St. Patrick's Market
St. Patrick's Market is one of three public markets created in Toronto in the 19th century along with St. Lawrence Market and St. Andrew's Market. The lot at what is now 238 Queen Street West (at John Street) was designated for a public market for St. Patrick's Ward in 1836 when D’Arcy Boulton bequeathed the property to the city with the express provision that it was to be used forever as a public market. The original market building, a two story structure with a tower, was built in 1854. The current single story structure was built in 1912, after the previous structure was destroyed by fire, and was leased from 1929 or earlier to A. Stork & Sons, a live poultry slaughterhouse which offered "fresh killed poultry and cut up chickens" for sale on the premises. Stork & Sons closed in the 1980s and, in 1988, the city signed a 50-year lease with Market Inc. to host a "exciting retail mini food market" with "an ambiance similar to the St. Lawrence Market", including a bakery, and stands selling meat, seafood, fruit, vegetables and "food stands with prepared and unprepared meals within its market".
The leasing agreement has proved controversial as the company that won the contract, and rebranded the building "the Queen Street Market" for several years, operated it more along the lines of a food court, with tenants that included various take out stands and, at one point, a Ben & Jerry's. Responding to pressure from the city, Market Inc's owner, George Friedman, renovated the building, restored the St. Patrick's name, at least in part, and promised to "reopen as a market offering of different types of foods - both raw and ready to eat."
By 2011, Friedman was promising to turn the market into a food court, to be called "The Grove", focusing on healthy organic food with a policy requiring vendors to refrain from using "artificial flavours, colouring and hormones," renting to a variety of vendors who would offer unprepared food as well as those offering take-out, and to run an open air farmer's market in the space behind the building.
However, by 2015, the venue, now called the Queen Street Live Fresh Food Market, was largely empty aside from a tea shop, the BakeryHaus bakery, the Jerk Joint which is a jerk chicken take out stand, and a dessert shop specializing in chocolate and baklava.
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