groceries canada

This is how Toronto complained about grocery monopolies in the 1800s

Canadians are increasingly perturbed about the state of grocery prices, and Toronto residents in particular are feeling the burn of rising living costs and harkening back to more affordable days through nostalgic advertisements and flyers from times when food seemed reasonably priced.

But some things never change.

Public outrage directed at major grocers, for instance, is nothing new for Toronto. Even 175 years ago, long before the era of supermarket chains, locals were fuming over a near-monopoly held by St. Lawrence Market on the sale of meat in the city.

The Toronto Archives this week shared a photo to X of a ten-foot-long petition from November 18, 1849, covered in signatures requesting an alteration to a law relating to butcher shops.

According to the Archives, the petition pointed out that St. Lawrence Market's control of the meat market at that point in history was "practically a monopoly and a hardship."

The timing of the post seems like a knowing nod to the current attitude towards grocers in Canada.

It's also an interesting eye-opener about how Toronto residents are still complaining about some of the very same issues that their distant relatives fumed about 175 years earlier.

Lead photo by

Toronto Archives


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