St. Lawrence Market (Heritage Walk)

Here's another famous historical site in Toronto.  This is the time of year when we focus on family, friends and food.  The St. Lawrence Market shows up big with over 50 vendors that sell fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses on the lower and first level.  At the South Market you can sample some of the worlds most exotic foods, flavours and desserts.  I sampled my first Turkish Delight, and loved them so much I bought a small bag of them.  They look like gelatinous cubes made with a hint of rosewater dusted with icing powder.   
If you are like me and don't really bake much or end up burning the cake, they have all kinds of Christmas goodies here to show you up well.  I love cheese but usually end up buying what I know, which is Cheddar or some times Swiss or Monterey Jack.  That's the fun part of buying from a market, because you can sample different cheese squares before you buy.  Makes a lot more sense.   Yes cheese is very expensive as it is.   I also know someone else who likes cheese ! 

In fact you can find samples of everything all day long here from over 60 vendors 'marketing' their wares.  Like most Markets, you will find the quality here is fresh and they use words like 'organic' or 'free range' a lot.   You should expect to pay more for that though.  If not, you can also support your local fruit and vegetable markets.  Guaranteed to save a ton on your weekly food bill.
 
This is known as the South Building and is located at 92 Front Street East which surrounds a block from Market Street, The Esplanade, Lower Jarvis, to Front Street.   Currently, it is one of the major markets in Toronto’s downtown core (the other one is The Kensington Market).  

The building also has The Market Gallery, operated by City of Toronto, on the second floor and a cooking school (market kitchen) on the mezzanine floor.  I loved Buster's Sea Cove, a small diner very reminiscent of the 50's, where they have my favorite, haddock and chips, crab cakes, Red snapper, Grilled shrimp in herb sauce, chicken fingers and salads just to list a few items on their menu! Come here empty, leave satisfied.
Speaking of nostalgia, when you look up at the windows, high arched ceilings and rod iron gate heads, you can imagine this place being a jail at one time.  I wasn't surprised to find out that it was in fact home to Toronto's first permanent jail from 1845 to 1899.  Since then, the new steel truss roof was built allowing more open space with a high ceiling and letting in more natural light.   


There is also a newer North end of the St. Lawrence Market.  It transforms to become different things on different days, but principally it is the associated with the vibrant and fresh Farmers' Market, the largest in Toronto that starts bright and early on Saturday mornings from 5am.  Then on Sundays it opens from 5am to become the the Antique Market.  Christmas trees and holiday greens are offered daily from now until Christmas eve. Hopefully if you ever make it to the Market you will always leave with something.

Gooderham Building and The Brookfield Place (Heritage Walk)


I have seen this red-bricked building dozens of times in Toronto.  It commands the entire block as it sits wedged between Front and Wellington Streets to form a triangular intersection.   The other night I was so drawn to the night lighting as I was looking west down Front street towards the building's prominent rounded corner, I decided to take some pictures.  


circa 1894
Later, I finally looked it up and discovered it was called the Gooderham Building, or as it is more commonly referred to,  the 'Flatiron', and was built in 1892.  

The design and construction was made for the famed distiller George Gooderham (son of Gooderham and Worts distillery founder William Gooderham).  You may remember Gooderham and Worts from my blog posts, The Lowes Christmas Market and another post Historical Distillery District.


Here it maintained its function as the office of the Gooderham & Worts distillery until 1952 and then was sold by the Gooderham Estate in 1957.  

If you look beyond the 'Flatiron' along Front street, you can see entire blocks of commercial skyscrapers of the Financial District, and even the CN Tower is also visible from certain angles.  One of the most hauntingly beautiful is the Brookfield Place.

I worked just a few blocks away many years ago when this was once known as BCE Place.  I didn't even recognize this place.  Inside it looks like a crystal cathedral and outside it has these gorgeous purple pillars.  It was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.

This office complex takes up the entire block from Yonge to Wellington Street West, Bay Street and Front Street totaling 5 acres.  I would love to work here!  In total there are two commerce towers: The first one Bay Wellington Tower and the second is the TD Canada Trust Tower, linked by a six-story pedestrian walkway.  The Galleria is like a forested canopy structured by eight freestanding supports on each side.

The design of this Galleria was incorporated in the Brookfield Place to meet the expectations and satisfy the City of Toronto's public art requirements, and it did! It is often featured as a backdrop for TV and film productions and is photographed constantly. 


The Financial District in Toronto proves that sometimes 'creative accounting' can be stunning.

Lowe's Toronto Christmas Market

Holiday spirit and spirits go hand in hand during Toronto’s most extravagant Christmas celebration. In 2010, the Lowe’s Toronto Christmas Market began the annual tradition of turning the Distillery Historic District into a centre for merriment and good cheer.
For the first two weeks of December, the holiday treatment is given to the city’s beautiful, European-inspired commercial village that was home to the world’s largest whisky manufacturer during the 19th century. Carnival rides, artisan shops, musical performances, and tasty treats — including roasted marshmallows and hot cider — create a festive atmosphere centred around a spectacularly decorated 45-foot Christmas tree.
- See more at: http://www.seetorontonow.com/my-toronto/get-into-the-spirit-at-lowes-toronto-christmas-market-in-the-distillery-district/#sthash.yupFuxxr.dpuf
Holiday spirit and spirits go hand in hand during Toronto’s most extravagant Christmas celebration. In 2010, the Lowe’s Toronto Christmas Market began the annual tradition of turning the Distillery Historic District into a centre for merriment and good cheer.
For the first two weeks of December, the holiday treatment is given to the city’s beautiful, European-inspired commercial village that was home to the world’s largest whisky manufacturer during the 19th century. Carnival rides, artisan shops, musical performances, and tasty treats — including roasted marshmallows and hot cider — create a festive atmosphere centred around a spectacularly decorated 45-foot Christmas tree.
- See more at: http://www.seetorontonow.com/my-toronto/get-into-the-spirit-at-lowes-toronto-christmas-market-in-the-distillery-district/#sthash.yupFuxxr.dpuf
Holiday spirit and spirits go hand in hand during Toronto’s most extravagant Christmas celebration. In 2010, the Lowe’s Toronto Christmas Market began the annual tradition of turning the Distillery Historic District into a centre for merriment and good cheer.
For the first two weeks of December, the holiday treatment is given to the city’s beautiful, European-inspired commercial village that was home to the world’s largest whisky manufacturer during the 19th century. Carnival rides, artisan shops, musical performances, and tasty treats — including roasted marshmallows and hot cider — create a festive atmosphere centred around a spectacularly decorated 45-foot Christmas tree.
- See more at: http://www.seetorontonow.com/my-toronto/get-into-the-spirit-at-lowes-toronto-christmas-market-in-the-distillery-district/#sthash.yupFuxxr.dpuf
Holiday spirit and spirits go hand in hand during Toronto’s most extravagant Christmas celebration. In 2010, the Lowe’s Toronto Christmas Market began the annual tradition of turning the Distillery Historic District into a centre for merriment and good cheer.
For the first two weeks of December, the holiday treatment is given to the city’s beautiful, European-inspired commercial village that was home to the world’s largest whisky manufacturer during the 19th century. Carnival rides, artisan shops, musical performances, and tasty treats — including roasted marshmallows and hot cider — create a festive atmosphere centred around a spectacularly decorated 45-foot Christmas tree.
- See more at: http://www.seetorontonow.com/my-toronto/get-into-the-spirit-at-lowes-toronto-christmas-market-in-the-distillery-district/#sthash.yupFuxxr.dpuf
Holiday spirit and spirits go hand in hand during Toronto’s most extravagant Christmas celebration. In 2010, the Lowe’s Toronto Christmas Market began the annual tradition of turning the Distillery Historic District into a centre for merriment and good cheer.
For the first two weeks of December, the holiday treatment is given to the city’s beautiful, European-inspired commercial village that was home to the world’s largest whisky manufacturer during the 19th century. Carnival rides, artisan shops, musical performances, and tasty treats — including roasted marshmallows and hot cider — create a festive atmosphere centred around a spectacularly decorated 45-foot Christmas tree.
- See more at: http://www.seetorontonow.com/my-toronto/get-into-the-spirit-at-lowes-toronto-christmas-market-in-the-distillery-district/#sthash.yupFuxxr.dpuf
Holiday spirit and spirits go hand in hand during Toronto’s most extravagant Christmas celebration. In 2010, the Lowe’s Toronto Christmas Market began the annual tradition of turning the Distillery Historic District into a centre for merriment and good cheer. - See more at: http://www.seetorontonow.com/my-toronto/get-into-the-spirit-at-lowes-toronto-christmas-market-in-the-distillery-district/#sthash.yupFuxxr.dpuf

This year Toronto once again celebrates the magic of the traditional Christmas at the Lowe's Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery District at Parliament and Front Street.

If you've never been to a 'Christmas Market' it is worth a visit. Traditionally these street markets originated in Germany beginning in the early 1400's and now they are held all over the world.


It's a free annual event capturing Old World traditions with carolers, children's choirs and story telling. There are vendors showcasing hundreds of unique and local handcrafted products and crafts.







You can also try different samples of International beers or flavours in your coffee like Amarula, Frangelico, Calvados, Luksusowa, Innis & Gunn, Tullamore and Irish Mist! Personally I just love coffee as it is, so it's nice to try something different that you wouldn't normally do. The kids were lining up for little cups of hot chocolate and apple cider and to say hi to Santa of course... and the King?



The tree was donated by Trees Ontario who make it their mission to support the planting of 10 million trees a year! This of course ensures the health of future generations. This year's tree was 14m of a beautiful display of white pine, red and golden bulbs and gold ribbon.




From a photographer's point of view, this place is so gorgeous in the evenings and all the lights come up!  But instead we decided to check out the Cavalcade of Lights this year.


The street market is open every day up until I think a few days before the 25th of December, so I don't have an excuse not to come back again. Oh and they also have a Ferris Wheel!

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...and...Remember this is still the Historic Distillery District...














...so there is plenty of history here on Mill Street as well. So in between the concerts, the food and drink samplings of the festivities, why not sneak away for a little while and explore some of the other buildings? Here is my favorite: The Stone Distillery.





The Distillery is the oldest and largest building here in the District in Toronto.


The building was designed and build out of limestone and double-timber beams and shipped from Kingston, Ontario. The double-timber beams make a 2x4 look like a twig! It cost around $150,000 which was a huge amount of money at the time.

You can walk from the base to the top in a short time with some effort. The building was big enough to house a grist mill, a power house and mashing and distilling functions. It was documented inside the building that a massive fire engulfed the building in 1869 damaging the wooden interior but leaving the stone and machinery largely undamaged (obviously). The interior was reconstructed a year later.



Well we know that there were two world wars in the 1900's and this distillery was used to produce explosive agents for the war efforts, but once the second war was over in 1945, it went back to doing what it was designed to do and that was distilling, and remained doing so for decades until the early 1990's when all distilling activity ended and the area no longer produced alcohol.


Since the area has beautiful Victorian-style buildings and cobblestone sidewalks, it brought in the attention of film production companies. It was used as a backdrop for movies such as Chicago and X-Men as well as a few hundred others.

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There are many ways to celebrate the spirit of the holidays, so even if you don't believe in Santa anymore, you can still find some joy in giving.