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Eat & Drink

Queen Street Market to be reborn as healthy food hub

Posted by Derek Flack / August 13, 2011

The Grove TorontoQueen West is getting a new food court — one that specializes in healthy fare. As first reported in the Grid, the site of this new venture is actually quite old. The former Queen Street Market, a mostly vacant take-out hub across from the MuchMusic building that dates back to 1912, will receive an identity makeover with an eye toward populating the space with new vendors.

The new food emporium, as its owners refer to it, will be called the Grove and feature rules regarding the type of food served under its roof. Vendors will have to adhere to a policy that forbids the use of "artificial flavours, colouring and hormones." Current tenants that wish to stay will also be subject to the new rules.

St. Patricks Market TorontoThere are also long term plans in place to run a farmer's market behind the building and to allow vendors to sell unprepared food in addition to take-out meals. These two features would bring the Grove closer what was originally intended for the building when the City of Toronto solicited proposals for how to revitalize the old market space after long-time occupant Stork Chicken vacated the building in the late 1980s. The idea back then was to create something similar to the St. Lawrence Market.

Needless to say, that never happened (which eventually precipitated a dispute between the City and the former owner). And while the latest iteration of what was once known as the St. Patrick Market appears to be more foodcourt than market, at least the concept sounds like a promising plan to inject some life into what has become a pretty tired space.

Lead photo by Uncle Lynx in the blogTO Flickr pool. Second photo from the Toronto Archives



uvstudio / August 13, 2011 at 11:24 am
Not too long ago this used to be the most popular post clubbing grup stop on Queen W. Hope they make good of it soon.
lisa / August 13, 2011 at 11:55 am
now this is good news. that stretch of queen has been seriously lacking in food options
chop / August 13, 2011 at 12:20 pm
So...the Carrot Commons, basically, yes?
bill / August 13, 2011 at 12:26 pm
Carrot Commons??? It's a grocery store and a juice stand. Not it at all, chop. No.
gabe / August 13, 2011 at 12:42 pm
tanya / August 13, 2011 at 04:36 pm
in the mid 90's there was a bakery in there and a juice bar that was the first location owned by the owner of "FRESH" veg restaurants and juice bars.
Sean / August 13, 2011 at 04:45 pm
Personally, I do not think this is going to work.

It seems like everything they put in there dies a slow and painful death.
Zach / August 13, 2011 at 08:41 pm
I think this is a great idea! One thing this city really lacks is healthy take-out food options. There are a few places I know of that offer genuinely healthy choices but not very many, and certainly not along that stretch of Queen. I can't count the number of times I've walked down that street looking for something healthy to eat, and all I see is Pizza Pizza, Subway, greasy diners, etc.

Now if we could only get street vendors to offer healthy options in addition to hotdogs, falafels, etc. (which may happen, I have a vague recollection of reading something about it but don't remember the details).
Joshie / August 13, 2011 at 09:48 pm
"The new food emporium, as its owners refer to it, will be called the Grove". People its still a food court, organic, healthy, conscience whatever you want to call it. Its a food court. People making money off of YOU.
A replying to a comment from Joshie / August 13, 2011 at 10:08 pm
I don't understand. When you buy groceries at a supermarket (or wherever) people are still making money of you.

It would be great if the Grove gave food away for free. Seriously, a community project like that would be wonderful, it would really bring back some of Queen's Street's old charm. But I don't think that's likely to happen. So if someone *is* making money off of us, I would rather they offer me healthy food than the usual high-fat, sodium-rich crap that's available everywhere else.
Joshie replying to a comment from A / August 14, 2011 at 12:41 am
No it should be free, and the food should be grown in the community park behind it.
Ilya / August 14, 2011 at 12:55 am
I agree with Joshie. Would be nice if our tax dollars funded this.
Fantomex / August 14, 2011 at 05:32 am
Sorry, but I liked the place as it was: if people need health food that bad, they should cook at home.
Ratpick replying to a comment from Joshie / August 14, 2011 at 09:21 am
The food should be grown in the community park behind it? Whaa?

Either you mean they should serve rats and pigeons year 'round, or you mean the market should open for 8 weeks a year, serving the few veggies you could grow back there.
LJ replying to a comment from A / August 15, 2011 at 12:28 pm
who gives food away for free? what kind of business model is that? oh wait Ilya thinks taxpayers should fund this.
Ceta / August 18, 2011 at 05:25 pm
The heritage name of this place is St. Patrick's Market and was donated to the city in the mid 1800's for a food market. The current lease holders are not operating this as required and have a 50 year lease from city hall, which they got after the 80 year lease with Storks was ended. Neighbours want leaseholder and the city to operate a market as intended. The leaseholder rents to tenants are what's driven people out. There used to be a butcher (Heidi's) and an organic market run by Phil, who occasionally sells now from the church yard up the block. Neighbours want the original name to be used - St. Patrick's Market.
smartygirl / August 19, 2011 at 09:08 am
i'll believe it when i see it. they were going to "revitalize" the building 3 years ago when they let everyone's leases expire. it was shuttered for a year and nothing much has changed.
Alex / September 7, 2012 at 10:00 am
The place is dead. I went there a couple of days ago and there are only two "restaurants". They need to do some serious marketing since nobody walks in. The apparent problem is the high rent (starting at CAD3,500 / mo), which is comparable to a 600-800 sqf retail store on the same street!
phuong / November 23, 2012 at 09:27 am
what a lovely building. reminds me of how i saw buildings as a kid in the 90's.
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