Neighbourhood Profile: St. Lawrence Market


Quintessential to the “downtown experience”, the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood is about more than just the market (although you might not know it).

It’s Toronto’s own personal Atlantis; until the 1800s, the whole neighbourhood was under water. Developers realized that they needed more space along the waterfront, and constructed one of the largest landfill projects in order to move the waterfront south. It worked, and now we have houses, restaurants, shops, farmer’s markets, and artists’ hubs to spare.

It’s had a rich history, too. The St. Lawrence neighbourhood hosted the first parliament buildings in Upper Canada in the late 1700s. The famous Saturday farmers’ market began operating nearby in 1803. Later, Toronto’s first city hall was constructed in what is now the old market building.

All that’s left of the parliament buildings, though, are historical markers and the market itself. Some of the buildings were destroyed by American troops in the War of 1812, while others were damaged and replaced after the great fire of 1849.

We often forget that Toronto has a rich and varied history - but it’s still alive and thriving in the Market District.MarketDistrict1.jpg

The Good

The St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood has, anecdotally, one of the best reputations throughout the city. Low unemployment, lots of culture, diverse population and both affordable- and high-end housing. It’s a great place to be.

It’s difficult to find exact statistics on the neighbourhood, as it’s grouped together with Toronto’s Island communities as Ward 28. Still, it has a high percentage of families, high median income, and a rapidly-increasing population base that’s looking for housing.

Also good (no, great) - Toronto has begun filing paperwork to build a massive Euro-style transit hub, open-air market, and business space just east of the Market District. Called East Harbour, the plan features 11 million square feet of office space, enough for 50,000 workers, on 60 acres.

While not in the Market district, it’s close - and it’s great news for east enders. With a massive influx of jobs, population, and culture nearby, prices and demand will probably spark over construction in the next decade.


The Bad

Most of the housing available in the Market district comes in the form of condos.

While this isn’t terrible - what neighbourhood doesn’t have condos - it means you might have more competition from your neighbours to rent a place. The “culture of condos” has a bit of a bad rap, too. Some people don’t like the glass-and-steel identity of the neighbourhood. To be honest, though, I think the market offsets that Bay-street-style reputation nicely.

The market is also a tourist destination, especially with the nearby Distillery District. Some people really, really hate tourists, and don’t want to constantly be taking photos for strangers outside of their own home. Same, haters.


The Investment

I would say that if you’re looking to invest in the Market district - or the nearby Corktown - then do it now. Like, right now.

With the recent news of the East Harbour hub and Toronto’s development dollars moving eastward, property values and homes are going to appreciate fast. Getting in now means you can get a unit for cheaper than in a few years. Or less.

Considering that rapid appreciation is a boon to homeowners and bane to those trying to get into the market, it’s a good place to jump right into the investor lifestyle.

If you’re interested, Pemberton just announced their latest development. Called Time and Space condos, it’s a new development at what will be 177 Front St. East. Featuring a high number of two- and three-bedroom condos, with family-friendly amenities and great incentives, I think it’ll fit into the neighbourhood well.

Plus, have you seen the need for multi-bedroom units right now? Considering changing my investment strategy. Interesting in chatting about it? Send me a message and we can go for coffee!


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Irene Lee, Sales Representative

RE/MAX Realtron Realty Inc., Brokerage
183 Willowdale Avenue, Toronto, M2N 4Y9
Direct: 416-888-1404 | Office: 416-222-8600