“If You Wanted Garlic, You Had to Go to Kensington”: St. Lawrence Market, Ethnic Vendors, and Food Provisioning in Toronto

Thursday, January 3, 2019: 1:30 PM
Salon 6 (Palmer House Hilton)
Jeffrey Pilcher, University of Toronto
St. Lawrence Market, founded in 1803 at a longstanding site of indigenous food exchange on the Lake Ontario waterfront, has remained at the center of an Anglo-dominated food system, even as Toronto has grown from frontier outpost to global city. Using the methods of historical geography, this paper maps the changing nature of St. Lawrence, from wholesale market to culinary tourist site, and its relationship to the city’s growing and diversifying population and to other sites of food retailing, including retail markets (St. Andrew’s, St. Patrick’s, Kensington), wholesale hubs (Toronto Municipal Abattoir, Ontario Food Terminal), private groceries, and street vendors over the past two centuries. The paper poses the questions of whether and how Anglo merchants have retained control over urban provisioning despite the transformations brought by industrialization, immigration, and global commodity chains.
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