In Toronto, farmers’ markets pepper the city. And they attract the very best producers from Southern Ontario and Western New York. You can find one any day of the week, but Saturdays are the best for market hopping, sampling foods from around the world and seeing all the best parts of the city. Here’s the way we’d do it.
Stop 1 — Artscape Wychwood Barns
Ubers and cabs know where it is. But if you want to save money, it’s easy to get there by TTC as well (take the St. Clair 512 west from St. Clair West Station to the Artscape Wychwood Barns stop and you’re right there). Aim to get there early (by 8:30) to get the best stuff and to arrive before hordes of strollers. And look for the Tibetan Mo-Mo lady. Her dumplings are delicious!
Stop 2 — Evergreen Brick Works
It’s a quick Uber ride from the Barns, and well worth it for the scenery alone. The Brick Works is a reclaimed brickyard that’s been turned into a third space. The designers made the very wise decision to retain much of the original architecture, and the vendor quality is unmatched. If you have time after shopping, a 30-minute walk around the grounds as you sip on artisanal coffee is well worth your time.
Stop 3 — St. Lawrence Market
This is Toronto’s biggest farmers’ market and it’s always bustling. Downtowners who care about fresh produce, delectable meats and a frenetic vibe hit up the St. Lawrence Market every Saturday. They stay open until 3pm, and that’s a good thing because you’ll have a lot booths to see. The ride from the Brick Works is pretty easy (right down Bayview Extension).
Alternate — The Junction Market
It’s a bit out of the way, so you may only get to two if you choose this west-end market. But it’s well worth the trek. The prepared food is quite good and you can even buy wine. Maybe plan to get there around lunch. And when they close at 1pm, you can walk it off in High Park.
If you’re in town during the week, you’re still in luck. While the weekend markets usually attract the most people, the Monday-to-Friday markets are just as good, and far less crowded.
Monday — Sorauren Farmer’s Market
A trip to Parkdale will put you in one of Toronto’s fastest gentrifying neighbourhoods. Check out the new buildings going up along Queen and King streets. Look for the prepared Polish foods at the market (some are brought in weekly from Europe). Then grab a drink in nearby Roncy Village.
Tuesday — Davisville Farmers’ Market
This market is smack in the middle of Toronto’s leafiest neighbourhoods. And you’re close to Yonge and Eglinton, the city’s uptown downtown.
Wednesday — Nathan Phillips Square
Located right outside city hall and next to the Eaton Centre, it doesn’t get more urban-meets-rural than this. From here, the entire city’s accessible.
Thursday — Dufferin Grove Farmers’ Market
Here’s another one that’s made better by the scenery. Dufferin Grove is one of Toronto’s overlooked parks, but also one of the city’s best. Take a minute to watch the pickup basketball. The local boys are pretty good.
Friday — Sherway Farmers’ Market
A bit of a trek as well, but the Sherway Gardens mall is down the street and it’s a great place to spend a few hours. All the top brand names are there, and a few local stores too.