June 16 to June 22 is Toronto’s Public Market Week

By Fiesta Farms

/Jun 10 2024

Toronto has more than 130 public markets– from farmers’ markets to vintage markets and neighbourhood bazaars, stretching across every corner of the city. From June 16 to June 22 the city will celebrate our vibrant market ecosystem during Public Market Week. The city of Toronto proclaimed Public Market Week during the  11th International Public Markets Conference which hosted market leaders from 130 cities and 23 countries. This week-long celebration is part of a broader effort to ensure that the social and economic benefits of Toronto’s vibrant markets are fully realized. 

Public Market Week is your chance to explore and celebrate Toronto’s vibrant market culture.

Toronto’s Own Public Market Champion

Photo Credit: PPS

Marina Queirolo is the force behind Public Market Week and the founder of marketcityTO.  

Marina has spent the last decade collaborating with market managers, vendors, city staff and policy-makers to unlock the power of Toronto’s public markets. She’s written reports, participate in pilot projects and led Conferences (and much more!) to strengthen Toronto’s public market ecosystem

Marina fondly recalls childhood visits to Uruguay’s bustling wool and craft markets: “Seeing how markets in Uruguay were community focal points, full of life and local flavours, I realised the potential they have to enrich our city.” 

When Marina moved to Toronto, she brought her passion for markets with her and started her own food business as part of FoodShare’s Kitchen Incubator program.  Marina then became the Food Program Manager at Evergreen Brickworks, a seasonal market that became year-round. 

On a trip to Barcelona, Marina saw what public markets could truly be:

“I went to Barcelona and learned about how the municipality supports their markets. They have 47 neighbourhoods, 43 municipal market buildings, and a whole system for building and supporting local micro-enterprises. I came back to Toronto and started asking: how can we do a Barcelona model in Toronto?”

The Value of Public Markets

Public markets play a crucial role in Toronto’s urban landscape. They provide a platform for local farmers, artisans, and small businesses to connect directly with consumers. Markets like St. Lawrence Market, the Afro Caribbean Farmers Market, and numerous neighbourhood bazaars bring fresh, diverse, and locally-produced goods to Torontonians. 

Photo Credit: Michael Tutton

Independent grocery stores like ours wouldn’t exists without the local and global fresh produce and other agricultural products available at The Ontario Food Terminal, the only publicly owned wholesale market in Canada. 

Marina has big aspirations to connect these markets together and transform Toronto into a Market City, where a strong network of market mobilizers pull together to ensure that markets are optimitzed to make Toronto more livable and lovable. 

“The ultimate goal is to have a market in every neighbourhood. A market in every neighbourhood means that the neighbourhood will decide what type of market they want, whether it’s a producer market or a bazaar “

Photo Credit: Payton Chung

An Unstoppable Force for Markets

From improving permitting processes, to strengthening the network of market managers, vendors, city staff and policy-makers to getting markets into every equity-deserving neighbourhood, there’s lots of joyful work to be done. 

Marina is an unstoppable force working to ensure the sector gets the resources it needs to thrive: “We need the city and the municipality to help us build this sector. We need to shift investment from global supply chains to local ones. We need investment in building local and mid-size distribution infrastructure.”  

Public Market Week is one strategy to raise awareness and support for Toronto’s public markets. For information on how you can participate, subscribe to Market City TO ‘s newsletter.

Celebrate Public Market Week 

Public Market Week is an opportunity for you to explore the diversity of Toronto’s local market scene. Here are five guided tours  you can participate in for only $5:

  • Afro-Caribbean Farmers’ Market & Little Jamaica Freedom Through Food Tour!
    Sunday, June 16th from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
    Register Here
  • Eglinton Way Farmers’ Market & Neighbourhood Walking Tour
    Sunday, June 16th, 10:30 a.m. to noon
    Register Here
  • Scarborough Farmers’ Market & Neighbourhood Culinary Adventure!
    Tuesday, June 18th, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    Register Here
  • St. Lawrence Market & Old Town
    Sunday, June 16th, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Saturday, June 22nd 10 to 11:30 a.m.
    Register Here (Sunday June 16th)
    Register Here (Saturday June 22nd)
  • Wandering to Withrow: History Bites and Tasty Treats
    Saturday, June 22nd from 10 a.m. to noon
    Register Here

Be sure to visit your local markets during Public Market Week and beyond. Every purchase supports local farmers, artisans, and small business owners who are the backbone of our city and community.

Cover Photo Credit: Roberta Baker