downsview park merchants market

Downsview Park Merchant's Market is Toronto's most underrated food court

For lovers of antiques, farmers' markets and all things flea, the Downsview Park Merchant's Market is a weekend paradise.

It's been a decade since the market first took over a massive warehouse building on the Downsview Park site, and over the years this weekly enterprise has drawn thousands of price-minded patrons through its doors. 

Within its cool, looming exterior hides a giant maze-like interior of shops that run the gamut of cheap, international goods, easily making it one of the most diverse markets in the city.

downsview park merchants market

Downsview Park Merchants Market is one of the most diverse markets in Toronto. 

But beyond the bookstore piled wall-to-wall with vintage volumes, the shop selling dashikis and the Chinese medicine store is Downsview's most prized attraction: a food court with dozens of vendors serving up delicious international fare. 

downsview park merchants market

There's a great selection of merchandise at the market at affordable prices. 

Open every weekend from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the parking lot is vast, with several entry points. I recommend entering through the discrete market entrance (not the antique or farmers' market doors) to start your quest. 

downsview park merchants market

Smaller food vendor areas operate outside of the main international food court. 

Even before reaching the food court, a handful of food stalls off the main shopping paths line the way toward your final destination. 

downsview park merchants market

The corner stall Yummy Bubble Tea offers no-frills cups of bubble tea with tapioca. 

Marking the beginning of your culinary adventure is Yummy Bubble Tea, which you'll quickly spot on the corner, likely with a sizeable line. There's nothing fancy here, just simple boba at cheap prices in all your standard flavours. 

downsview park merchants market

Samosa Palace is another corner shop offering cheap eats. 

At another corner, Samosa Palace marks the starting point of a succession of food stalls. You'll find this stall across from a lighting and appliance store, where you can grab a meat samosa for $1.25, or two vegetarian samosas for $1.25. 

downsview park merchants market

Meat samosas from Samosa Palace are just $1.25 each, and the same price for two veggie-filled samosas. 

Right next door you'll find Pupusas Hot, a pupuseria that sells the popular El Salvadorean corn tortillas with a variety of fillings. 

downsview park merchants market

A seating area is fenced off by a white picket fence. 

Continue walking through the market aisles past a used-parts bike shop and stores selling tons of "6ix" gear and you'll encounter a small seating area of sorts.

downsview park merchants market

You can buy slices or whole cakes from Minuet Cafe. 

Not to be confused with the international food court, this makeshift food vendor zone is home to Carmen Y Pepe Peruvian Cuisine, a stall selling lomo saltado and civeche, and Minuet Cafe, which specializes in chocolate and strawberry cakes which you can buy whole or in slices.

downsview park merchants market

Angel's "Heaven Soup" is made of veggies and yanang leaf, a popular veggie used in Thai cuisine. 

At Angel Dusit International Vegetarian Cuisine, you'll likely find Angel herself stirring a pot of her self-proclaimed cancer-curing concoction, "Heaven Soup". Made of stewed veggies and yanang leaf, Angel offers cancer patients a bowl of her soup for free. 

downsview park merchants market

Ice cream and bubble tea make an unlikely pair at Icecream Paradise. 

Past a gold shop, you'll find Icecream Paradise – a purveyor of iceys, banana royales and bubble tea – lining the outskirts of the market. A short walk will soon take you out of the merchants' area and out into the farmers' market hall. 

downsview park merchants market

Pita House sits at the edge of the Downsview Park Farmers' Market. 

Here is where you'll find Pita House, a stall sitting on a slightly elevated area that offers a beautiful vista of the giant market, likely to be bustling with shoppers as they peruse veggies and fruits offered by five separate grocers. 

downsview park merchants market

Pita Hut serves espresso and large puffy pastries filled with jam for $3 each.

If you're feeling tuckered out from the walking you can grab an espresso from the friendly Greek owner of Pita House. For something more substantial grab a falafel for $5, or grab one of their giant jam-filled pastries for just $3. 

downsview park merchants market toronto

Head to the back of the warehouse site to find the international food court. 

While it may tempting to meander around a bit longer, it's important to keep your eye on the prize. Head back into the market from where you came from and you'll spot the sign that leads you to the food court in the back. 

downsview park merchants market

Flags mark your arrival at the Downsview Park Merchant's Market international food court. 

Once you see the strings of flags hanging from afar, you'll know you've found the international food court, Downsview Park Merchant's Market's secret gem.

downsview park merchants market

There are over 15 stalls to choose from in the food court. 

Depending on how busy it is, you may feel a little overwhelmed by the multitude of options.

downsview park merchants market

The pupusas from Pupuseria Delicias come with a side of slaw. 

Trying to decide between the tacos from Tacontento Mexican Foods, the empanadas from Comida Ecuatoriana or the pupusas from Pupuseria Delicias will probably be the hardest decision to make all day. If you have a budget of $15, you can easily get something from all three stalls. 

downsview park merchants market

You'll find a variety of Chinese and Vietnamese dishes like spring rolls and noodles from Saigon Quan. 

For Asian eats, Chinese & Vietnamese Food serves up exactly what its name suggests with cheap four-item combos of fried rice and sweet and sour chicken costing only $7. Further down, Saigon Quan has Vietnamese dishes like pho, spring rolls, and cheap daily specials. 

downsview park merchants market

Tavga Pizza and Wings offers combos of pop, fries, and a slice of pizza. 

If you're craving some typical food court fare, Tavga Pizza and Wings – situated in the corner of the food court – has slice and pop combos with fries, while Reber Poutine Fiesta does an original take on the classic Canadian comfort food but adding halal meat to it. 

downsview park merchants market

Roti Corner may not have a sign but it boasts some of the best doubles in the food court. 

Dominating the space are Caribbean stalls serving up Jamaican and Trini favourites like oxtail, jerk and doubles. Roti Corner is a standout: despite having no sign, the stall is a family-run affair and serves some of the best doubles I've had, plus a killer pholourie. 

downsview park merchants market

There are several stalls offering Caribbean fare at this food court.

Mama Original has cabbage and saltfish for just $5, while King's Palace has $6 specials of jerk chicken with rice and homemade drinks of sea moss, sorrel, and mauby. 

downsview park merchants market

The Trinidadian beachside favourite, bake and shark, can be found at Melo's Kitchen. 

Melo's Kitchen is another Trinidadian food spot that specializes in bake and sharks – the delicious baked bread sandwich with shark meat inside – and a big menu of other favourites like stewed chicken. 

downsview park merchants market

Churros in all shapes and sizes from Churro Zone will satisfy your sweet tooth. 

For dessert, Churro Zone offers a sweet Mexican treat option, with churros coming in all shapes and sizes, from drizzled and filled to ice-cream filled bowls and churro ice cream sandwiches. 

downsview park merchants market

The elegantly designed Sweetnuthin's Dessert Shoppe sells whole cakes, pies, and funnel cakes. 

There's also Sweetnuthin's Dessert Shoppe, one of the newest additions to the food court that's popular for its cheesecakes, pies, and funnel cakes ($6). They even have candied apples, if you really want to complete the whole market experience. 

Regardless of what you choose to devour at the Downsview Park Merchant's Market, your food cravings and your wallet will be feeling satisfied and ready to return to this Toronto sanctuary next weekend. 

downsview park merchants market food court toronto

Photos by

Tanya Mok

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