The St. Lawrence Market was named in April 2012 as the world’s best food market by The National Geographic. It was featured as Number One among the Top Ten Best in the chapter “Outstanding Markets: Journeys to the World’s Greatest Food Bazaars” of “Food Journeys of a Lifetime – 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe,” a book published by National Geographic.
Built in 1803 and a landmark in downtown Toronto, the St. Lawrence Market is the largest indoor facility of this kind in the city. The South Market, a charming two story red brick building hosts around 120 vendors of anything edible for a great variety of cuisines: colorful organic and natural vegetables and fruits, attractive cheese, fish and meat, decadent chocolate and coffee, ancient grains, aromatic spices, health foods, restaurants and cafes.
The North Market across the street on Front, welcomes hundreds of foodies, and consumers looking for fresh produce and home-made foods, local farmers bring into the city during the summer months. The market receives over 20,000 visitors and consumers through its doors on a good Saturday.
“A Saturday morning at the St. Lawrence is an amazing experience for both, vendors and visitors”, says Nancy Manotas Ciancibello, of Manotas Organics, a corner store in the lower level of the South Market that specializes in prepared Spanish and Latin foods. “I enjoy the interest shown for the authentic and new recipes based on ancient food traditions that we display at our store.”
The Market Kitchen in the South St. Lawrence Market offers a wonderful stage for food preparation, tastings and sampling. Top chefs are frequently invited to perform at the professional Market Kitchen. Toronto is the most multicultural city in the world, with 50% of its population born outside Canada and over 140 languages and dialects spoken among its residents, besides English and French.
“We enjoy conducting food tastings and demos at the St Lawrence Market and other key locations in Toronto because you get immediate feedback from a variety of consumer profiles with different cultural backgrounds”, says Jose Labra of Flotrading, a marketing consulting firm that assists newcomers finding their right partners and distribution channels in Canada.
On January 26, Flotrading will host the next Latin American Gourmet Tasting at the St. Lawrence, event to introduce gourmet foods mainly from Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Chile. “The St. Lawrence is definitely a great tourist St Lawrence Market: the world’s number 1 destination, but also a stage for hands on market research”, said Labra.
The other top food markets featured in the National Geographic’s book are: (2) Union Square Greenmarket, New York City; (3) Castries Market, St. Lucia Island; (4) Ver-o-Peso, Belém, Brazil; (5) Mercado Central, Santiago, Chile; (6) Kreta Ayer Wet Market, Singapore; (7) Kauppatori, Helsinki, Finland; (8) Cours Saleya, Nice, France; (9) La Vucciria, Palermo, Italy and (10) Borough Market in London, England.