When you wake up on a Saturday morning to a growling stomach and a grocery list running through your head, you know exactly where to start the weekend.
Your senses will lead you to St. Lawrence Market, a food emporium that National Geographic called the world’s best market, brought to life by farmers, grocers, and merchants selling everything from local produce to hot meals to kitchenware. An historic landmark in the heart of the city — specifically, at the corner of Front St. East and Jarvis St. — this one-stop shop is a hub of buzzing activity almost every day of the week, but you know it’s Saturday when the north building transforms itself into a farmers market for visitors (like you) who demand nothing but the freshest produce.
But you’ll need fuel for the shopping extravaganza, of course, so head to the south building for your breakfast fix. As you make your way past each stall, resisting temptation becomes a monumental challenge. You’re distracted by the famous peameal bacon sandwiches proudly displayed at Carousel Bakery, as well as the sight of the crispy, gold-battered Boston Blue fish and chips at Buster’s Sea Cove. And what about the buns stuffed with hearty, Italian veal parmigiana from Uno Mustachio? Better save that for lunch — instead, head to Paddington’s Pump, the only sit-down restaurant in St. Lawrence Market, for a nourishing breakfast sandwich filled with egg and sausage, and a bottomless cup of joe for that morning jolt.
After a satisfying meal, the market is teeming with couples and families, each delighted with all the offerings. You’ll overhear friendly exchanges between grocers and customers — here, it’s a community where regulars and new visitors alike are always welcome.
Between nibbling on samples of cheddar cheese and pretzels dipped in sweet mustard, the irresistible aroma of oven-baked, Montreal-style bagels lures you to St. Urbain Bagels. This is the spot to pick up a dozen of your favourites along with the velvet-whipped cream cheese and chive spread. For quality cuts of beef, you won’t do better than Brown Brothers Meats, the market’s oldest butcher. Need the freshest fish for tonight’s dinner? You want Mike’s Fish Market’s fresh red snapper.
In the north building, your eyes pop at the array of rich colours. Stock up on fresh, organic fruits and vegetables straight from Ontario farmers: ruby-red tomatoes, crunchy green onions, and vibrant orange carrots.
Just when you think you’re done, it’s noon — time to backtrack and fill up on lunch before taking your fresh ingredients home to prepare a dinner party tonight. After all, the good things from St. Lawrence Market are meant to be shared.