In 1988, Toronto City Council wanted to rescue a Queen West heritage site by making it into a destination market, similar to the St. Lawrence Market. The City signed a 50 year lease with a company that agreed to host a bakery, meat and seafood store, fruit and vegetable stand, and food stands with prepared and unprepared meals within its market.
Instead, 20 years later, we’ve got the Queen Street Market, which is a slew of moderately diverse take-out stands that, notwithstanding four walls and roof, doesn’t resemble the St. Lawrence Market in the slightest.
Until a legal issue [PDF] surfaced on today’s City Council agenda [PDF], I had no idea the City was connected with the Queen Street Market. Now that I know it is and that the provisions of the lease signed with Market Inc. mandate a more market-like market (as opposed to food court-style), I feel disappointed by what is there.
Although Market Inc. isn’t providing space to the big chains like McDonald’s and I do enjoy a meal from Sandwich Box on occasion, offering a more traditional style market would be a nice change of pace from the many other food joints in the area while providing local residents with better grocery choices and acting as another point of interest for visitors.
According to the City of Toronto’s heritage properties inventory, St. Patrick Market was built in 1912 and designated a heritage site in 1975.
Photograph by Jenilynn.