Writer: Charlotte Singmin
Spring is finally here and with it comes the oh-so-Canadian tradition of farmer’s markets popping up all over our busy urban centres. The evolution of the roadside fruit stand with the same farm to table sensibility, farmer’s markets give us the opportunity to shop local and support small businesses while fostering a sense of community, something we Canadians are known for. What better way to meet up with friends and neighbours and sample local produce, hand made sauces and sandwiches, fresh cut flowers and vegan ice cream, while enjoying some of the prettiest pockets of the city? And not just for parks and open grassy spaces, farmers markets in the downtown core are giving corporate professionals the opportunity to step out into the sunshine and head back to their desks with pints of Ontario grown strawberries, homegrown honey, or freshly baked bread.
Check out our favourite TO farmers markets all the way from the west end to the beaches and back, and make sure to add these healthy hangouts to your summertime schedule.
Thursdays from 3-7pm. This market is open all year round, but nothing beats summertime in the grove at dusk eating delicious local treats. This farmers market shares space with skateboarders, baseball leagues, yogis and thespians as well as boasting a significant play area for kids.
Tuesday afternoons from May thru October. Set in the north end of arguably one of the loveliest parks in the neighourhood, Trinity Bellwood’s Farmers’ market is a great way to support local farming efforts as well as enjoying a slice of green space in the middle of the city. Nestled near hipster havens of Ossington and Dundas, and infamous Queen street west, Bellwood’s park is home to evening baseball games, tennis courts, a sprawling dog park and children’s playgrounds. With plenty of grass as well as scattered picnic tables and benches, it’s the perfect place to picnic with your farmers market fare.
Sundays from 9am – 2pm May 22nd- Oct 30th. Nothing says weekend chill-out like waking up on Sunday and making your way to this east end hot spot for a locally brewed caffeine hit and homemade, healthy eats. Located in Jonathan Ashbridge Park and outfitted with plenty of bike racks and free parking, this is your one stop shop for locally grown goods, live music, and a family friendly, community vibe.
Mondays from 3-7pm. Parkdale’s pride and joy, this year round farmer’s market is operated by the equally popular West End Food Co-op and offers a wide variety of local vendors and popular wares that can also be found in the queen west shop. Lot’s of outdoor space to enjoy as well as live music and a park for the kids, this market is a great place to pick up your seedlings for the summer and pre-order seasonable produce.
Thursdays from 8am – 2pm, May thru October. Kick start your morning with a visit to this particularly urban farmer’s market located in the courtyard off King Street West. Not much in the way of green space but certainly plenty of local produce, cheeses and baked goods, why not grab a bouquet of fresh wildflowers and make a colleagues day while you’re at it.
Saturdays 8am- 1pm May thru November. One of the largest farmers’ markets in the city, the Brickworks even has it’s own free shuttle bus transporting eager patrons from Broadview subway station and back. Plenty of produce and other locally grown goods, this farmers market also has several vendors serving up delicious homemade treats. Musical performances, an expansive nursery, as well as a children’s garden make this market one not to be missed.
Artscape Wychwood Barns
Saturdays 8am – noon, May to October. Run by the Stop Community Food Center, which provides food and assistance for low-income families, the Wychwood Barns, farmers market has helped to establish a significant sense of community within this vibrant north west neighbourhood. Fresh produce, local vendors, hot lunches and lots of fun for the kids makes this fixture on the farmers market circuit an enjoyable part of any weekend routine.