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Modular marketplace launches on Dundas Street

Posted by Lauren Souch / June 28, 2011

Live Local Marketplace TorontoThe side of the Scadding Court Community Center facing Dundas has never been a pretty sight with its drab, grey concrete walls looming over the sidewalk just east of Bathurst Street. "It's an underused space," said Director of Development and Community Engagement Susanne Burkhardt, "there's nothing to look at, do, or see there, and there's been concerns about community safety."

A number of these problems have been addressed with the opening of a new market -dubbed the "Live Local Marketplace" - which launched publicly on June 17th and has filled the space with brightly coloured shipping containers.

Yup, shipping containers.

Instead of pop-up booths and tables, street vendors, or storefronts; this market features repainted, re-purposed shipping containers that are now home to small, local vendors in an effort to revitalize the area.

Live Local Marketplace Toronto"This gives really small vendors the opportunity to get space in downtown Toronto, which is typically very expensive," explains Burkhardt, "so this is a great opportunity for someone who wants to test out an idea, someone who maybe is new to Canada and doesn't have a lot of capital, or for a young person who is trying to launch a business."

According to Burkhardt, the cost to the vendor for the space works out to about $10 a day, or a little over $3,500 a year - which is an absolute steal for a downtown location.

The launch of the market did not, however, come without its challenges. "The city didn't quite know what to do with the booths," explains Monforte Dairy employee Ben Szoller. "Are we a restaurant? A marketplace? How is it coded, how do we observe public health? So the location came with a bit of problem solving, but it's been a real pleasure so far."

Live Local Marketplace TorontoTypically, Monforte Dairy operates at farmer's markets around the city, but farmer's markets are seasonal, and the business has never had a real storefront during the winter months.

"This is a place [our loyal customers] know they can come find us and get cheese. We always have a fridge full of cheese here, but on top of that we have the opportunity to do some other stuff as well, like make some grilled cheese sandwiches, soups, stuff like that," Szoller tells me, gesturing to the grilled cheese he is preparing for a customer while we chat.

Live Local Marketplace TorontoThe most interesting part of this idea, to me, is the potential for this type of market to spring up in other underused areas of the city. Burkhardt tells me they've already thought of that. After all, the units can be easily bought and the only thing that's needed is a place to put the storage containers, and someone to coordinate the activity.

"There are areas in the city that could benefit from these," said Burkhardt, "so we're not just doing this with our own view, but doing it with the potential to create something that could go city-wide later on down the road."

Live Local Marketplace TorontoThe Live Local Market is typically opened Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 - 6. During the Summer, the market will remain open until 10 p.m. on Fridays, featuring an outdoor movie, music, and table vendors as well.



Nick / June 28, 2011 at 11:25 am
Are there any photos of the space without these cool containers? I am trying to place the location...b.t.w. the link should be to scaddingcourt.org, not .com.
Derek / June 28, 2011 at 11:36 am
Here's a Google Street View link:

Jaime / June 28, 2011 at 11:50 am
How do we inquire about renting a container?
Jane / June 28, 2011 at 11:57 am
Always remember: There's money in the banana stand.
Snowman / June 28, 2011 at 12:07 pm
Just saw an article recently about similar stands in Portland (I think) - and struck me as a great way to animate a street. And here they are. Let's do more - and provide additional street food options as an associated benefit (since the City's program has been a flop).
Patricia / June 28, 2011 at 12:08 pm
Awesome - someone clearly thinking outside the box.
Patricia Russell / June 28, 2011 at 01:39 pm
This is great! I'm glad to see these kiosk container types are being installed in Toronto. My business partners and I are ready to launch a similar product on our website..www.containerhome.biz for home owners, businesses & developers
Ben / June 28, 2011 at 02:20 pm
I love this idea of a Market Place in downtown Toronto, well done Scadding Court and the City Councilor in Ward 20. We need more of this in the City of Toronto.
Matthew / June 28, 2011 at 02:31 pm
I went to the opening event and it was great. I live in the area and it was a pretty grim stretch along Dundas, so this makes the street more lively and appealing.
Jacqueline / June 28, 2011 at 02:45 pm
More information is available at www.scaddingcourt.org and questions about rentals, performances and so forth can be sent to me: jacqueline@scaddingcourt.org

The location is on Dundas just east of Bathurst (right across the street from Toronto Western Hospital and a stone's throw from Kensington market).
sam / June 28, 2011 at 03:44 pm
This is what the City of Toronto needs, I don't live in ward 20 but this is what my councilor needs to do in my ward.Mayor Fords please take note on what can be done for the community if we think out of the box.
ken / June 28, 2011 at 03:50 pm
Why are there not more markets like this in the under service areas of Toronto? The Mayor Ford needs to support programs like this one, which provides opportunties for all concern.
Matt2 / June 28, 2011 at 04:35 pm
It’s an interesting was to revitalize the area and bring in some new shops. With property costs being so high in Toronto, it is a massive impediment to locals whom wish to have their own company or a new opportunity.

The vendors are very friendly and cool, offering new products, and is giving many people a new opportunity at a change in carers. It’s a great way to create new jobs and solid attempt to pump some more money into the surrounding neighbourhood and to revitalize the strip between Spadina and Bathurst.

It will be interesting to see the progress fo teh market in a years time.
TP2 / June 28, 2011 at 05:07 pm
I had a chance to visit the kiosk containers last week. Those are great. The city should open this low cost business opportunity in many areas of the city, will definitely boost the economy. Thanks Scadding Court.
Leah / June 28, 2011 at 05:19 pm
This is so extremely cool. Thank you!
Joan / June 28, 2011 at 05:35 pm
Come on Mayor Ford, why can you do something like this for the city?
Erin / June 28, 2011 at 05:52 pm
I understand from the opening that without Adam Vaughan's support this market would not have happen. Thank you Adam Vaughan. Great idea.
miam / June 28, 2011 at 06:22 pm
The grilled cheese is delicious from Montforte... they also have Water Buffalo icecream which is surprisingly tasty
gbenji / June 28, 2011 at 08:23 pm
great idea! I would love to see something similar to that dead space of a concrete courtyard at chinatown centre on spadina. An asian style modular night market would be fantastic.
me / June 28, 2011 at 09:57 pm
I love this!
Alam / June 28, 2011 at 11:45 pm
$10/day is an absolute steal for renting one of these kiosks. What a neat idea to revitalize drab parts of the city with some life and commerce.
Rose / June 30, 2011 at 10:38 am
Just saw this, love the idea.
Ceta / July 1, 2011 at 09:52 am
Got a drink there a few wks ago. Excellent addition to street food.
Kay / July 13, 2011 at 01:58 pm
This is an awesome idea, Im a small buisness owner looking at renting one of these spaces to promote my buisness. $10 is an amazing prices sometimes we vendors pay so much and we dont make enough profit to break even.
Kay / July 13, 2011 at 02:00 pm
I hope to see more spots like this in the city.
Jon / August 9, 2011 at 10:43 am
In addition to Monforte's excellent cheeses and ice cream, the Market now has delicious baked goods from OMG, vegan "sloppy bunjos" from the Magic Oven, tasty Korean BBQ, locally-sourced meats and poultry (My Market Butcher), fresh fruit "blizzards", bubble teas, and iced Viet Namese coffee from the Original One ... sigh, where to begin?!? (And coming soon - crepes! My mouth's startin' to water...!)
JJ / April 28, 2012 at 10:47 am
A spot called Casbah at this market will have on next week special a juicy CAMEL BURGER..
First in Toronto.... check it out
Glenna / February 12, 2014 at 08:55 pm
This gives him possession of a space within your home and a little control over a portion
of his life. If you have an older child, let them use the potty as your child watches.

If my toddler won't poop in the toilet is something wrong.
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