“One of the best markets in the world” (according to National Geographic) is a straight shot down Front Street from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) and is a delicious way to spend an hour or two.
Total time: Depending how long you take to eat, 1-3 hours.
On the 15-minute walk there, you’ll see many interesting features of new and Old Town Toronto, so have your camera ready. (*Indicates a photo opp.)
A couple of blocks east along Front Street from the MTCC, you’ll come to one of the oldest hotels in Canada, the *Fairmont Royal York. Originally owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway, it’s one of Canada’s grand railway hotels and is directly across from *Union Station, another historic building, which is undergoing a major revitalization.
Further along, you’ll come to quirky Berczy Park. With its recently-installed *dog fountain--it literally has dog sculptures all around it and a nervous-looking cat perched up high on the south-west corner--the park is a small haven for real dogs and their humans to take a break. Looming over the park is a striking *mural on the back of the *Gooderham Building (aka the Flatiron Building), with its trademark wedge-shaped design.
Walk another couple of blocks to the corner of Lower Jarvis St., and you’ll come to the St. Lawrence Market, a permanent indoor market open Tuesday through Saturday, with 100+ vendors of fresh and prepared foods of all kinds, plus a few crafts and household goods. Originally home to Toronto’s first City Hall and jailhouse, remnants of the jail can still be found in the basement level.
A must-try for breakfast or lunch, is the iconic peameal bacon on a bun. Proclaimed Toronto’s Signature Sandwich, you can get yours at the Carousel bakery or Paddington’s Pump. Or head to the south end of the building for crab cakes or a lobster roll from Buster’s Sea Cove. Vegetarians need not go without, as Mustachio in the lower level serves up a massive eggplant sandwich.
If you have time for a sit-down lunch or dinner, head to The Esplanade, the street that runs along the south side of the Market. On the north side is a row of casual restaurants and pubs--such as The Keg or Scotland Yard--all with lovely outdoor seating areas, if weather permits, but great for indoor dining too.
Stroll off your meal on the way back by taking a slight detour through Brookfield Place to view its stunning *atrium, designed by Spanish architect, Calatrava. Continue along Wellington Street where you'll glimpse what was once the tallest building in Canada, the TD Bank Tower, built in 1967 by architect Mies van der Rohe. If you venture into the courtyard in the middle of the buildings that make up the TD Centre, you’ll find *bronze cows lounging in the grass, a.k.a. “The Pasture” by sculptor Joe Fafard.
Further along Wellington you’ll turn left at Simcoe street to return to the MTCC, but as you pass by be sure to check out *Roy Thomson Hall, one of the premiere concert halls in the city.