market
St. Lawrence Farmers Market - Historic building with a great use

One of the first things I hit when I visit a city is their farmers market. It’s where all the vibrancy of a city is for me. The smells, the sounds, all culminating in one fantastic building. St. Lawrence totally lived up to my expectations. They had it all. Artisanal cheeses, local meat, fruits and vegetables, seafood, bakeries, flowers, preserves, artists, craftsmen, it was all there and it was beautiful.

It was bustling!

The market has been in operation since 1803 and is actually owned by the City of Toronto. Imagine that. A city owned market. Just take a look at some of the photos here to get a sense of how wildly successful St. Lawrence is and the variety of what they offer.

Meat vendor inside the market.
The market had two levels

Product samples

This guy is making fresh bagels!

Homemade pasta

One of two seafood vendors

An organic meat vendor
Beans and nuts and spices, oh my!

From what I could gather, the majority of people visiting the markets either walked, took public transit or biked it. There were no unsightly lots paved for parking from what I could see, but I do know that for those that did drive parking was available in the surrounding area.

Adriano and I talk about farmers markets quite often. When we visit cities, a market is at the top of our list of things to see. We had the opportunity to see how cities like Amsterdam, Rome, Cork, Ireland, and Columbus, Ohio have established markets in their communities and made them successful.

We would love to see a vibrant, creative, bustling market within our city centre that caters to everyone. A place where you can have a chat with the guy who grows your vegetables or the people that actually make the cheese you’re purchasing. The people behind the counter had a great deal of knowledge about the products they were offering.

Hopefully that will soon become a reality. Adriano has been working on a business/marketing plan for a potential market in downtown Windsor. It’s something he’s discussed numerous times with various individuals. With the right partnerships and collective spirit, I believe this could be a great success and add another element to our downtown.

There is so much to offer in regards to food within this area that there is no excuse for not having a market in our city centre. Farmers markets are making a resurgence in cities all around the world. Why is it taking so long for us to catch on?