In 1815 Toronto was named York and Old Town neighbourhood was the first neighbourhood to be named. The city was expanding quickly so the residents called the old neighbourhood “Old Town”, and not surprising the new neighbourhood was called “New Town”. Today Old Town in defined by the following boundaries: from Queen Street in the north to Front Street in the south and from Church Street in the west to Parliament Street in the east. The boundaries are not entirely straight lines.
There are numerous heritage buildings in the area including the famous St. Lawrence Market which is located at the corner of Front and Jarvis street. This was the original site of Toronto’s first city hall and jail. Today the St. Lawrence Market is Toronto’s largest indoor market and offers a vast variety of the traditional farmers market products including fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and cheese. However once you step inside you will find a treasure trove of food and gift ideas. Be prepared to go on an empty stomach and grab a peameal back bacon sandwich at the Carousel Bakery or grilled calamari at Buster’s Sea Cove on the second floor then head outside to a picnic table for lunch. Domino Foods is a great candy store on the lower level which carries large variety of bulk candies and sweets including a great selection licorice.
St. Lawrence Market (known as the South Market) is open Tuesday through Saturday, however, on Saturday the North Market is also open and full of local farmers selling fresh organic Ontario grown products as well as an excellent baking selection of pies, cakes and homemade cookies.
The Great Fire of 1839 destroyed a number of buildings in Old Town, however, you can still find many historic buildings and churches in the area. Most notable are the not-to-be-missed amazing Gooderham “FlatIron Building” where Wellington and Front Streets meet and the St. James Cathedral at Church and King Streets.
A walk along Front Street brings a good selection of restaurants to choose from including: Ces’t What? (located in the cellar of a 19th century building with 42 craft beers on tap and made from scratch comfort food); the Jersey Giant (considered a local Toronto hangout); Le Papillion (open since 1974 serving French cuisine including steak Frites, Tourtiere and Crepes) and the Sultan’sTent (French-Moroccan cuisine complete with belly dancers).
Across the street from the restaurant strip is Berczy Park where in August this year they are running William Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. The cost : “pay what you can”. Also new this year free Music and Movies in St. James Park (King and Jarvis Streets) from 9:00 to 11:00pm.
Like many other neighbourhoods in Toronto Old Town is a mixture of the old and new. With cultural venues such as the Sony Centre for the Preforming Arts this a wonderful area to shop, eat and explore.
Directions from Making Waves Boatel to St Lawrence Market: It takes about 30 minutes to walk to the market. It’s a lovely walk along the waterfront to Jarvis street and then walk north on Jarvis two blocks. You can also take the bus to the subway station and walk east on Front Street to the market.